Aging | Cognitive Aging and Dementia Prevention: The Time for Psychology?

Figure 1. Results from a latent profile analysis (LPA) in two independent European cohorts: the middle-aged Barcelona Brain Health Initiative (BBHI, N=741, mean age 53) and the older-adult Medit-Ageing (N=279, mean age 71) studies.

“[…] there is a need to explore brain mechanisms through which psychological processes may exert their protective or deleterious effects.”

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BUFFALO, NY- March 10, 2023 – Aging (listed by MEDLINE/PubMed as “Aging (Albany NY)” and “Aging-US” by Web of Science) published a new editorial paper in Volume 15, Issue 4, entitled, “Cognitive aging and dementia prevention: the time for psychology?

Modifiable risk and protective factors (e.g. engaging in active lifestyles and avoiding alcohol or smoking amongst others) are seen as key agents for dementia prevention, and they also exert an important effect on cognitive trajectories of non-demented older adults. In this new editorial, researchers David Bartrés-Faz, Cristina Solé-Padullés and Natalie L. Marchant from the University of Barcelona discuss recent research that has begun to identify psychological processes that confer relative risk and protection. 

“For example, repetitive negative thinking (RNT), a cognitive process defined by selfrelevant, persistent thoughts that elaborate on negative themes, has been associated with greater burden of typical Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathological brain markers and accelerated cognitive decline over time [3].”

In contrast, self-reflection, as well as purpose in life and other components of psychological well being, may help to maintain cognition and boost cognitive resilience against neuropathological burden. The possibility of incorporating psychological elements as key players in affecting one of the most important public health issues of the century opens a window of great therapeutic opportunity, particularly because fundamental psychological processes are at the core of cognitive-behavioral interventions that may help reduce dementia risk. However, for this emergent area to develop and wield maximum benefit, major unanswered questions need to be addressed. In their editorial, the researchers highlight three main areas for future research. 

“In summary, we propose that with momentum gathering, now is the time for psychology to make important contributions to cognitive ageing and dementia prevention research.”

Read the Full Paper: DOI: 

Corresponding Author: David Bartrés-Faz

Corresponding Email: [email protected] 

Keywords: cognitive aging, psychological factors, dementia, prevention

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About Aging-US:

Launched in 2009, Aging (Aging-US) publishes papers of general interest and biological significance in all fields of aging research and age-related diseases, including cancer—and now, with a special focus on COVID-19 vulnerability as an age-dependent syndrome. Topics in Aging go beyond traditional gerontology, including, but not limited to, cellular and molecular biology, human age-related diseases, pathology in model organisms, signal transduction pathways (e.g., p53, sirtuins, and PI-3K/AKT/mTOR, among others), and approaches to modulating these signaling pathways.

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