Engagement in cognitively stimulating activities in individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment: relationships with neuropsychological domains and hippocampal volume

Adam Vujic*, Loren Mowszowski, Susanne Meares, Shantel Duffy, Jennifer Batchelor, Sharon L. Naismith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Late-life participation in cognitively stimulating activities is thought to contribute to an individual’s cognitive reserve and thus protect against cognitive decline, yet its association with clinical markers of neurodegeneration is not well established. To investigate, we developed a 13-item self-report “cognitively stimulating activities” questionnaire (CSA-Q), which was completed by a community sample of 269 older adults (>50 years) at risk of dementia. Participants met criteria for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and were classified as amnestic (aMCI; n = 93) or non-amnestic (naMCI; n = 176). Weighted CSA-Q dimensions were calculated for activity intensity, mental engagement and social engagement via a panel of 23 inter-raters. The CSA-Q mean and its dimensions were examined in relation to: (a) demographics (age, sex), (b) cognitive reserve proxies (years of education, premorbid IQ), (c) neuropsychological markers across cognitive domains of executive function, processing speed, learning, and memory storage, and (d) neuroimaging markers (left and right hippocampal volume). Analyses were conducted for all MCI, as well as for aMCI and naMCI sub-types. The CSA-Q was found to have concurrent validity with cognitive reserve proxies. Among all MCI, the CSA-Q dimensions of intensity and mental engagement had moderate associations with left hippocampal volume, but not with neuropsychological performance. For naMCI, the CSA-Q had moderate associations with left hippocampal volume, and small associations with aspects of executive functioning and processing speed. No equivalent associations emerged for the aMCI subtype. Our findings show that the CSA-Q may be particularly useful for older adults with non-amnestic cognitive deficits.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Early online date30 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • Mild Cognitive Impairment
  • MCI
  • stimulating activities
  • cognitive reserve
  • cognitive decline

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