Cognitive functioning in older twins: The Older Australian Twins Study

Perminder S. Sachdev*, Teresa Lee, Andrea Lammel, John Crawford, Julian N. Trollor, Margaret J. Wright, Henry Brodaty, David Ames, Nicholas G. Martin, OATS research team

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To examine the concordance rates of common medical conditions and neurocognitive performance in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) older twins. Methods: Twins aged ≥65 years and living in the three Eastern states of Australia were recruited through the Australian Twin Registry and underwent detailed neuropsychological and medical assessment. Results: Assessments were conducted on 113 MZ and 96 DZ twin pairs, with a mean age of 70.5 years. MZ twins were more concordant than DZ twins for hypertension and asthma. MZ twins had higher correlations than DZ twins on most neuropsychological tests, with the exception of some tests related to processing speed. The concordance rate for mild cognitive impairment or dementia was 76.2% in MZ twins and 42.9% in DZ twins, a non-significant difference. Conclusions: Except for some aspects of processing speed, most cognitive functions in older individuals show significant heritability. The heritability of neurocognitive disorders is, however, low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
Issue numberSUPPL.2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Ageing
  • Brain
  • Cognitive function
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Twin


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