Cognitive lifestyle refers to our lifelong patterns of complex mental activity and is therefore a challenging concept to measure. However, our group has developed Lifetime of Experience Questionnaire (LEQ) as a way of measuring differences in cognitive lifestyle between older cognitively intact persons.
Our previous research has shown that a more active cognitive lifestyle is not only associated with a reduced risk for long term incident dementia, but also with increased chances of cognitive recovery from Mild Cognitive Impairment to normal cognition. There is growing evidence for the idea that cognitive lifestyle leads to a compression of cognitive morbidity, with important potential socioeconomic implications.
In collaboration with several population-based cohorts around the world, we aim to answer the following key questions:
- What is a ‘normal’ cognitive lifestyle amongst older Australians?
- How does cognitive lifestyle compare between older Australians, British, French and Americans?
- Does a more active cognitive lifestyle help prevent dementia?
- Which mental activities, if any, are more important?
This study is mid-way through completion. Irene Leon from University of Almeria in Spain has made two visits to RNG to assist in analyzing this data and is currently writing up the results from the Australian LEQ survey.
The following reports related to this study have been published:
- Valenzuela M & Sachdev P. Assessment of Complex Mental Activity Across the Lifespan: Development of the Lifetime of Experiences Questionnaire. Psychological Medicine (2007) 37:1015-1026.
- Valenzuela M, Sachdev P, Chen X, Wen W, Brodaty H. Lifespan mental activity predicts diminished rate of hippocampal atrophy. PLoS One (2008) 3(7):e2598
- Sydney, Australia – Prof Perminder Sachdev, Sydney Memory & Ageing Study, University of New South Wales
- Cambridge, UK – Prof Carol Brayne & Dr Fiona Matthews, University of Cambridge
- Montpellier, France – Prof Karen Ritchie, University of Montpellier
- New York, USA – Prof Yaakov Stern, Director of Neuropsychology for the Memory Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute
This research is funded by the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC).