Trajectories of cognitive function in community-dwelling older adults: A longitudinal study of population heterogeneity

Zimu Wu, Robyn L. Woods, Rory Wolfe, Elsdon Storey, Trevor T.J. Chong, Raj C Shah, Suzanne Orchard, John J. McNeil, Anne M. Murray, Joanne Ryan, the ASPREE Investigator Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: This study aimed to investigate cognitive aging trajectories, the associated sociodemographic characteristics, and the association of these trajectories with dementia. Methods: Generally healthy older adults (n = 19,114) were followed for up to 7 years, with regular cognitive assessments. Group-based trajectory modeling identified distinct cognitive trajectories. Results: Four to seven trajectories were identified per cognitive domain. Stable trajectories were observed across domains. Improvement in verbal fluency and minor psy-chomotor slowing were common. Substantial decline in global cognition and episodic memory were observed in a small proportion of individuals. Older, less educated participants and men were more common in lower-functioning trajectories (p < .001). The highest proportions of dementia cases were in trajectories with major decline in global cognition (56.9%) and memory (33.2%). Discussion: Inter-individual variability in cognitive trajectories was observed across all domains. Some individuals appear resilient to cognitive decline even with advancing age. Further research into factors promoting cognitive resilience is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12180
Number of pages12
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2021


  • Cognitive function
  • Dementia
  • Longitudinal
  • Older adults
  • Prospective

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