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ASSOCIATIONS OF LATER-LIFE EDUCATION, THE BDNF VAL66MET POLYMORPHISM AND COGNITIVE CHANGE IN OLDER ADULTS

D.D. Ward, M.J. Summers, M.J. Valenzuela, V.K. Srikanth, J.J. Summers, A.E. King, K. Ritchie, A.L. Robinson, J.C. Vickers

In 358 participants of the Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project, we quantified the cognitive consequences of engaging in varying loads of university-level education in later life, and investigated whether or not BDNF Val66Met affected outcomes. Assessment of neuropsychological, health, and psychosocial function was undertaken at baseline, 12-month, and 24-month follow-up. Education load was positively associated with change in language processing performance, but this effect did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.064). The BDNF Val66Met polymorphism significantly moderated the extent to which education load was associated with improved language processing (P = 0.026), with education load having a significant positive relationship with cognitive change in BDNF Met carriers but not in BDNF Val homozygotes. In older adults who carry BDNF Met, engaging in university-level education improves language processing performance in a load-dependent manner.

CITATION:
D.D. Ward ; M.J. Summers ; M.J. Valenzuela ; V.K. Srikanth ; J.J. Summers ; A.E. King ; K. Ritchie ; A.L. Robinson ; J.C. Vickers (2019): Associations of Later-Life Education, the BDNF Val66Met Polymorphism and Cognitive Change in Older Adults. The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease (JPAD). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jpad.2019.40

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