Green space and cognitive ageing: a retrospective life course analysis in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936

Cherrie, M. P.C., Shortt, N. K., Mitchell, R. J. , Taylor, A. M., Redmond, P., Thompson, C. W., Starr, J. M., Deary, I. J. and Pearce, J. R. (2018) Green space and cognitive ageing: a retrospective life course analysis in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936. Social Science and Medicine, 196, pp. 56-65. (doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.10.038) (PMID:29128786)

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International evidence suggests that green space has beneficial effects on general and mental health but little is known about how lifetime exposure to green space influences cognitive ageing. Employing a novel longitudinal life course approach, we examined the association between lifetime availability of public parks and cognitive ageing. Lifetime residential information was gathered from the participants of the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 using a "life-grid" questionnaire at age 78 years. Parks information from 1949, 1969 and 2009 was used to determine a percentage of parks within a 1500 m buffer zone surrounding residence for childhood, adulthood, and later adulthood periods. Linear regressions were undertaken to test for association with age-standardised, residualised change in cognitive function (Moray House Test score) from age 11 to 70 years, and from age 70 to 76 (n = 281). The most appropriate model was selected using the results of a partial F-test, and then stratified by demographic, genetic and socioeconomic factors. The local provision of park space in childhood and adulthood were both important in explaining the change in cognitive function in later life. The association between childhood and adulthood park availability and change in the Moray House Test Score from age 70 to 76 was strongest for women, those without an APOE e4 allele (a genetic risk factor), and those in the lowest socioeconomic groups. Greater neighbourhood provision of public parks from childhood through to adulthood may help to slow down the rate of cognitive decline in later life, recognising that such environmental associations are always sensitive to individual characteristics.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This project is part of the three-year Mobility, Mood and Place (MMP) research project (2013-2016), supported by Research Councils UK under the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Cross-Council Programme [grant reference number EP/K037404/1] and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and in collaboration with the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The LBC1936 is supported by Age UK (Disconnected Mind programme grant). The LBC1936 work was undertaken in The University of Edinburgh Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, part of the cross council Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Initiative (MR/K026992/1); funding from the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) is gratefully acknowledged. JP and NS were also supported by the European Research Council [ERC-2010-StG grant 263501].
Keywords:Cognitive ageing, cognitive function, green space, life course, longitudinal, public parks, UK.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mitchell, Professor Rich
Authors: Cherrie, M. P.C., Shortt, N. K., Mitchell, R. J., Taylor, A. M., Redmond, P., Thompson, C. W., Starr, J. M., Deary, I. J., and Pearce, J. R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Social Science and Medicine
ISSN (Online):1873-5347
Published Online:03 November 2017

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