Published in

American Medical Association, JAMA Neurology, 2024

DOI: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2023.5491



Export citation

Search in Google Scholar

Healthy Lifestyle and Cognition in Older Adults With Common Neuropathologies of Dementia

Distributing this paper is prohibited by the publisher
Distributing this paper is prohibited by the publisher

Full text: Unavailable

Red circle
Preprint: archiving forbidden
Red circle
Postprint: archiving forbidden
Red circle
Published version: archiving forbidden
Data provided by SHERPA/RoMEO


ImportanceA healthy lifestyle is associated with better cognitive functioning in older adults, but whether this association is independent of the accumulation of dementia-related pathologies in the brain is uncertain.ObjectiveTo determine the role of postmortem brain pathology, including β-amyloid load, phosphorylated tau tangles, cerebrovascular pathology, and other brain pathologies, in the association between lifestyle and cognition proximate to death.Design, Setting, and ParticipantsThis cohort study used data from the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a longitudinal clinical-pathologic study with autopsy data from 1997 to 2022 and up to 24 years of follow-up. Participants included 754 deceased individuals with data on lifestyle factors, cognitive testing proximate to death, and a complete neuropathologic evaluation at the time of these analyses. Data were analyzed from January 2023 to June 2023.ExposuresA healthy lifestyle score was developed based on self-reported factors, including noncurrent smoking, at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, limiting alcohol consumption, a Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet score higher than 7.5, and a late-life cognitive activity score higher than 3.2. The lifestyle score ranges from 0 to 5, with higher scores reflecting a healthier lifestyle.Main Outcomes and MeasuresThe global cognitive score was derived from a battery of nineteen standardized tests. Brain pathology measures included β-amyloid load, phosphorylated tau tangles, global Alzheimer disease pathology, vascular brain pathologies, Lewy body, hippocampal sclerosis, and TAR DNA-binding protein 43.ResultsOf 586 included decedents, 415 (70.8%) were female, 171 (29.2%) were male, and the mean (SD) age at death was 90.9 (6.0) years. Higher lifestyle score was associated with better global cognitive functioning proximate to death. In the multivariable-adjusted model, a 1-point increase in lifestyle score was associated with 0.216 (SE = 0.036, P < .001) units higher in global cognitive scores. Neither the strength nor the significance of the association changed substantially when common dementia-related brain pathologies were included in the multivariable-adjusted models. The β estimate after controlling for the β-amyloid load was 0.191 (SE = 0.035; P < .001). A higher lifestyle score was associated with lower β-amyloid load in the brain (β = −0.120; SE = 0.041; P = .003), and 11.6% of the lifestyle-cognition association was estimated through β-amyloid load.Conclusions and RelevanceThis study found that in older adults, a healthy lifestyle may provide a cognitive reserve to maintain cognitive abilities independently of common neuropathologies of dementia.