The long-term effects of a polygenetic predisposition to general cognition on healthy cognitive ageing: Evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Olesya Ajnakina*, Robin Murray, Andrew Steptoe, Dorina Cadar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background As an accelerated cognitive decline frequently heralds onset of severe neuropathological disorders, understanding the source of individual differences in withstanding the onslaught of cognitive ageing may highlight how best cognitive abilities may be retained into advanced age. Methods Using a population representative sample of 5088 adults aged •50 years from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, we investigated relationships of polygenic predisposition to general cognition with a rate of change in cognition during a 10-year follow-up period. Polygenic predisposition was measured with polygenic scores for general cognition (GC-PGS). Cognition was measured employing tests for verbal memory and semantic fluency. Results The average baseline memory score was 11.1 (s.d. = 2.9) and executive function score was 21.5 (s.d. = 5.8). An increase in GC-PGS by one standard deviation (1-s.d.) was associated with a higher baseline verbal memory by an average 0.27 points (95% CI 0.19-0.34, p < 0.001). Similarly, 1-s.d. increase in GC-PGS was associated with a higher semantic fluency score at baseline in the entire sample (β = 0.45, 95% CI 0.27-0.64, p < 0.001). These associations were significant for women and men, and all age groups. Nonetheless, 1-s.d. increase in GC-PGS was not associated with decreases in verbal memory nor semantic fluency during follow-up in the entire sample, as well stratified models by sex and age. Conclusion Although common genetic variants associated with general cognition additively are associated with a stable surplus to cognition in adults, a polygenic predisposition to general cognition is not associated with age-related cognitive decline during a 10-year follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological Medicine
Early online date10 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • APOE-ϵ4
  • cognition
  • genome-wide association studies
  • healthy ageing
  • polygenic score

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The long-term effects of a polygenetic predisposition to general cognition on healthy cognitive ageing: Evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this