Teen IQ and Activity level and the risk of late-life dementia

Alan Lerner, MD
University Hospitals of Cleveland (Cleveland, OH)
Year Awarded:
Grant Duration:
April 1, 2006 to June 30, 2010
Alzheimer's Disease
Award Amount:
Grant Reference ID:
Award Type:
Award Region:
US Midwestern

Teen IQ, Activity Level, and AD: Mechanisms of the Links


Studies have suggested that low cognitive performance and low activity level in youth may be associated with an increased risk for dementia in adulthood. However, we know little about the mechanism(s) underlying the associations. Experiences occurring in mid- and late-life could mediate the influence of cognitive ability and activity level in youth on cognitive function in adulthood. Or, the effects of early life factors on AD could be independent of mid- and late-life experiences. In this project, Dr. Lerner will examine the relationships between teen IQ and activity level, and a genetic risk factor for AD (APOE e4), on the development of AD over time. Subjects will be 1940s graduates of the same high school who had normal cognition in 2002. Subjects will undergo two follow-up evaluations to detect transitions to dementia. IQ test scores and activity levels, gathered from sources at the school, will be used as predictor variables in statistical models. Dr. Lerner predicts that lower IQ and activity level, and the high-risk APOE gene will each increase AD risk, and that mid- and late-life factors will directly and indirectly contribute to this effect. These findings will contribute to knowledge about pathways leading to AD and may identify modifiable risk factors.


Fritsch T, Larsen JD, Smyth KA. The role of adolescent IQ and gender in the use of cognitive support for remembering in aging. Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 2007 Jul;14(4):394-416.  

Fritsch T, Smyth KA, McClendon MJ, Ogrocki PK, Santillan C, Larsen JD, Strauss ME. Associations between dementia/mild cognitive impairment and cognitive performance and activity levels in youth. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2005 Jul;53(7):1191-6.  

Fritsch T, McClendon MJ, Smyth KA, Lerner AJ, Friedland RP, Larsen JD. Cognitive functioning in healthy aging: the role of reserve and lifestyle factors early in life. Gerontologist. 2007 Jun;47(3):307-22.  

Fritsch, T., Larsen, J. D., & Smyth, K. A. (2007). The role of gender and adolescent IQ in the use of cognitive support for remembering in aging. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 14, 394-416.  

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