Age-moderation of genetic and environmental contributions to cognitive functioning in mid- and late-life for specific cognitive abilities

Shandell Pahlen, Nayla R. Hamdi, Anna K. Dahl Aslan, Briana N. Horwitz, Matthew S. Panizzon, Inge Petersen, Catalina Zavala, Kaare Christensen, Deborah Finkel, Carol E. Franz, Margaret Gatz, Wendy Johnson, William S. Kremen, Robert Krueger, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, Chandra A. Reynolds, Nancy L. Pedersen, Matt Mc Gue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Age moderation of genetic and environmental contributions to Digits Forward, Digits Backward, Block Design, Symbol Digit, Vocabulary, and Synonyms was investigated in a sample of 14,534 twins aged 26 to 98 years. The Interplay of Genes and Environment across Multiple Studies (IGEMS) consortium contributed the sample, which represents nine studies from three countries (USA, Denmark, and Sweden). Average test performance was lower in successively older age groups for all tests. Significant age moderation of additive genetic, shared environmental, and non-shared environmental variance components was observed, but the pattern varied by test. The genetic contribution to phenotypic variance across age was smaller for both Digit Span tests, greater for Synonyms, and stable for Block Design and Symbol Digit. The non-shared environmental contribution was greater with age for the Digit Span tests and Block Design, while the shared environmental component was small for all tests, often more so with age. Vocabulary showed similar age-moderation patterns as Synonyms, but these effects were nonsignificant. Findings are discussed in the context of theories of cognitive aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-81
Number of pages12
JournalIntelligence
Volume68
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
IGEMS is supported by the National Institutes of Health grant nos. R01 AG037985 and R56 AG037985 . SATSA was supported by grants R01 AG04563 , R01 AG10175 , the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Aging, the Swedish Council For Working Life and Social Research (FAS) (97:0147:1B, 2009-0795 ) and Swedish Research Council ( 825-2007-7460 , 825-2009-6141 ). OCTO-Twin was supported by grant R01 AG08861 . Gender was supported by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Aging, The Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson's Foundation , The Swedish Council for Social Research , and the Swedish Foundation for Health Care Sciences and Allergy Research . TOSS was supported by grant R01 MH54610 from the National Institutes of Health . The Danish Twin Registry is supported by grants from The National Program for Research Infrastructure 2007 from the Danish Agency for Science and Innovation , the Velux Foundation and the US National Institute of Health ( P01 AG08761 ). The Minnesota Twin Study of Adult Development and Aging was supported by NIA grant R01 AG06886 . VETSA was supported by National Institute of Health grants NIA R01 AG018384 , R01 AG018386 , R01 AG022381 , and R01 AG022982 , and, in part, with resources of the VA San Diego Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health . The Cooperative Studies Program of the Office of Research & Development of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has provided financial support for the development and maintenance of the Vietnam Era Twin (VET) Registry. The content of this manuscript is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIA/NIH, or the VA.

Funding Information:
IGEMS is supported by the National Institutes of Health grant nos. R01 AG037985 and R56 AG037985. SATSA was supported by grants R01 AG04563, R01 AG10175, the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Aging, the Swedish Council For Working Life and Social Research (FAS) (97:0147:1B, 2009-0795) and Swedish Research Council (825-2007-7460, 825-2009-6141). OCTO-Twin was supported by grant R01 AG08861. Gender was supported by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Aging, The Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson's Foundation, The Swedish Council for Social Research, and the Swedish Foundation for Health Care Sciences and Allergy Research. TOSS was supported by grant R01 MH54610 from the National Institutes of Health. The Danish Twin Registry is supported by grants from The National Program for Research Infrastructure 2007 from the Danish Agency for Science and Innovation, the Velux Foundation and the US National Institute of Health (P01 AG08761). The Minnesota Twin Study of Adult Development and Aging was supported by NIA grant R01 AG06886. VETSA was supported by National Institute of Health grants NIA R01 AG018384, R01 AG018386, R01 AG022381, and R01 AG022982, and, in part, with resources of the VA San Diego Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health. The Cooperative Studies Program of the Office of Research & Development of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has provided financial support for the development and maintenance of the Vietnam Era Twin (VET) Registry. The content of this manuscript is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIA/NIH, or the VA.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.

Keywords

  • Adult development
  • Aging
  • Behavior genetics
  • Cognitive ability

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