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Modifiable lifestyle factors have been shown to promote healthy brain aging. However, studies have typically focused on a single factor at a time. Given that lifestyle factors do not occur in isolation, multivariable analyses may provide a more realistic model of the lifestyle-brain relationship. Here, canonical correlation analysis (CCA) was applied to examine the relationship between nine lifestyle factors and seven MRI-derived indices of brain structure. The resulting covariance pattern was further explored with Bayesian regressions. CCA analyses were first conducted on a Danish cohort of older adults (n=251) and then replicated in a British cohort (n=668). In both cohorts, the latent lifestyle factors were positively associated with the latent structural brain measures (UK: r =0.37, p < 0.001; Denmark: r =0.27, p < 0.001). In the cross-validation study, the correlation between lifestyle-brain latent factors was r =0.10, p = 0.008. However, the pattern of associations differed between datasets. Taken together, these findings suggest that baseline characterization and tailoring toward the study sample may be beneficial for achieving targeted lifestyle interventions.

Original publication




Journal article


Neurobiology of Aging



Publication Date