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Risk and protective factors for cognitive function in aging may affect how much individuals benefit from their environment or life experiences by preserving or improving cognitive abilities. We investigated the relations between such factors and outcome from episodic-memory training in 136 healthy young and older adults. Tested risk factors included carrying the ɛ4 variant of the apolipoprotein E allele (APOE), age, body mass index, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Protective factors included higher levels of education, intelligence quotient (IQ), physical activity, fatty acids, and vitamin D. Average increases in memory performance were seen after training, with ample variation between individuals. Being young, female, and having higher IQ were positive predictors of memory improvement. No other relationships were observed. Similar benefit was observed across APOE allelic variation. This indicates that beyond IQ, age, and sex, known risk -and protective factors of cognitive function in aging were not significantly related to memory plasticity.

Original publication




Journal article


Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn

Publication Date



1 - 17


Cognitive training, apolipoprotein E, cognitive decline, memory plasticity, risk factors