Psychological Well-Being at 52 Years Could Impact on Cognitive Functioning at 69 Years

26 November 2019

Tokyo, Japan – People around the world are living longer, and dementia has consequently become recognized as a public health priority in many countries. The Lancet Commission paper in 2017 collated a large body of medical research evidence that aims to address the dementia epidemic and following challenge for health and social care. It is estimated that as much as 35% of dementia cases could be prevented by targeting nine modifiable risk factors. However, relatively little is known about psychological well-being in this context.

Miharu Nakanishi, Chief Researcher of Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, and her colleagues finds that psychological well-being at 52 years were prospectively associated with cognitive function at 69 years. The authors used data in women from the British 1946 birth cohort in the Medical Research Council’s National Survey of Health and Development.

Recent studies suggest that specific domains of psychological well-being, including negative affect, positive affect, and purpose in life, are related to cognitive function in older adults. Using the cohort data, the authors finds that there was a significant association between greater personal growth and lower self-acceptance at 52 years, and better cognition at 69 years. This association is adequately robust to control for childhood cognitive ability, physical activity, and other variables among nine modifiable risk factors.

The present study published in Journal of Alzheimer's Diease would add new implications to the risk reduction messages by more attention to the health promotion of middle-aged women who face midlife crises.

Full study: "Midlife Psychological Well-Being and its Impact on Cognitive Functioning Later in Life: An Observational Study Using a Female British Cohort” by Miharu Nakanishi, Syudo Yamasaki, Atsushi Nishida, Marcus Richards (DOI: 10.3233/JAD-190590), published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Vol 72, Issue 3 (November 2019). The article is online at:

About the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease
Now in its 22nd year of publication, the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease is an international multidisciplinary journal to facilitate progress in understanding the etiology, pathogenesis, epidemiology, genetics, behavior, treatment, and psychology of Alzheimer's disease. The journal publishes research reports, reviews, short communications, book reviews, and letters-to-the-editor. Groundbreaking research that has appeared in the journal includes novel therapeutic targets, mechanisms of disease, and clinical trial outcomes. JAD has a 2018 Journal Impact Factor of 3.517 according to Journal Citation Reports (Web of Science Group, 2019). JAD is published by IOS Press.