Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Maintaining cognitive function with internet use: a two-country, six-year longitudinal study

  • Jessica Berner (a1) (a2), Hannie Comijs (a2) (a3), Sölve Elmståhl (a4), Anna-Karin Welmer (a5), Johan Sanmartin Berglund (a6), Peter Anderberg (a6) and Dorly Deeg (a1) (a2)...

Abstract

Objectives:

Maintaining good cognitive function with aging may be aided by technology such as computers, tablets, and their applications. Little research so far has investigated whether internet use helps to maintain cognitive function over time.

Design:

Two population-based studies with a longitudinal design from 2001/2003 (T1) to 2007/2010 (T2).

Setting:

Sweden and the Netherlands.

Participants:

Older adults aged 66 years and above from the Swedish National Study on Ageing and Care (N = 2,564) and from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (N = 683).

Measurements:

Internet use was self-reported. Using the scores from the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) from T1 and T2, both a difference score and a significant change index was calculated. Linear and logistic regression analysis were performed with difference score and significant change index, respectively, as the dependent variable and internet use as the independent variable, and adjusted for sex, education, age, living situation, and functional limitations. Using a meta-analytic approach, summary coefficients were calculated across both studies.

Results:

Internet use at baseline was 26.4% in Sweden and 13.3% in the Netherlands. Significant cognitive decline over six years amounted to 9.2% in Sweden and 17.0% in the Netherlands. Considering the difference score, the summary linear regression coefficient for internet use was −0.32 (95% CI: −0.62, −0.02). Considering the significant change index, the summary odds ratio for internet use was 0.54 (95% CI: 0.37, 0.78).

Conclusions:

The results suggest that internet use might play a role in maintaining cognitive functioning. Further research into the specific activities that older adults are doing on the internet may shine light on this issue.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Maintaining cognitive function with internet use: a two-country, six-year longitudinal study
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Maintaining cognitive function with internet use: a two-country, six-year longitudinal study
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Maintaining cognitive function with internet use: a two-country, six-year longitudinal study
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Prof. dr. D.J.H. Deeg, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, VU University Medical Center, P.O. Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Telephone: +31 20 444 6767. Email: djh.deeg@vumc.nl.

