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Influence of schooling and age on cognitive performance in healthy older adults

Overview of attention for article published in Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, January 2017
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Title
Influence of schooling and age on cognitive performance in healthy older adults
Published in
Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, January 2017
DOI 10.1590/1414-431x20165892
Pubmed ID
Authors

N.V.O. Bento-Torres, J. Bento-Torres, A.M. Tomás, V.O. Costa, P.G.R. Corrêa, C.N.M. Costa, N.Y.V. Jardim, C.W. Picanço-Diniz

Abstract

Few studies have examined the influence of a low level of schooling on age-related cognitive decline in countries with wide social and economic inequalities by using the Cambridge Automated Neuropsychological Test Battery (CANTAB). The aim of the present study was to assess the influence of schooling on age-related cognitive decline using unbiased cognitive tests. CANTAB allows cognitive assessment across cultures and education levels with reduced interference of the examiner during data acquisition. Using two-way ANOVA, we assessed the influences of age and education on test scores of old adults (61-84 years of age). CANTAB tests included: Visual Sustained Attention, Reaction Time, Spatial Working Memory, Learning and Episodic Memory. All subjects had a minimum visual acuity of 20/30 (Snellen Test), no previous or current history of traumatic brain/head trauma, stroke, language impairment, chronic alcoholism, neurological diseases, memory problems or depressive symptoms, and normal scores on the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). Subjects were grouped according to education level (1 to 7 and ≥8 years of schooling) and age (60-69 and ≥70 years). Low schooling level was associated with significantly lower performance on visual sustained attention, learning and episodic memory, reaction time, and spatial working memory. Although reaction time was influenced by age, no significant results on post hoc analysis were detected. Our findings showed a significantly worse cognitive performance in volunteers with lower levels of schooling and suggested that formal education in early life must be included in the preventive public health agenda. In addition, we suggest that CANTAB may be useful to detect subtle cognitive changes in healthy aging.

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Mendeley readers

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Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 119 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 20 17%
Student > Ph. D. Student 19 16%
Student > Master 11 9%
Researcher 11 9%
Student > Doctoral Student 9 8%
Other 22 18%
Unknown 27 23%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Psychology 29 24%
Neuroscience 16 13%
Medicine and Dentistry 15 13%
Nursing and Health Professions 8 7%
Social Sciences 6 5%
Other 10 8%
Unknown 35 29%