Identification of Successful Cognitive Aging in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative Study

Feng V. Lin, Xixi Wang, Rachel Wu, George W. Rebok, Benjamin P. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The present prospective observational study aimed to identify the existence of successful cognitive agers among a group of well-defined cognitively healthy older adults (n=354, mean age=75 years), and to examine baseline individual-level predictors and associated health outcomes over time. Episodic memory (EM) and executive function (EF) composite scores and multiple health outcomes were obtained annually over 5 years. Potential individual-level predictors that were related to Alzheimer's disease pathology or genetic risk, neurodegeneration, and vascular risks were collected at baseline. Three latent classes with matched age and education were identified using growth mixture modeling: a group of participants who exhibited high, stable EM and EF (40.7% of the sample, "successful agers"); a group who had initial high cognitive performance that declined over time (21.2%, "declining agers"); and a group who had normal (EM) or poor (EF) but stable cognitive performance over time (38.1%, "low stable agers"). The group classification predicted significant differences in the incidence of global cognitive impairment, the development of at least one depressive symptom, and everyday functional impairment. Sex, apolipoprotein E allele 4, amyloid-β 1-42, and t-tau significantly contributed to the difference in cognitive trajectories between the successful agers and the other two groups. Characterizing successful cognitive agers who are relatively resistant to both tau and amyloid pathology provides potential pathways for promoting successful cognitive aging and preventing cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-111
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • Amyloid-β
  • episodic memory
  • executive function
  • successful cognitive aging
  • tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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