References

Hide All
Ashby, G., Isen, A. and Turken, U. (1999). A neuropsychological theory of positive affect and its influence on cognition. Psychological Review, 106, 529550.
Baltes, P. B. (1997). On the incomplete architecture of human ontogeny. Selection, optimization, and compensation as foundation of developmental theory. American Psychologist, 52, 366380.
Berner, J. et al. (2015). Factors influencing Internet usage in older adults (65 years and above) living in rural and urban Sweden. Health Informatics Journal, 21, 237249. doi:10.1177/1460458214521226.
Berner, J. S. et al. (2016). A cross-national and longitudinal study on predictors in starting and stopping Internet use (20012013) by Swedish and Dutch older adults 66 years and above. Gerontechnology, 14, 157168.
Berner, J., Aartsen, M. and Deeg, D. (2017). Predictors in starting and stopping Internet use between 2002 and 2012 by Dutch adults 65 years and older. Health Informatics Journal, 19, 152162. doi:10.1177/1460458217720398.
Cabeza, R., Anderson, N. D., Locantore, J. K. and McIntosh, AR. (2002). Aging gracefully: compensatory brain activity in high-performing older adults. Neuroimage, 17, 13941402.
Cohen, J. A., Verghese, J. and Zwerling, J. (2016). Cognition and gait in older people. Review. Maturitas, 93, 7377. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2016.05.005.
Czaja, S. J. (2005). The impact of aging on access to technology. ACM Sigaccess Accessibility and Computing, 83, 711.
Ellwardt, L., Van Tilburg, T. G. and Aartsen, M. J. (2015). The mix matters: complex personal networks relate to higher cognitive functioning in old age. Social Science & Medicine, 125, 107115. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.05.007.
Eurostat. Individuals places in internet use. Retrieved 17 September 2017 from http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-datasets/-/isoc_ci_ifp_pu.
Folstein, M. F., Folstein, S. E. and McHugh, P. R. (1975). “Mini-mental state”. A practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 12, 189198.
Gell, N. M., Rosenberg, D. E., Demiris, G., LaCroix, A. Z. and Patel, K. V. (2015). Patterns of technology use among older adults with and without disabilities. Gerontologist, 55, 412421.
Huisman, M., et al. (2011). Cohort profile: the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. International Journal of Epidemiology, 40, 868876. doi:10.1093/ije/dyq219.
Huntley, J. D., Gould, R. L., Lui, K., Smith, M. and Howard, R. J. (2015). Do cognitive interventions improve general cognition in dementia? A meta-analysis and meta-regression. BMJ Open, 5(4), e005247.
Ihle, A. et al. (2017). The relation of education, occupation, and cognitive activity to cognitive status in old age: the role of physical frailty. International Psychogeriatric, 29, 14691474.
Jolles, J., Verhey, F., Riedel, W. and Houx, P. (1995). Cognitive impairment in elderly people. Drugs & Aging, 7, 459475.
Klimova, B. (2016). Use of the internet as a prevention tool against cognitive decline in normal aging. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 11, 12311237.
Kurz, A. F., Leucht, S. and Lautenschlager, N. T. (2011). The clinical significance of cognition-focused interventions for cognitively impaired older adults: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. International Psychogeriatric, 23, 13641375.
Lagergren, M. et al. (2004). A longitudinal study integrating population, care and social services data. The Swedish National study on Aging and Care (SNAC). Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 16, 158168.
Lawton, M. P. and Brody, E. M. (1969). Assessment of older people: self-maintaining and instrumental activities of daily living. Gerontologist, 9, 179186.
McWhinnie, J. R. (1981). Disability assessment in population surveys: results of the O.E.C.D. Common Development Effort. Revue d'Epidémiologie et de Santé Publique, 29, 413419.
Park, D. C. (1992). Applied cognitive aging research. In: Craik, F. I. M. and Salthouse, T. A. (Eds.), The Handbook of Aging and Cognition (pp. 449494). Hillsdale, NJ: Laurence Erlbaum Associates Publishers. https://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1992-98157-009.
Reijnders, J., van Heugten, C. and van Boxtel, M. (2013). Cognitive interventions in healthy older adults and people with mild cognitive impairment: a systematic review. Ageing Research Reviews, 12, 263275. doi:10.1016/j.arr.2012.07.003.
Rogers, E. (2003). Diffusion of Innovations. New York: Free Press.
Salthouse, T. A. (1996). The processing-speed theory of adult age differences in cognition. Psychological Review, 103, 403428.
Sanchez-Valle, M., Vinaras-Abad, M. and Lorrente-Borroso, C. (2017). Empowering the elderly and promoting active ageing through the internet: the benefit of e-inclusion programs. In Safe at Home with Assistive Technology, 6, 95108. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-42890-1_7.
Sherman, D. S., Mauser, J., Nuno, M. and Sherzai, D. (2017). The efficacy of cognitive intervention in mild cognitive impairment (MCI): a meta-analysis of outcomes on neuropsychological measures. Neuropsychology Review, 27, 440484.
Slegers, K., van Boxtel, M. and Jolles, J. (2009). Effects of computer training and internet usage on cognitive abilities in older adults: a randomized controlled study. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 21, 4354.
Smith, N. Jr (1970). Replication studies: a neglected aspect of psychological research. American Psychologist, 25, 970975. doi:10.1037/h0029774.
Speer, D. C. and Greenbaum, P. E. (1995). Five methods for computing significant individual client change and improvement rates: support for an individual growth curve approach. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63, 10441048.
van Gelder, B. M., Tijhuis, M., Kalmijn, S., Giampaoli, S., Nissinen, A. and Kromhout, D. (2006). Marital status and living situation during a 5-year period are associated with a subsequent 10-year cognitive decline in older men: the FINE Study. The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 61, P213P219.
Webster, L. et al. (2017). Development of a core outcome set for disease modification trials in mild to moderate dementia: a systematic review, patient and public consultation and consensus recommendations. Health Technology Assessment, 21, 1192.
Xavier, A. J. et al. (2014). English longitudinal study of aging: can internet/E-mail use reduce cognitive decline? Journals of Gerontology. Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 69, 11171121. doi:10.1093/gerona/glu105.
Yates, L. A., Ziser, S., Spector, A. and Orrell, M. (2016). Cognitive leisure activities and future risk of cognitive impairment and dementia: systematic review and meta-analysis. International Psychogeriatric, 28, 17911806.
Zhu, X., Qiu, C., Zeng, Y. and Li, J. (2017). Leisure activities, education, and cognitive impairment in Chinese older adults: a population-based longitudinal study. International Psychogeriatric, 29, 727739.

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Berner et al. supplementary material
Berner et al. supplementary material 1

 Word (16 KB)
16 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed