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The main objective of “Lifebrain” is to identify the determinants of brain, cognitive and mental (BCM) health at different stages of life. By integrating, harmonising and enriching major European neuroimaging studies across the life span, we will merge fine-grained BCM health measures of more than 5000 individuals. Longitudinal brain imaging, genetic and health data are available for a major part, as well as cognitive and mental health measures for the broader cohorts, exceeding 27,000 examinations in total. By linking these data to other databases and biobanks, including birth registries, national and regional archives, and by enriching them with a new online data collection and novel measures, we will address the risk factors and protective factors of BCM health. We will identify pathways through which risk and protective factors work and their moderators. Exploiting existing European infrastructures and initiatives, we hope to make major conceptual, methodological and analytical contributions towards large integrative cohorts and their efficient exploitation. We will thus provide novel information on BCM health maintenance, as well as the onset and course of BCM disorders. This will lay a foundation for earlier diagnosis of brain disorders, aberrant development and decline of BCM health, and translate into future preventive and therapeutic strategies. Aiming to improve clinical practice and public health we will work with stakeholders and health authorities, and thus provide the evidence base for prevention and intervention.
The effects of age on the ability to manage everyday functioning, crucial to ensure a healthy aging process, have been rarely examined and when, self-report measures have been used. The aim of the present study was to examine age effects across the adult lifespan in everyday functioning with two performance-based measures: the Everyday Problems Test (EPT), and the Timed Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (TIADL) tasks. The role of some crucial cognitive abilities, i.e. working memory (WM), processing speed, reasoning, vocabulary, and text comprehension in the EPT and the TIADL were also assessed to see whether or not they have a similar influence (and to what extent) in accounting for age-related effects in these two performance-based measures.
Two hundred and seventy-six healthy participants, from 40 to 89 years of age were presented with the EPT, the TIADL, as well as WM, processing speed, reasoning, text comprehension, and vocabulary tasks.
Path models indicated an indirect effect of age and education on the EPT, which was mediated by all the cognitive variables considered, with WM and reasoning being the strongest predictors of performance. An indirect quadratic effect of age, but not of education, was found on the TIADL score, and an accelerated decline in processing speed mediated the relationship between age and the TIADL score.
This study revealed age-related effects in performance-based measures, which are mediated by different cognitive abilities depending on the measure considered. The findings highlight the importance of assessing everyday functioning even in healthy older adults.
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