Influence of young adult cognitive ability and additional education on later-life cognition.

Published on Feb 5, 2019in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America9.412
· DOI :10.1073/PNAS.1811537116
William S. Kremen70
Estimated H-index: 70
(UCSD: University of California, San Diego),
Asad Beck5
Estimated H-index: 5
(SDSU: San Diego State University)
+ 13 AuthorsCarol E. Franz48
Estimated H-index: 48
(UCSD: University of California, San Diego)
How and when education improves cognitive capacity is an issue of profound societal importance. Education and later-life education-related factors, such as occupational complexity and engagement in cognitive-intellectual activities, are frequently considered indices of cognitive reserve, but whether their effects are truly causal remains unclear. In this study, after accounting for general cognitive ability (GCA) at an average age of 20 y, additional education, occupational complexity, or engagement in cognitive-intellectual activities accounted for little variance in late midlife cognitive functioning in men age 56–66 ( n = 1009). Age 20 GCA accounted for 40% of variance in the same measure in late midlife and approximately 10% of variance in each of seven cognitive domains. The other factors each accounted for n = 367). In our view, the most parsimonious explanation of our results, a meta-analysis of the impact of education, and epidemiologic studies of the Flynn effect is that intellectual capacity gains due to education plateau in late adolescence/early adulthood. Longitudinal studies with multiple cognitive assessments before completion of education would be needed to confirm this speculation. If cognitive gains reach an asymptote by early adulthood, then strengthening cognitive reserve and reducing later-life cognitive decline and dementia risk may really begin with improving educational quality and access in childhood and adolescence.
Figures & Tables
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
42 Citations
373 Citations
3,283 Citations
#1Mark W. Logue (BU: Boston University)H-Index: 33
#2Matthew S. Panizzon (UCSD: University of California, San Diego)H-Index: 35
Last. William S. Kremen (UCSD: University of California, San Diego)H-Index: 70
view all 14 authors...
Author(s): Logue, MW; Panizzon, MS; Elman, JA; Gillespie, NA; Hatton, SN; Gustavson, DE; Andreassen, OA; Dale, AM; Franz, CE; Lyons, MJ; Neale, MC; Reynolds, CA; Tu, X; Kremen, WS | Abstract: Early identification of younger, non-demented adults at elevated risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD) is crucial because the pathological process begins decades before dementia onset. Toward that end, we showed that an AD polygenic risk score (PRS) could identify mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in adults who w...
54 CitationsSource
#1Allen T C Lee (CUHK: The Chinese University of Hong Kong)H-Index: 11
#2Marcus Richards (UCL: University College London)H-Index: 70
Last. Linda C. W. Lam (CUHK: The Chinese University of Hong Kong)H-Index: 50
view all 6 authors...
Importance Associations between late-life participation in intellectual activities and decreased odds of developing dementia have been reported. However, reverse causality and confounding effects due to other health behaviors or problems have not been adequately addressed. Objective To examine whether late-life participation in intellectual activities is associated with a lower risk of incident dementia years later, independent of other lifestyle and health-related factors. Design, Setting, and ...
28 CitationsSource
#1Sean N. Hatton (UCSD: University of California, San Diego)H-Index: 22
#2Carol E. Franz (UCSD: University of California, San Diego)H-Index: 48
Last. William S. Kremen (UCSD: University of California, San Diego)H-Index: 70
view all 11 authors...
Abstract Negative fateful life events (FLEs) such as interpersonal conflict, death in the family, financial hardship, and serious medical emergencies can act as allostatic stressors that accelerate biological aging. However, the relationship between FLEs and neuroanatomical aging is not well understood. We examined 359 men (mean age 62 years) participating in the Vietnam Era twin study of aging (VETSA) to determine whether negative midlife FLEs are associated with advanced brain aging after cont...
13 CitationsSource
Population intelligence quotients increased throughout the 20th century—a phenomenon known as the Flynn effect—although recent years have seen a slowdown or reversal of this trend in several countries. To distinguish between the large set of proposed explanations, we categorize hypothesized causal factors by whether they accommodate the existence of within-family Flynn effects. Using administrative register data and cognitive ability scores from military conscription data covering three decades ...
