Differential Effect of Demographics, Processing Speed, and Depression on Cognitive Function in 755 Non-demented Community-dwelling Elderly Individuals

Antonios Mougias, Foteini Christidi, Margarita Synetou, Irene Kotrotsou, Polena Valkimadi, Antonios Politis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background:Several factors may account for inter-and intra-individual variability in cognitive functions, including age, gender, education level, information processing speed, and mood.Objective:To evaluate the combined contribution of demographic factors, information processing speed, and depressive symptoms to scores on several diagnostic cognitive measures that are commonly used in geriatric neuropsychological practice in Greece.Methods:Using a cross-sectional study, we established a multivariate general linear model and analyzed the predictive role of age, gender, education, information processing speed (Trail Making Test-Part A), and depressive symptoms (Geriatric Depression Scale-15 Items) on measures of general cognitive status (Mini-Mental State Examination), verbal memory (Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test), language (Confrontation Naming), and executive functions (Category and Phonemic Fluency, Trail Making Test-Part B) for a sample of 755 healthy, community-dwelling Greek individuals aged 50 to 90 years.Results:Participant factors significantly but differentially contributed to cognitive measures. Demographic factors and information processing speed emerged as the significant predictors for the majority of the cognitive measures (Mini-Mental State Examination; Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test; Confrontation Naming; Category and Phonemic Fluency; Trail Making Test-Part B), whereas depressive symptoms significantly predicted verbal memory and semantic fluency measures (Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test and Category Fluency).Conclusions:Clinicians should consider participant demographics, underlying slowing of processing speed, and depressive symptoms as potential confounding factors in cognitive measures. Our findings may explain the observed inter-and intra-individual variability in cognitive functions in the elderly population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-246
Number of pages11
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Neurology
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • cognitive aging
  • cognitive function
  • demographic effects
  • depressive symptoms
  • processing speed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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