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Associations between social and intellectual activities with cognitive trajectories in Chinese middle-aged and older adults: A nationally representative cohort study

journal contribution
posted on 2020-11-16, 23:08 authored by H Li, C Li, A Wang, Y Qi, W Feng, C Hou, L Tao, X Liu, Xia LiXia Li, W Wang, D Zheng, X Guo
© 2020 The Author(s). Background: Associations between the frequency of social and intellectual activities and cognitive trajectories are understudied in Chinese middle-aged and older adults. We aimed to examine this association in a nationally representative longitudinal study. Methods: The China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) is a nationally representative sample of Chinese middle-aged and older participants. The frequency of social and intellectual activities was measured at baseline. Interview-based cognitive assessments of orientation and attention, episodic memory, and visuospatial skills and the calculation of combined global scores were assessed every 2 years from 2011 to 2016. Cognitive aging trajectories over time were analyzed using group-based trajectory modeling, and the associations of the trajectory memberships with social and intellectual activities were analyzed using multinomial logistic regression. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were reported. Results: Among 8204 participants aged 50-75 years at baseline, trajectory analysis identified three longitudinal patterns of cognitive function based on the global cognitive scores: "persistently low trajectory"(n = 1550, 18.9%), "persistently moderate trajectory"(n = 3194, 38.9%), and "persistently high trajectory"(n = 3460, 42.2%). After adjustment for sociodemographic variables, lifestyles, geriatric symptoms, and health conditions, more frequent intellectual activities (OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.38-0.77) and social activities (OR 0.79, 95% CI 0.65-0.95) were both associated with a lower likelihood of being in the "persistently low trajectory"for global cognitive function. Conclusions: These findings suggested that more frequent social and intellectual activities were associated with more favorable cognitive aging trajectories.


This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number: 81530087).


Publication Date



Alzheimer's Research and Therapy





Article Number





BioMed Central



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