53 research outputs found

    Exploring psychological well-being in working family carers

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    Long-term high-effort endurance exercise in older adults: diminishing returns for cognitive and brain aging

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    While there is evidence that age-related changes in cognitive performance and brain structure can be offset by increased exercise, little is known about the impact on these of long-term high-effort endurance exercise. In a cross-sectional design with 12-month follow-up, we recruited older adults engaging in high-effort endurance exercise over at least twenty years, and compared their cognitive performance and brain structure with a non-sedentary control group similar in age, sex, education, IQ, and lifestyle factors. Our findings showed no differences on measures of speed of processing, executive function, incidental memory, episodic memory, working memory, or visual search for older adults participating in long-term high-effort endurance exercise, when compared without confounds to non-sedentary peers. On tasks that engaged significant attentional control, subtle differences emerged. On indices of brain structure, long-term exercisers displayed higher white matter axial diffusivity than their age-matched peers, but this did not correlate with indices of cognitive performance

    Mid age APOE ε4 carriers show memory-related functional differences and disrupted structure-function relationships in hippocampal regions

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    Carriers of the APOE e4 allele are at higher risk of age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease (AD). The underlying neural mechanisms are uncertain, but genotype differences in medial temporal lobe (MTL) functional activity and structure at mid-age might contribute. We tested 16 non-e4 and 16 e4 carriers (aged 45-55) on a subsequent memory task in conjunction with MRI to assess how hippocampal volume (from T1 structural) and microstructure (neurite orientation-dispersion, from NODDI) differs by genotype and in relation to memory encoding. No previous study has investigated APOE effects on hippocampal microstructure using NODDI. Recall performance did not differ by genotype. A genotype by condition interaction in left parahippocampus indicated that in e4 carriers activity did not differentiate subsequently remembered from forgotten words. Hippocampal volumes and microstructure also did not differ by genotype but hippocampal volumes correlated positively with recognition performance in non-e4 carriers only. Similarly, greater hippocampal neurite orientation-dispersion was linked to better recall but only in non-e4s. Thus, we suggest that mid-age e4 carriers show a breakdown of normal MTL activation and structure-performance relationships. This could reflect an inability to utilise compensatory mechanisms, and contribute to higher risk of cognitive decline and AD in later life

    Cognitive and neural signatures of the APOE E4 allele in mid-aged adults

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    The apolipoprotein E (APOE) e4 allele is strongly associated with increased risk of cognitive impairments in older adulthood. There is also a possible link to enhanced cognitive performance in younger adults, and the APOE e4 allele may constitute an example of antagonistic pleiotropy. The aim of this work was to investigate the cognitive and neural (functional) effects of the APOE e4 allele during mid-age (45-55 years), where a transition toward cognitive deficit might be expected. APOE e4 carriers (e4+) were compared with non-e4 carriers (e4-) on tasks of sustained and covert attention and prospective memory, and functional magnetic resonance imaging data acquired. Performance by e4+ was equivalent or better than e4- on all 3 tasks, although performance benefits were less pronounced than in youth. Neurally, e4+ showed less task-related recruitment of extrastriate and parietal areas. This became more evident when neural activation data were compared with that of young adults acquired in a parallel study. As expected, mid-age participants showed more diffuse neural activation. Notable was the fact that e4+ showed a relative inability to recruit parietal regions as they aged. This was coupled with a tendency to show greater recruitment of frontal regions, and underactivation of extrastriate visual regions. Thus, mid-age e4+ show a pattern of neural recruitment usually seen later in life, possibly reflecting the source of an accelerated aging profile that describes the e4 genotype

    Can verbal instruction enhance the recall of an everyday task and promote error-monitoring in people with dementia of the Alzheimer-type?

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    People with dementia of the Alzheimer-type (DAT) have difficulties with performing everyday tasks and error awareness is poor. Here we investigated whether recall of actions and error monitoring in everyday task performance improved when they instructed another person on how to make tea. In this situation, both visual and motor cues are present, and attention sustained by the requirement to keep instructing. The data were drawn from a longitudinal study recording performance in four participants with DAT, filmed regularly for five years in their own homes, completing three tea-making conditions: performed-recall (they made tea themselves); instructed-recall (they instructed the experimenter on how to make tea); and verbal-recall (they described how to make tea). Accomplishment scores (percentage of task they correctly recalled), errors and error-monitoring were coded. Task accomplishment was comparable in the performed-recall and instructed-recall conditions, but both were significantly better than task accomplishment in the verbal-recall condition. Third person instruction did not improve error-monitoring. This study has implications for everyday task rehabilitation for people with DAT

    Self-esteem, self-efficacy and optimism as psychological resources among family caregivers of people with dementia: findings from the IDEAL study

