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Is anxiety a risk factor in cognitive ageing?

Mr Richard Arthur
Research Centre DCRC Early Diagnosis and Prevention
Partner Institution
Project Description

Although some studies have tentatively linked anxiety with cognitive decline in senior years there remains controversy and there is little, population based evidence from longitudinal studies examining the association over more than three years and more than two observations. This current project is based on information from the Personality And Total Health (PATH) Through Life dataset, which is a population based, prospective cohort study providing four waves of data, and spanning 12 years.

Some of the considerations in exploring the data include the potential confounding effects of the strong influence of other, known predictors of cognitive ageing and dementia, such as age, gender, education, and exercise. The analyses will be adjusted for these effects.  As well, interaction and mediation effects with these and other predictors will be calculated and interpreted. Interaction and mediation effects will be examined additionally for the possible influence on both anxiety levels and cognition, of prescribed anxiolytics and self-medication with strong alcohol consumption.

If anxiety can be demonstrated to be a risk factor for cognitive ageing there may be implications for clinical practice.

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