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Generalizing age effects on brain structure and cognition: A two-study comparison approach


Jockwitz, Christiane; Mérillat, Susan; Liem, Franziskus; Oschwald, Jessica; Amunts, Katrin; Caspers, Svenja; Jäncke, Lutz (2019). Generalizing age effects on brain structure and cognition: A two-study comparison approach. Human Brain Mapping, 40(8):2305-2319.

Abstract

Normal aging is accompanied by an interindividually variable decline in cognitive abilities and brain structure. This variability, in combination with methodical differences and differences in sample characteristics across studies, pose a major challenge for generalizability of results from different studies. Therefore, the current study aimed at cross-validating age-related differences in cognitive abilities and brain structure (measured using cortical thickness [CT]) in two large independent samples, each consisting of 228 healthy older adults aged between 65 and 85 years: the Longitudinal Healthy Aging Brain (LHAB) database (University of Zurich, Switzerland) and the 1000BRAINS (Research Centre Jülich, Germany). Participants from LHAB showed significantly higher education, physical well-being, and cognitive abilities (processing speed, concept shifting, reasoning, semantic verbal fluency, and vocabulary). In contrast, CT values were larger for participants of 1000BRAINS. Though, both samples showed highly similar age-related differences in both, cognitive abilities and CT. These effects were in accordance with functional aging theories, for example, posterior to anterior shift in aging as was shown for the default mode network. Thus, the current two-study approach provides evidence that independently on heterogeneous metrics of brain structure or cognition across studies, age-related effects on cognitive ability and brain structure can be generalized over different samples, assuming the same methodology is used.

Abstract

Normal aging is accompanied by an interindividually variable decline in cognitive abilities and brain structure. This variability, in combination with methodical differences and differences in sample characteristics across studies, pose a major challenge for generalizability of results from different studies. Therefore, the current study aimed at cross-validating age-related differences in cognitive abilities and brain structure (measured using cortical thickness [CT]) in two large independent samples, each consisting of 228 healthy older adults aged between 65 and 85 years: the Longitudinal Healthy Aging Brain (LHAB) database (University of Zurich, Switzerland) and the 1000BRAINS (Research Centre Jülich, Germany). Participants from LHAB showed significantly higher education, physical well-being, and cognitive abilities (processing speed, concept shifting, reasoning, semantic verbal fluency, and vocabulary). In contrast, CT values were larger for participants of 1000BRAINS. Though, both samples showed highly similar age-related differences in both, cognitive abilities and CT. These effects were in accordance with functional aging theories, for example, posterior to anterior shift in aging as was shown for the default mode network. Thus, the current two-study approach provides evidence that independently on heterogeneous metrics of brain structure or cognition across studies, age-related effects on cognitive ability and brain structure can be generalized over different samples, assuming the same methodology is used.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 June 2019
Deposited On:29 Jan 2019 10:52
Last Modified:03 May 2019 01:03
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1065-9471
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.24524
PubMed ID:30666760
Project Information:
  • : FunderVelux Stiftung
  • : Grant IDproject no. 369
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderGerman National Cohort
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderInstitute of Neuroscience and Medicine, Research Centre Jülich, Germany
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderH2020
  • : Grant ID720270
  • : Project TitleHuman Brain Project Specific Grant Agreement 1
  • : FunderH2020
  • : Grant ID785907
  • : Project TitleHuman Brain Project Specific Grant Agreement 2
  • : FunderHelmholtz Associatio
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDIZK0Z3_174247
  • : Project TitleStructural Brain Changes in Healthy Aging and its modifiers: A cross-validation study

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