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Journal Articles International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry Year : 2011

Adverse childhood environment and late-life cognitive functioning.


Objective: Clinical studies suggest that childhood maltreatment may cause nervous system changes and consequent cognitive disorder. The persistence of this association in late-life is examined. Methods: Cognitive functioning and childhood events were examined in 1282 persons over 65 years, taking into account proximal competing causes of poor cognitive performance. Results: 91 % of participants experienced at least one adverse childhood event, of these 14.7 % severe events. Sharing of parental problems and, for women, loss of a parent, were associated with poorer verbal retrieval whereas being sent to a foster home or mistreatment by schoolmates was associated with poorer visuospatial memory. Severe abuse was associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment on some tests suggesting a resilience factor. Positive childhood environment was protective although only for non-carriers of the ApoE epsilon4 allele on the central executive task. Conclusions: Some adverse childhood events continue to have a negative effect on later-life cognitive performance, while some more severe acute events may have the opposite effect, underlying the necessity to consider events individually and not as global test scores.
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inserm-00584172 , version 1 (07-10-2011)



Karen Ritchie, Isabelle Jaussent, Robert Stewart, Anne-Marie Dupuy, Philippe Courtet, et al.. Adverse childhood environment and late-life cognitive functioning.: Adverse childhood environment and late-life cognitive functioning. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2011, 26 (5), pp.503-10. ⟨10.1002/gps.2553⟩. ⟨inserm-00584172⟩
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