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Population Aging at Cross-Roads: Diverging Secular Trends in Average Cognitive Functioning and Physical Health in the Older Population of Germany.

Steiber N - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: In line with previous research we find a highly significant Flynn effect on cognition; i.e., SDT scores are higher among those who were tested more recently (at the same age).The decline in average physical health is shown to be stronger for men than for women and found to be strongest for low-educated, young-old men aged 50-64: the decline over the 6-year interval in average physical health is estimated to amount to about 0.37 SD, whereas average fluid cognition improved by about 0.29 SD.This pattern of results at the population-level (trends in average population health) stands in interesting contrast to the positive association of physical health and cognitive functioning at the individual-level.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria; Department of Economic Sociology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

ABSTRACT
This paper uses individual-level data from the German Socio-Economic Panel to model trends in population health in terms of cognition, physical fitness, and mental health between 2006 and 2012. The focus is on the population aged 50-90. We use a repeated population-based cross-sectional design. As outcome measures, we use SF-12 measures of physical and mental health and the Symbol-Digit Test (SDT) that captures cognitive processing speed. In line with previous research we find a highly significant Flynn effect on cognition; i.e., SDT scores are higher among those who were tested more recently (at the same age). This result holds for men and women, all age groups, and across all levels of education. While we observe a secular improvement in terms of cognitive functioning, at the same time, average physical and mental health has declined. The decline in average physical health is shown to be stronger for men than for women and found to be strongest for low-educated, young-old men aged 50-64: the decline over the 6-year interval in average physical health is estimated to amount to about 0.37 SD, whereas average fluid cognition improved by about 0.29 SD. This pattern of results at the population-level (trends in average population health) stands in interesting contrast to the positive association of physical health and cognitive functioning at the individual-level. The findings underscore the multi-dimensionality of health and the aging process.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Age-Profiles of Functioning in 2006 and 2012.Age-profiles in 2006 (solid) and 2012 (dashed), predicted based on regressions that control for age, age squared where significant at p<0.05, education, and time. Confidence intervals for predicted means in each year.
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pone.0136583.g002: Age-Profiles of Functioning in 2006 and 2012.Age-profiles in 2006 (solid) and 2012 (dashed), predicted based on regressions that control for age, age squared where significant at p<0.05, education, and time. Confidence intervals for predicted means in each year.

Mentions: These generalized findings of population health trends are illustrated in Fig 2, which shows predicted age-profiles of functioning for 2006 (solid line) and 2012 (dashed line). The regressions underlying the predicted profiles include age, age squared where significant, years of education, and time as predictors (cf. Table 4). Fig 2 shows that SDT and PCS scores decline with age in a fairly linear fashion, while MCS scores show an inverse U-shaped relation with age. The distances between the two age-profiles reflect the time effects, showing a positive trend in terms of the SDT but a negative one in terms of PCS and MCS (especially for men).


Population Aging at Cross-Roads: Diverging Secular Trends in Average Cognitive Functioning and Physical Health in the Older Population of Germany.

Steiber N - PLoS ONE (2015)

Age-Profiles of Functioning in 2006 and 2012.Age-profiles in 2006 (solid) and 2012 (dashed), predicted based on regressions that control for age, age squared where significant at p<0.05, education, and time. Confidence intervals for predicted means in each year.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4556449&req=5

pone.0136583.g002: Age-Profiles of Functioning in 2006 and 2012.Age-profiles in 2006 (solid) and 2012 (dashed), predicted based on regressions that control for age, age squared where significant at p<0.05, education, and time. Confidence intervals for predicted means in each year.
Mentions: These generalized findings of population health trends are illustrated in Fig 2, which shows predicted age-profiles of functioning for 2006 (solid line) and 2012 (dashed line). The regressions underlying the predicted profiles include age, age squared where significant, years of education, and time as predictors (cf. Table 4). Fig 2 shows that SDT and PCS scores decline with age in a fairly linear fashion, while MCS scores show an inverse U-shaped relation with age. The distances between the two age-profiles reflect the time effects, showing a positive trend in terms of the SDT but a negative one in terms of PCS and MCS (especially for men).

Bottom Line: In line with previous research we find a highly significant Flynn effect on cognition; i.e., SDT scores are higher among those who were tested more recently (at the same age).The decline in average physical health is shown to be stronger for men than for women and found to be strongest for low-educated, young-old men aged 50-64: the decline over the 6-year interval in average physical health is estimated to amount to about 0.37 SD, whereas average fluid cognition improved by about 0.29 SD.This pattern of results at the population-level (trends in average population health) stands in interesting contrast to the positive association of physical health and cognitive functioning at the individual-level.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria; Department of Economic Sociology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

ABSTRACT
This paper uses individual-level data from the German Socio-Economic Panel to model trends in population health in terms of cognition, physical fitness, and mental health between 2006 and 2012. The focus is on the population aged 50-90. We use a repeated population-based cross-sectional design. As outcome measures, we use SF-12 measures of physical and mental health and the Symbol-Digit Test (SDT) that captures cognitive processing speed. In line with previous research we find a highly significant Flynn effect on cognition; i.e., SDT scores are higher among those who were tested more recently (at the same age). This result holds for men and women, all age groups, and across all levels of education. While we observe a secular improvement in terms of cognitive functioning, at the same time, average physical and mental health has declined. The decline in average physical health is shown to be stronger for men than for women and found to be strongest for low-educated, young-old men aged 50-64: the decline over the 6-year interval in average physical health is estimated to amount to about 0.37 SD, whereas average fluid cognition improved by about 0.29 SD. This pattern of results at the population-level (trends in average population health) stands in interesting contrast to the positive association of physical health and cognitive functioning at the individual-level. The findings underscore the multi-dimensionality of health and the aging process.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus