Dr. Sarah Laditka and Dr. Jim Laditka publish study on cognitive impairment, disability, and life expectancy

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The study looks at how education influences disability for people with cognitive impairment and was published recently in The American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias as, “More Education May Limit Disability and Extend Life for People with Cognitive Impairment.”

Our study extends our research on active life expectancy. That is the average length of life and the proportions of life with and without disability. The United States and governments throughout the world now use active life expectancy to monitor trends in population health and to establish national goals for healthier lives. We used data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the longest running household survey in the world. We found that among people with cognitive impairment, people with high education had longer lives and less disability than with people with low education. Advanced stages of dementia are clinically defined in part by physical disability, so our findings also suggest that among people with cognitive impairment, those with high education are much less likely to have dementia that progresses to advanced stages. Our results may provide support for investing in education and for the growing public health efforts to promote cognitive health by encouraging healthy behaviors that are more common among people with more education.

You can read the abstract for our study here: http://aja.sagepub.com/content/29/5/436