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Cognitive performance in high altitude Andean residents compared to low altitude populations: from childhood to older age

Cognitive performance in high altitude Andean residents compared to low altitude populations: from childhood to older age
Cognitive performance in high altitude Andean residents compared to low altitude populations: from childhood to older age
Objectives: To assess cognition in populations born and living at high (3700m) and low altitude (500m) in Bolivia, who were similar for both socio-economic status and genetic ancestry. To determine whether high altitude hypoxia influences cognitive decline across the life-span.

Method: In total, 191 healthy participants aged 4 to 85 years were assessed at high (N = 94; 33; 35% male) and low altitude (N = 97; 46, 47% male) on a battery of cognitive tasks: fluid intelligence, attention, short- and long-term memory and psychomotor speed. Saliva samples were obtained for evaluation of genetic ancestry.

Results: High altitude participants were significantly slower on measures of processing speed and speed of attention than individuals born and living at low altitude. High altitude participants had slightly higher percentage of native Andean ancestry than low altitude participants, but this was not associated with cognitive performance.

Conclusions: This is the first study of high altitude residence and neurocognition across the life-span. Given the physiological challenges of high altitude living, the impact on cognition appears to be subtle and related only to the speed of more complex cognitive operations, rather than to their accuracy. Moreover, the impact on cognition does not appear to differ with increasing age or for different degrees of genetic admixture. Further studies recruiting HA participants with a broader range of native Andean ancestry will help to address the issue of to what extent Amerindian ancestry provides neuroprotection to chronic hypoxia in those living at HA.
0894-4105
752-760
Hill, Catherine M.
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Dimitriou, Dagmara
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Baya, Ana
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Webster, Rebecca
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Gavlak-Dingle, Johanna
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Lesperance, Veline
8959e7d2-32e2-4860-a445-0e42446b7243
Healthcote, Kate
cdc78c99-ae8d-472c-a814-ca4363a78bbe
Bucks, Romola S.
95c31da3-2a01-45e7-a648-76d84a49edc4
Hill, Catherine M.
867cd0a0-dabc-4152-b4bf-8e9fbc0edf8d
Dimitriou, Dagmara
e0254a64-7764-4533-886b-93597d8ca7c9
Baya, Ana
63ba003f-da24-4977-8a6c-e891c8ed47b3
Webster, Rebecca
0882cf98-333d-428c-9bbf-cdf0fae3d3f2
Gavlak-Dingle, Johanna
c3ff36dc-6562-474c-a6b2-9cbf3b76a4c7
Lesperance, Veline
8959e7d2-32e2-4860-a445-0e42446b7243
Healthcote, Kate
cdc78c99-ae8d-472c-a814-ca4363a78bbe
Bucks, Romola S.
95c31da3-2a01-45e7-a648-76d84a49edc4

Hill, Catherine M., Dimitriou, Dagmara, Baya, Ana, Webster, Rebecca, Gavlak-Dingle, Johanna, Lesperance, Veline, Healthcote, Kate and Bucks, Romola S. (2014) Cognitive performance in high altitude Andean residents compared to low altitude populations: from childhood to older age. Neuropsychology, 28 (5), 752-760. (doi:10.1037/neu0000065). (PMID:24819068)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objectives: To assess cognition in populations born and living at high (3700m) and low altitude (500m) in Bolivia, who were similar for both socio-economic status and genetic ancestry. To determine whether high altitude hypoxia influences cognitive decline across the life-span.

Method: In total, 191 healthy participants aged 4 to 85 years were assessed at high (N = 94; 33; 35% male) and low altitude (N = 97; 46, 47% male) on a battery of cognitive tasks: fluid intelligence, attention, short- and long-term memory and psychomotor speed. Saliva samples were obtained for evaluation of genetic ancestry.

Results: High altitude participants were significantly slower on measures of processing speed and speed of attention than individuals born and living at low altitude. High altitude participants had slightly higher percentage of native Andean ancestry than low altitude participants, but this was not associated with cognitive performance.

Conclusions: This is the first study of high altitude residence and neurocognition across the life-span. Given the physiological challenges of high altitude living, the impact on cognition appears to be subtle and related only to the speed of more complex cognitive operations, rather than to their accuracy. Moreover, the impact on cognition does not appear to differ with increasing age or for different degrees of genetic admixture. Further studies recruiting HA participants with a broader range of native Andean ancestry will help to address the issue of to what extent Amerindian ancestry provides neuroprotection to chronic hypoxia in those living at HA.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 12 May 2014
Published date: September 2014
Organisations: Clinical & Experimental Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 394345
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/394345
ISSN: 0894-4105
PURE UUID: c9940bf9-9d93-4c8e-8293-84d89f7bb6ec
ORCID for Catherine M. Hill: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2372-5904

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 18 May 2016 10:11
Last modified: 10 Sep 2019 00:49

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