Lifespan exposures and healthy aging – University of Copenhagen

Healthy Aging UK > Research > Life Course Aging Processes > Lifespan exposures and...

Projects in Lifespan exposures and healthy aging

Life course exposures

A major focus is on the influence of life course social inequalities as well as major life events (e.g. divorce, death of close family members, job loss) on early aging as reflected in low-grade inflammation (LGI) physical and cognitive functioning in midlife. Data from the Copenhagen Aging and Midlife Biobank (CAMB) form the basis for these projects as well as register linkage of the cohorts to the Danish Health and Social Registries.

Associations between growth (birth weight, early adult and midlife BMI) over the life course and midlife LGI (CAMB) and associations in older women between education, income and prestige of occupation and LGI are also being investigated. Further studies of early physical growth and early behavioral milestones are based on the Copenhagen Perinatal Cohort with focus on early growth and behavioral milestones as predictors of adult personality and adult intelligence.

Psychosocial risk factors

Based on CAMB studies examine psychosocial risk factors for early aging measured as low grade inflammation (LGI), physical functioning and allostatic load. These include analyses of associations of socioeconomic position in early life and across the life course and stressful social relations in private life with LGI and physical and cognitive functioning and of associations of major life events with allostatic load. We also investigate the association between midlife loneliness and physical functioning.

Early development

Studies based on the Copenhagen Perinatal Cohort have been conducted on early growth and behavioral milestones as predictors of young adult personality and adult intelligence. Further analyses of associations of early growth and development with personality and intelligence in late midlife are being conducted and published in a series of publications. In addition the Danish Conscript Database is used to analyze the influence of early disease on cognitive development. Analyzes have been conducted on the influence of epilepsia and hearing on cognitive development.

Age-related changes in cognition

A comprehensive follow-up of a CAMB subsample from the Metropolit Cohort – selected on the basis of midlife cognitive functioning - is being expanded and described in detail below (COLOSMA, the Copenhagen Longitudinal Study of Male Cognitive Aging). Data collection on the The Life-Mabs study (Early Life Determinants of Midlife Development and Brain Structure) is expected to be completed by February 2018 with 300 participants. The study incorporates detailed psychological and MRI follow-up on selected members of the Copenhagen Perinatal Cohort with detailed information on early life exposures and young adult psychological, social and physical development, enabling analyses of stability and change in personality and health across the lifespan. A special feature of the study is the re-administration of the Wechsler's Adult intelligence Scale which the participants first completed as young adults, enabling detailed analyses of cognitive changes from young adulthood to late midlife.

In 2017 data-collection on the Liko-15 (Lifestyle and cognition) project has also been completed. The study is the first ever large scale follow-up study with re-administration of the Danish draft board intelligence test. The focus of the study is the influence of lifestyle factors and mental and physical disease on age-related cognitive decline. More than 2500 55-65 year old mean have participated in the follow-up by completing the draft board intelligence test and a detailed questionnaire on demographics, lifestyle, health and disease.

Studies on the Glostrup 1914 cohort are continued with analyses of both cognitive and MRI data and a PhD study of the role of education and initial cognitive performance in cognitive ageing and cognitive decline Current analyses also focus on associations between blood pressure and age-related cognitive decline. Recent analyses suggest that social network and social relations may influence age-related cognitive decline. 

Cognition as a risk factor

Several studies based on the Danish Conscription Database analyze associations of intelligence at the conscript board examination with specific diseases and cause-specific mortality in all Danish males born in the period 1939-59. Papers have been published on dementia, epilepsia, depression as well as all-cause mortality and cause-specific mortaliy. 

Life and health expectancy

Analyses evaluate health expectancy for Danes aged 50 and 65 between 2004-2010 and evaluate whether health expectancy continues to increase more than life expectancy. Another project analyses educational inequality in health expectancy before and after the financial crisis in Denmark amongst 50 years olds. Both projects are based on SHARE data.