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Journal Article

Dysregulation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and cognitive capability at older ages: individual participant meta-analysis of five cohorts

Authors

Publication date

2019

Summary

Evidence on the association between functioning of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and cognitive capability at older ages is mixed. We undertook a systematic review (until October 2016) and individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis to test if dysregulation of the HPA axis is associated with worse cognitive capability. Five cohort studies were included in the IPD meta-analysis of diurnal cortisol patterns with crystallised and fluid cognitive ability. Higher night time cortisol was associated with worse fluid ability (standardised coefficient per SD increase −0.063, 95% CI −0.124, −0.002, P = 0.04; I2 = 79.9%; age and gender adjusted). A larger diurnal drop was associated with better fluid ability (standardised coefficient per SD increase 0.037, 95% CI 0.008, 0.065, P = 0.01; I2 = 49.2%; age and gender adjusted). A bigger cortisol awakening response (CAR) was weakly associated with better fluid (P = 0.09; I2 = 0.0%; age and gender adjusted) and crystallised (P = 0.10; I2 = 0.0%; age and gender adjusted) ability. There is weak evidence that a greater diurnal decline of the HPA axis and a larger CAR are associated with improvements in cognition at older ages. As associations are cross-sectional, we cannot rule out reverse causation.

Published in

Scientific Reports

Volume

9:4555

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-40566-x

ISSN

16

Subjects

Older People, Psychology, Health, and Biology

Notes

Open Access; This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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