Volume 10, Issue 5S p. S315-S322
Featured Article

Aging children of long-lived parents experience slower cognitive decline

Ambarish Dutta

Ambarish Dutta

Epidemiology and Public Health Group, Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

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William Henley

William Henley

PenCLAHRC, Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

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Jean-Marie Robine

Jean-Marie Robine

Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale, U710 and U988, Paris and Montpellier, France

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David Llewellyn

David Llewellyn

Epidemiology and Public Health Group, Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

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Kenneth M. Langa

Kenneth M. Langa

Division of General Medicine, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

VA Ann Arbor Center for Clinical Management Research, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

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Robert B. Wallace

Robert B. Wallace

Center on Aging, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA

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David Melzer

Corresponding Author

David Melzer

Epidemiology and Public Health Group, Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 1392 40 6751; Fax: +44 1392 40 6706.

E-mail address: [email protected]

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First published: 08 November 2013
Citations: 19

Abstract

Background

Parental longevity confers lower risks for some age-related diseases in offspring. We tested the association between parental longevity and late-life cognitive decline or dementia.

Methods

Data were from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a US national sample. Biennial cognitive assessment (Telephone Interview of Cognitive Status–Modified [TICS-m]) occurred for ages 64 years or older in 1996 through 2008 (maximum, 79 years), including physician-diagnosed memory disorder. Offspring were categorized into parental longevity groups based on gender-specific distributional cut points. Model covariates included race, respondents' education, and income status during childhood and adulthood.

Results

Offspring groups did not differ on TICS-m scores at baseline. During follow-up, offspring of two long-lived parents experienced 40% slower rates of TICS-m decline than those with no long-lived parents (95% confidence interval, 12–72; P = .003; n = 4731). Increased parental longevity was also associated with lower risk of physician-diagnosed memory disorder. Estimates did not change after controlling for environmental variables.

Conclusions

Parental longevity is associated inversely with cognitive decline and self-reported diagnosed memory disorders in aging offspring. Parental longevity may be a valuable trait for identifying early biomarkers for resistance to cognitive decline in aging.