Cognitive function in a general population of men and women: a cross sectional study in the European Investigation of Cancer-Norfolk cohort (EPIC-Norfolk).
BMC geriatrics 2014 ; 14: 142.
DOI : 10.1186/1471-2318-14-142
PubMed ID : 25527303
PMCID : PMC4349767
Although ageing is strongly associated with cognitive decline, a wide range of cognitive ability is observed in older populations with varying rates of change across different cognitive domains.
Cognitive function was measured as part of the third health examination of the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer in Norfolk (EPIC-Norfolk 3) between 2006 and 2011 (including measures from the pilot phase from 2004 to 2006). This was done using a battery consisting of seven previously validated cognitive function tests assessing both global function and specific domains. The battery included a shortened version of the Extended Mental State Exam (SF-EMSE); letter cancellation task; Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT); Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery Paired Associates Learning Test (CANTAB-PAL); Visual Sensitivity Test (VST); Shortened version of the National Adult Reading Test (Short-NART) and a task to test for prospective memory. We report the distribution of cognitive function in different cognitive domains by age and sex and compare the utility of a number of assessment tests in a general population of older men and women.
Cognitive test data were available for 8585 men and women taking part in EPIC-Norfolk 3. Increasing age was generally associated with declining mean cognitive function, but there was a wide range observed within each age group as well as variability across different cognitive domains. Some sex differences were also observed.
Descriptive data are presented for this general population sample of older men and women. There is a wide range of cognitive performance seen in this population. Though average performance declines with age, there is large individual variability across different cognitive domains. These variations may provide insights into the determinants of cognitive function in later life.