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Association between Cognitive Activity and Cognitive Function in Older Hispanics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 June 2012

María J. Marquine*
Department of Behavioral Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
Eisuke Segawa
Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
Robert S. Wilson
Department of Behavioral Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
David A. Bennett
Department of Behavioral Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
Lisa L. Barnes
Department of Behavioral Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
Correspondence and reprint requests to: María J. Marquine, Rush University Medical Center, Department of Behavioral Sciences, 1645 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 400, Chicago, IL 60612. E-mail:


There is limited research on the association between participation in cognitively stimulating activity and cognitive function in older Hispanics. The main purpose of the present study was to explore whether frequency of cognitive activity and its association with cognitive function in Hispanics is comparable to that of non-Hispanics. In a multiethnic cohort of 1571 non-demented older adults, we assessed past and current cognitive activity, availability of cognitive resources in the home in childhood and middle age, and five domains of cognitive function. The measures of cognitive activity and cognitive resources had adequate reliability and validity in our subset of Hispanic participants (n = 81). Hispanics reported lower levels of education, lower frequency of cognitive activity and less cognitive resources than non-Hispanic White (n = 1102) and non-Hispanic Black (n = 388) participants. Despite these differences the strength of the association between cognitive activity and cognitive function was comparable across ethnic groups. Because Hispanics have lower frequency of cognitive activity, the benefit of cognitive activity to late life cognitive function may be potentially larger in this segment of the population. Thus, interventions aimed at increasing frequency of participation in cognitively stimulating activity may offer a potential target to reduce cognitive impairment in Hispanics. (JINS, 2012, 18, 1–11)

Research Articles
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2012

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