Attitudes to ageing, biomarkers of ageing and mortality: The Lothian Birth Cohort 1936

Kyle McLachlan, James Cole, Sarah Harris, Riccardo Marioni, Ian Deary, Catharine Gale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate whether people with more positive attitudes to ageing are biologically younger as defined by leukocyte telomere length, accelerated DNA methylation GrimAge (AgeAccelGrim), and brain-predicted age difference, and whether these biomarkers explain relationships between attitudes to ageing and mortality.

Methods: We used linear regression to examine cross-sectionally attitudes to ageing (measured using the Attitudes to Ageing Questionnaire) and the three biomarkers in 758 adults, mean age 72.5 years, from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936. We used Cox proportional hazards models to examine longitudinally attitudes to ageing and mortality and the role of the biomarkers.

Results: More positive attitude to physical change was associated with younger biological age, as measured by AgeAccelGrim and brain-predicted age difference in age- and sex-adjusted models: For a SD higher score, AgeAccelGrim was lower by.73 (95% CI 1.03, 0.42) of a year, and brain-predicted age difference was lower by 0.87 (1.51, 0.23) of a year. Both associations were attenuated by adjustment for covariates and not significant after simultaneous adjustment for all covariates and correction for multiple testing. More positive attitudes to physical change were associated with lower mortality: for a SD higher score the age- and sex-adjusted hazard ratio (95% CI) was 0.66 (0.56, 0.78). Adjustment for AgeAccelGrim or brain-predicted age difference attenuated this association slightly. It remained significant after adjustment for all covariates.

Conclusion: We found partial evidence that attitudes to ageing are linked with ageing biomarkers but they accounted for only a little of the association between attitudes and mortality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Epidemiology & Community Health
Early online date28 Jan 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jan 2020

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