35 CitationsSource
#1Stuart J. RitchieH-Index: 32
#2Elliot M. Tucker-Drob (University of Texas at Austin)H-Index: 42
Intelligence test scores and educational duration are positively correlated. This correlation could be interpreted in two ways: Students with greater propensity for intelligence go on to complete more education, or a longer education increases intelligence. We meta-analyzed three categories of quasiexperimental studies of educational effects on intelligence: those estimating education-intelligence associations after controlling for earlier intelligence, those using compulsory schooling policy ch...
156 CitationsSource
#1Michael A. Motes (UTD: University of Texas at Dallas)H-Index: 22
#2Uma S. YezhuvathH-Index: 12
Last. Sandra B. Chapman (UTD: University of Texas at Dallas)H-Index: 21
view all 6 authors...
Abstract Higher-order cognitive training has shown to enhance performance in older adults, but the neural mechanisms underlying performance enhancement have yet to be fully disambiguated. This randomized trial examined changes in processing speed and processing speed–related neural activity in older participants (57–71 years of age) who underwent cognitive training (CT, N = 12) compared with wait-listed (WLC, N = 15) or exercise-training active (AC, N = 14) controls. The cognitive training taugh...
19 CitationsSource
#1Janie CorleyH-Index: 26
#2Simon R. CoxH-Index: 30
Last. Ian J. DearyH-Index: 184
view all 3 authors...
In the face of shifting demographics and an increase in human longevity, it is important to examine carefully what is known about cognitive ageing, and to identify and promote possibly malleable lifestyle and health-related factors that might mitigate age-associated cognitive decline. The Lothian Birth Cohorts of 1921 (LBC1921, n = 550) and 1936 (LBC1936, n = 1091) are longitudinal studies of cognitive and brain ageing based in Scotland. Childhood IQ data are available for these participants, wh...
28 CitationsSource
#1Asad Beck (SDSU: San Diego State University)H-Index: 5
#2Carol E. Franz (UCSD: University of California, San Diego)H-Index: 48
Last. William S. Kremen (UCSD: University of California, San Diego)H-Index: 70
view all 14 authors...
Background and Objectives: Childhood socioeconomic status (cSES) is found to predict later-life cognitive abilities, yet the mechanisms underlying these associations remain unclear. The objective of this longitudinal study was to examine the direct and indirect paths through which cSES influences late midlife cognitive outcomes. Research Design and Methods: Participants were 1,009 male twins in the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging (VETSA). At mean ages 20 and 62, participants completed a standard...
10 CitationsSource
#1Daniel E. Gustavson (UCSD: University of California, San Diego)H-Index: 16
#2Matthew S. Panizzon (UCSD: University of California, San Diego)H-Index: 35
Last. William S. Kremen (UCSD: University of California, San Diego)H-Index: 70
view all 9 authors...
OBJECTIVE: Research on executive functions (EFs) has revealed evidence for general abilities that underlie performance across multiple EF tasks and domains. This Common EF factor is highly stable in adolescence through young adulthood, correlates with other important cognitive abilities, and is explained largely by genetic influences. However, little is known about Common EF beyond young adulthood. This study examines 3 hypotheses regarding the latent structure, genetic/environmental etiology, a...
18 CitationsSource
#1Merete Osler (UCPH: University of Copenhagen)H-Index: 68
#2Gunhild Tidemann Christensen (UCPH: University of Copenhagen)H-Index: 7
Last. Kaare Christensen (University of Southern Denmark)H-Index: 119
view all 5 authors...
Abstract Introduction We examined the association between cognitive ability in young adulthood and dementia in Danish men, brothers, and male twins. Methods In total, 666,986 men born between 1939 and 1959 were identified for dementia diagnosis in national registries from 1969 to 2016. The association between cognitive ability from draft board examination and dementia was examined using Cox regression. Results During a 44-year follow-up, 6416 (0.96%) men developed dementia, 1760 (0.26%) and 970 ...
