Education is power: preserving cognition in the UK biobank.
Tari B., Künzi M., Pflanz CP., Raymont V., Bauermeister S.
INTRODUCTION: Dementia is a debilitating syndrome characterized by the gradual loss of memory and cognitive function. Although there are currently limited, largely symptomatic treatments for the diseases that can lead to dementia, its onset may be prevented by identifying and modifying relevant life style risk factors. Commonly described modifiable risk factors include diet, physical inactivity, and educational attainment. Importantly, however, to maximize the utility of our understanding of these risk factors, tangible and meaningful changes to policy must also be addressed. OBJECTIVES: Here, we aim to identify the mechanism(s) by which educational attainment influences cognition. METHODS: We investigated data from 502,357 individuals (Mage = 56.53, SDage = 8.09, 54.40% female) from the UK Biobank cohort via Structural Equation Modelling to illustrate links between predictor variables (i.e., Townsend Deprivation Index, coastal distance, greenspace, years of education), covariates (i.e., participant age) and cognitive function as outcome variables (i.e., pairs-matching, trail-making task B, fluid intelligence). RESULTS: Our model demonstrated that higher education was associated with better cognitive performance (ps