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    YesBeing a family caregiver, and in particular giving care to someone with dementia, impacts upon mental and physical health, and potentially reduces the ability of caregivers to ‘live well’. This paper examines whether three key psychological resources, self-efficacy, optimism and self-esteem, are associated with better outcomes for caregivers of people with dementia. Design and Participants Caregivers of 1283 people with mild-to-moderate dementia in the Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life (IDEAL) project responded to measures of selfefficacy, optimism and self-esteem, and ‘living well’ (quality of life, life satisfaction and well-being). Multivariate linear regression was used to examine the association between psychological resources and ‘living well’. Results Self-efficacy, optimism and self-esteem were all independently associated with better capability to ‘live well’ for caregivers. This association persisted when accounting for a number of potential confounding variables (age group, sex, and hours of caregiving per day). Conclusions Low self-efficacy, optimism and self-esteem might present a risk of poor outcomes for caregivers of people with dementia. These findings encourage us to consider how new or established interventions might increase the psychological resilience of caregivers

    Dyadic perspectives on loneliness and social isolation among people with dementia and spousal carers: findings from the IDEAL programme

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    YesThis study aims to investigate the impact of self and partner experiences of loneliness and social isolation on life satisfaction in people with dementia and their spousal carers. We used data from 1042 dementia caregiving dyads in the Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life (IDEAL) programme cohort. Loneliness was measured using the six-item De Jong Gierveld loneliness scale and social isolation using the six-item Lubben Social Network Scale. Data were analysed using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model framework. Self-rated loneliness was associated with poorer life satisfaction for both people with dementia and carers. The initial partner effects observed between the loneliness of the carer and the life satisfaction of the person with dementia and between social isolation reported by the person with dementia and life satisfaction of the carer were reduced to nonsignificance once the quality of the relationship between them was considered. Experiencing greater loneliness and social isolation is linked with reduced life satisfaction for people with dementia and carers. However, having a positive view of the quality of the relationship between them reduced the impact of loneliness and social isolation on life satisfaction. Findings suggest the need to consider the experiences of both the person with dementia and the carer when investigating the impact of loneliness and social isolation. Individual interventions to mitigate loneliness or isolation may enhance life satisfaction for both partners and not simply the intervention recipient.‘Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life: living well with dementia. The IDEAL study’ was funded jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) through grant ES/L001853/2. ‘Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life: a longitudinal perspective on living well with dementia. The IDEAL-2 study’ is funded by Alzheimer’s Society, grant number 348, AS-PR2-16- 001

    Comorbid health conditions and their impact on social isolation, loneliness, quality of life, and well-being in people with dementia: longitudinal findings from the IDEAL programme

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    BackgroundMost people with dementia have multiple health conditions. This study explores (1) number and type of health condition(s) in people with dementia overall and in relation to age, sex, dementia type, and cognition; (2) change in number of health conditions over two years; and (3) whether over time the number of health conditions at baseline is related to social isolation, loneliness, quality of life, and/or well-being.MethodsLongitudinal data from the IDEAL (Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life) cohort were used. Participants comprised people with dementia (n = 1490) living in the community (at baseline) in Great Britain. Health conditions using the Charlson Comorbidity Index, cognition, social isolation, loneliness, quality of life, and well-being were assessed over two years. Mixed effects modelling was used.ResultsOn average participants had 1.8 health conditions at baseline, excluding dementia; increasing to 2.5 conditions over two years. Those with vascular dementia or mixed (Alzheimer’s and vascular) dementia had more health conditions than those with Alzheimer’s disease. People aged ≥ 80 had more health conditions than those aged < 65 years. At baseline having more health conditions was associated with increased loneliness, poorer quality of life, and poorer well-being, but was either minimally or not associated with cognition, sex, and social isolation. Number of health conditions had either minimal or no influence on these variables over time.ConclusionsPeople with dementia in IDEAL generally had multiple health conditions and those with more health conditions were lonelier, had poorer quality of life, and poorer well-being

    Longitudinal trajectories of quality of life among people with mild-to-moderate dementia: a latent growth model approach with IDEAL cohort study data

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    Objectives We aimed to examine change over time in self-rated quality of life (QoL) in people with mild-to-moderate dementia and identify sub-groups with distinct QoL trajectories. Method We used data from people with mild-to-moderate dementia followed up at 12 and 24 months in the IDEAL cohort study (baseline n=1537). A latent growth model approach examined mean change over time in QoL, assessed with the QoL-AD scale, and investigated associations of baseline demographic, cognitive and psychological covariates with the intercept and slope of QoL. We employed growth mixture modelling to identify multiple growth trajectories. Results Overall mean QoL scores were stable and no associations with change over time were observed. Four classes of QoL trajectories were identified: two with higher baseline QoL scores, labelled Stable (74.9%) and Declining (7.6%), and two with lower baseline QoL scores, labelled Stable Lower (13.7%) and Improving (3.8%). The Declining class had higher baseline levels of depression and loneliness, and lower levels of self-esteem and optimism, than the Stable class. The Stable Lower class was characterised by disadvantage related to social structure, poor physical health, functional disability, and low psychological well-being. The Improving class was similar to the Stable Lower class but had lower cognitive test scores. Discussion Understanding individual trajectories can contribute to personalised care planning. Efforts to prevent decline in perceived QoL should primarily target psychological well-being. Efforts to improve QoL for those with poorer QoL should additionally address functional impairment, isolation, and disadvantage related to social structure
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