Mental ageing refers to change or stability in later life cognition (i.e. knowing, learning and reasoning) and emotion (i.e. anxiety, depression and positive wellbeing). These processes are fundamental to our health, everyday life, and survival; which is why impairments in these functions are the biggest cause of disability in the UK.
Our aim is to investigate the influences on these functions across the life course, and the consequences of this for daily living and other aspects of health. To achieve this we will study three areas. First, we will investigate cognitive and emotional resilience, i.e. good (or good enough) function in spite of adversity. Second, we will investigate cognitive and emotional function in relation to cardiovascular (i.e. heart and blood vessel) function; this is important because most of the modifiable risks we know about for dementia are cardiovascular in nature, particularly in midlife. Third, we will investigate the life course epidemiology of emotional function. Of particular interest here is whether depression becomes more or less common in later life, and if so, what factors across the life course determine that change in risk.
Richards M, James SN, Sizer A, Sharma N, Rawle M, Davis D, Kuh D. Identifying the lifetime cognitive and socioeconomic antecedents of cognitive state: seven decades of follow-up in a British birth cohort study. BMJ Open 2019;9:e024404. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024404.
James SN, Davis D; O'Hare, C; Sharma, N; John, A; Gaysina, D; Hardy, R; Kuh, D; Richards, M. Lifetime affective problems and later-life cognitive state: over 50 years of follow-up in a British Birth Cohort Study. J Affect Disord 2018.