HealthDay News — Reading problems in childhood are associated with poorer memory scores at age 43 years, but not with rate of memory decline, according to a study published online July 6 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Amber John, Ph.D., from University College London, and colleagues examined longitudinal associations between childhood reading problems and cognitive function from mid-adulthood (age 43 years) to early old age (age 69 years). Reading problems were measured at age 11 years, and verbal memory and processing speed were assessed at ages 43, 53, 60 to 64, and 69 years. In addition, at age 69 years, Addenbrooke’s Cognition Examination (ACE) was administered.

The researchers found that reading problems were associated with poorer verbal memory at intercept (43 years), but were not associated with the rate of decline from ages 43 to 69 years among 1,726 participants; there were no associations noted for reading problems with processing speed intercept or decline among 1,730 participants. People with versus those without reading problems had higher rates of scores below ACE-III clinical thresholds. There was an association between reading problems and poorer total ACE-III scores and all domain scores at age 69 years in 1,699 participants. Education partly mediated these associations.

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“These findings are important because increasing current understanding of early risk factors for cognitive ageing can be of potential benefit for building better predictive models,” the authors write.

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