17 CitationsSource
Cited By31
BACKGROUND Studies suggest that a higher education and occupation are each associated with a higher late-life cognitive ability, but their inter-relationships in their association with cognitive ability and the contribution of peak IQ in young adulthood ('pre-morbid IQ') often remain unclear. METHODS Cross-sectional analysis of 623 participants aged ≥65 years of the BioCog study. Education was coded according to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED; range 1 to 6). Occupa...
#1Jason Steffener (RMIT: RMIT University)H-Index: 29
Abstract This study investigated whether relationships between age and measures of gray matter in the brain differed across the lifespan and by years of education. The hypothesis is that year to year differences in brain measures vary across the lifespan and are affected by the years of education someone has. Cortical thickness and subcortical volume were measured from 391 healthy adults (age range: 19–80 years). Brain measures were predicted using a quadratic age effect and moderating effects o...
#2Aini Marina Ma'rofH-Index: 2
view all 2 authors...
#1Katherine J Ford (University of Luxembourg)H-Index: 1
#2Anja Leist (University of Luxembourg)H-Index: 9
Background: Gender differences in late middle-age cognitive performance may be explained by differences in educational or occupational attainment rates, or gender-patterned returns of similar educa...
#1Jana Reifegerste (University of Potsdam)H-Index: 6
#2João Veríssimo (University of Potsdam)H-Index: 9
Last. Michael T. Ullman (Georgetown University)H-Index: 51
view all 9 authors...
Although declarative memory declines with age, sex and education might moderate these weaknesses. We investigated effects of sex and education on nonverbal declarative (recognition) memory in 704 o...
1 CitationsSource
#1William J. Jagust (HWNI: Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute)H-Index: 140
Chronological age fails to capture how the process of aging differs between individuals. Variability in rates of biological aging in youth is related to anatomical and functional differences already visible by midlife. This portends substantially different aging outcomes that have individual- and societal-level implications.
#1Paula Iso-MarkkuH-Index: 6
#2Jaakko KaprioH-Index: 172
Last. Eero Vuoksimaa (UH: University of Helsinki)H-Index: 26
view all 5 authors...
Background Middle-age risk scores predict cognitive impairment, but it is not known if these associations are evident when controlling for shared genetic and environmental factors. Using two risk scores, self-report educational-occupational score and Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia (CAIDE), we investigated if twins with higher middle-age dementia risk have poorer old-age cognition compared with their co-twins with lower risk. Methods We used a population-based older Finnish Twin ...
#1Daniel E. Gustavson (VUMC: Vanderbilt University Medical Center)H-Index: 3
#2Matthew S. Panizzon (UCSD: University of California, San Diego)H-Index: 35
Last. Carol E. Franz (UCSD: University of California, San Diego)H-Index: 48
view all 11 authors...
Despite the relevance of semantic fluency measures to risk for dementia and psychiatric disorders, little is known about their genetic and environmental architecture in mid-to-late life. Participants represent 21,684 middle-aged and older adult twins (M = 60.84 years, SD = 11.21; Range 40-89) from six studies from three countries participating in the Interplay of Genes and Environment across Multiple Studies (IGEMS) consortium. All completed the same measure of semantic fluency (naming animals i...
#1Gabriela Alvares Pereira (CUA: The Catholic University of America)
#1Gabriela Alvares Pereira (CUA: The Catholic University of America)H-Index: 1
Last. Israel Contador (University of Salamanca)H-Index: 16
view all 4 authors...
This research is an integrative review of scientific evidence differentiating between cognitive reserve (CR) and brain maintenance concepts. Thus, we have examined how CR socio-behavioral proxies (i.e. education, occupational attainment, and leisure activities) may help to cope with age-related cognitive decline and negative consequences of brain pathology. We also analyze lifestyle factors associated with brain maintenance or the relative absence of change in neural resources over time. Medline...