Neuropsychological performance in advanced age: influences of demographic factors and Apolipoprotein E: findings from the Cache County Memory Study.
The Cache County Study of Memory in Aging (CCMS) is an epidemiological study of Alzheimer's disease (AD), mild cognitive disorders, and aging in a population of exceptionally long-lived individuals (7th to 11th decade). Observation of population members without dementia provides an opportunity for establishing the range of normal neurocognitive performance in a representative sample of the very old. We examined neurocognitive performance of the normal participants undergoing full clinical evaluations (n = 507) and we tested the potential modifying effects of apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype, a known genetic risk factor for the later development of AD. The results indicate that advanced age and low education are related to lower test scores across nearly all of the neurocognitive measures. Gender and APOE epsilon4 both had negligible and inconsistent influences, affecting only isolated measures of memory and expressive speech (in case of gender). The gender and APOE effects disappeared once age and education were controlled. The study of this exceptionally long-lived population provides useful normative information regarding the broad range of "normal" cognition seen in advanced age. Among elderly without dementia or other cognitive impairment, APOE does not appear to exert any major effects on cognition once other demographic influences are controlled.
Welsh-Bohmer, KA; Ostbye, T; Sanders, L; Pieper, CF; Hayden, KM; Tschanz, JT; Norton, MC; Cache Country Study Group,
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