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      Cultural engagement predicts changes in cognitive function in older adults over a 10 year period: findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

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      Scientific Reports
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          Abstract

          There is increasing evidence that leading an active, socially engaged lifestyle might protect against cognitive decline. The arts have been proposed as potentially beneficial activities due to their combination of cognitive complexity and mental creativity. Yet it remains uncertain which types of arts engagement and what level of engagement is required for potential benefits to accrue. This study therefore explored the association between three types of cultural engagement (visiting museums/galleries/exhibitions, going to the theatre/concert/opera and going to the cinema) and change in cognitive function over 10 years amongst adults aged over 52. Our participants (n = 3,445), drawn from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, were assessed in 2004/5 and 2014/15. We measured memory and semantic fluency at baseline and follow-up, analysing results using ordinary least squares regression models. Independent of demographic, health and social confounders, visiting museums/galleries/exhibitions and going to the theatre/concert/opera were associated with a lesser decline in cognitive function. Sensitivity analyses confirmed effects were unaffected by considerations of mobility or dementia diagnoses. However, going to the cinema was found to hold little effect for cognitive preservation. Overall, our results suggest that more frequent cultural engagement is associated with more marked effects, but even annual engagement may be protective.

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          Stress weakens prefrontal networks: molecular insults to higher cognition.

          A variety of cognitive disorders are worsened by stress exposure and involve dysfunction of the newly evolved prefrontal cortex (PFC). Exposure to acute, uncontrollable stress increases catecholamine release in PFC, reducing neuronal firing and impairing cognitive abilities. High levels of noradrenergic α1-adrenoceptor and dopaminergic D1 receptor stimulation activate feedforward calcium-protein kinase C and cyclic AMP-protein kinase A signaling, which open potassium channels to weaken synaptic efficacy in spines. In contrast, high levels of catecholamines strengthen the primary sensory cortices, amygdala and striatum, rapidly flipping the brain from reflective to reflexive control of behavior. These mechanisms are exaggerated by chronic stress exposure, where architectural changes lead to persistent loss of PFC function. Understanding these mechanisms has led to the successful translation of prazosin and guanfacine for treating stress-related disorders. Dysregulation of stress signaling pathways by genetic insults likely contributes to PFC deficits in schizophrenia, while age-related insults initiate interacting vicious cycles that increase vulnerability to Alzheimer's degeneration.
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            Predicting nursing home admission in the U.S: a meta-analysis

            Background While existing reviews have identified significant predictors of nursing home admission, this meta-analysis attempted to provide more integrated empirical findings to identify predictors. The present study aimed to generate pooled empirical associations for sociodemographic, functional, cognitive, service use, and informal support indicators that predict nursing home admission among older adults in the U.S. Methods Studies published in English were retrieved by searching the MEDLINE, PSYCINFO, CINAHL, and Digital Dissertations databases using the keywords: "nursing home placement," "nursing home entry," "nursing home admission," and "predictors/institutionalization." Any reports including these key words were retrieved. Bibliographies of retrieved articles were also searched. Selected studies included sampling frames that were nationally- or regionally-representative of the U.S. older population. Results Of 736 relevant reports identified, 77 reports across 12 data sources were included that used longitudinal designs and community-based samples. Information on number of nursing home admissions, length of follow-up, sample characteristics, analysis type, statistical adjustment, and potential risk factors were extracted with standardized protocols. Random effects models were used to separately pool the logistic and Cox regression model results from the individual data sources. Among the strongest predictors of nursing home admission were 3 or more activities of daily living dependencies (summary odds ratio [OR] = 3.25; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.56–4.09), cognitive impairment (OR = 2.54; CI, 1.44–4.51), and prior nursing home use (OR = 3.47; CI, 1.89–6.37). Conclusion The pooled associations provided detailed empirical information as to which variables emerged as the strongest predictors of NH admission (e.g., 3 or more ADL dependencies, cognitive impairment, prior NH use). These results could be utilized as weights in the construction and validation of prognostic tools to estimate risk for NH entry over a multi-year period.
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              The impact of sustained engagement on cognitive function in older adults: the Synapse Project.

              In the research reported here, we tested the hypothesis that sustained engagement in learning new skills that activated working memory, episodic memory, and reasoning over a period of 3 months would enhance cognitive function in older adults. In three conditions with high cognitive demands, participants learned to quilt, learned digital photography, or engaged in both activities for an average of 16.51 hr a week for 3 months. Results at posttest indicated that episodic memory was enhanced in these productive-engagement conditions relative to receptive-engagement conditions, in which participants either engaged in nonintellectual activities with a social group or performed low-demand cognitive tasks with no social contact. The findings suggest that sustained engagement in cognitively demanding, novel activities enhances memory function in older adulthood, but, somewhat surprisingly, we found limited cognitive benefits of sustained engagement in social activities.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                d.fancourt@ucl.ac.uk
                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2045-2322
                5 July 2018
                5 July 2018
                2018
                : 8
                : 10226
                Affiliations
                ISNI 0000000121901201, GRID grid.83440.3b, Department of Behavioural Science and Health, , University College London, ; 1-19 Torrington Place, London, WC1E 7HB UK
                Article
                28591
                10.1038/s41598-018-28591-8
                6033851
                29977058
                608e7b31-4b6e-48ff-afa4-8c71afa1bae7
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                History
                : 30 October 2017
                : 26 June 2018
                Funding
                Funded by: FundRef https://doi.org/10.13039/100004440, Wellcome Trust;
                Award ID: 205407/Z/16/Z
                Award Recipient :
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