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Studying at university in later life slows cognitive decline: A long-term prospective study


Bindoff, AD and Summers, MJ and Hill, E and Alty, J and Vickers, JC, Studying at university in later life slows cognitive decline: A long-term prospective study, Alzheimer's & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions pp. 1-10. ISSN 2352-8737 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

©2021 The Authors. Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring published by Wiley Periodicals, LLC on behalf of Alzheimer’s Association. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License, ( which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations aremade

DOI: doi:10.1002/trc2.12207


Introduction: Declining cognition in later life is associated with loss of independence and quality of life. This decline in cognition may potentially be reduced or reversed through engaging in cognitively stimulating activities. This study examined the potential for university attendance in later life to enhance cognitive function in older adults.

Methods: Cognitively unimpaired adults (n = 485, 69% female, median age 60 years) were given the opportunity to undertake free university study. Repeated neurocognitive assessment was performed over 7 years.

Results: Participants in the university education group (n = 383) improved z = .02 SD (.01, .03) per year of the study compared to controls (P = .001; averaged across a battery of cognitive tests). The largest improvements were observed on tests of language and verbal learning, memory, and episodic memory.

Discussion: Later-life university study was associated with improved cognitive trajectories. Later-life education may preserve cognitive function, specifically for functions associated with communication, social interaction, and maintaining independence.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:dementia, risk, ageing, Tasmania, public health, education, cognitive reserve
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Clinical sciences
Research Field:Geriatrics and gerontology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Preventive medicine
UTAS Author:Bindoff, AD (Mr Aidan Bindoff)
UTAS Author:Hill, E (Dr Eddy Roccati)
UTAS Author:Alty, J (Associate Professor Jane Alty)
UTAS Author:Vickers, JC (Professor James Vickers)
ID Code:146597
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2021-09-15
Last Modified:2022-08-23
Downloads:18 View Download Statistics

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