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Cognitive ability across the life course and cortisol levels in older age

Harris, MA, Cox, SR, Brett, CE, Deary, IJ and MacLullich, AMJ (2017) Cognitive ability across the life course and cortisol levels in older age. Neurobiology of Aging, 59. pp. 64-71. ISSN 0197-4580

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Elevated cortisol levels have been hypothesised to contribute to cognitive ageing, but study findings are inconsistent. In the present study, we examined the association between salivary cortisol in older age and cognitive ability across the life course. We used data from 370 members of the 36-Day Sample of the Scottish Mental Survey 1947, who underwent cognitive testing at age 11, and were then followed up at around age 78, completing further cognitive tests and providing diurnal salivary cortisol samples. We hypothesised that higher cortisol levels would be associated with lower cognitive ability in older age and greater cognitive decline from childhood to older age, but also lower childhood cognitive ability. Few of the tested associations were significant, and of those that were, most suggested a positive relationship between cortisol and cognitive ability. Only one cognitive measure showed any sign of cortisol-related impairment. However, after correcting for multiple comparisons, no results remained significant. These findings suggest that cortisol may not play an important role in cognitive ageing across the life course.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1103 Clinical Sciences, 1109 Neurosciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QP Physiology
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2017 10:05
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 11:18
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2017.07.012
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6906
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