Cognition and all-cause mortality across the entire adult age range: Health and lifestyle survey

Beverly Shipley, G Der, M D Taylor, I J Deary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To investigate the association of reaction time and brief Measures of memory and spatial ability with all-cause mortality. Methods: Participants were from the UK Health and Lifestyle Survey (HALS), a national sample survey of adults in England, Scotland, and Wales. In 1984/1985, data on lifestyle factors, socioeconomic status, and health were collected for 9,003 people. Cognitive data were collected for 7,414 individuals. All-cause mortality was investigated over 19 years of follow-up in relation to simple and choice reaction time, performance oil a short-term verbal declarative memory test, and oil a test of visual-spatial reasoning. Results: Slower and more variable simple and choice reaction times were significantly related to increased risk of all-cause mortality over 19 years of follow-up. The increased risk of all-cause mortality was partly attenuated after adjustments for socioeconomic status, health behaviors, and health status. A novel finding was the existence of an effect of reaction time on all-cause mortality in young adults. Poorer verbal memory ability was also significantly related to all increased risk of dying ill young adults independently of reaction time score. Conclusion: Slower and more variable reaction time was related to higher mortality risk in younger as well as older participants. Among younger adults, higher memory ability was also associated with lower risk of dying. The cognition-mortality relationship may be explained in part by the brain's efficiency of information processing and memory performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Volume68
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • cognition
  • mortality
  • information-processing speed
  • social position
  • MENTAL SURVEY 1932
  • CHILDHOOD IQ
  • BIRTH-WEIGHT
  • PERFORMANCE
  • ABILITY
  • INTELLIGENCE
  • ASSOCIATION
  • SMOKING
  • LINKING
  • MIDSPAN

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