Risk and protective factors for cognitive impairment in persons aged 85 years and older

Rosebud O. Roberts, Ruth H. Cha, Michelle M. Mielke, Yonas E. Geda, Bradley F. Boeve, Mary M. MacHulda, David S. Knopman, Ronald C. Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine risk and protective factors for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) among persons 85 years and older. Methods: Participants in the population-based prospective Mayo Clinic Study of Aging were comprehensively evaluated at baseline and at 15 monthly intervals to determine incident MCI. At baseline, lifestyle factors in midlife and late life were assessed by self-reported questionnaire; vascular and comorbid conditions were abstracted from participants' medical records. Results: Of 256 participants who were cognitively normal at enrollment (median age 87.3 years, 62% women), 121 developed MCI at a median 4.1 years of follow-up. Predictors of MCI were APOE ε4 allele (hazard ratio [HR] 1.89; p 0.008), current depressive symptoms (HR 1.78; p 0.02), midlife onset of hypertension (HR 2.43; p 0.005), increasing number of vascular diseases (HR 1.13; p 0.02), and chronic conditions from the Charlson Comorbidity Index (HR 1.08; p 0.006). Models were adjusted for sex and education, with age as the time variable. The risk of MCI was reduced for participants who reported engagement in artistic (HR 0.27; p 0.03), craft (HR 0.55; p 0.02), and social (HR 0.45; p 0.005) activities in both midlife and late life, and in the use of a computer in late life (HR 0.47; p 0.008). Conclusions: Chronic disease burden increases risk of MCI, whereas certain lifestyle factors reduce risk in persons 85 years and older. This implies that preventive strategies for MCI may need to begin in midlife and should persist throughout late life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1854-1861
Number of pages8
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 5 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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