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    With longitudinal executive function (EF) data from the Victoria Longitudinal Study, we investigated three research goals pertaining to key characteristics of EF in non-demented aging: (a) examining variability in EF longitudinal trajectories, (b) establishing trajectory classes, and (c) identifying biomarker predictors discriminating these classes. We used a trajectory analyses sample (n = 781; M age = 71.42) for the first and second goals and a prediction analyses sample (n = 570; M age = 70.10) for the third goal. Eight neuropsychological EF measures were used as indicators of three EF dimensions: inhibition, updating, and shifting. Data-driven classification analyses were applied to the full trajectory distribution. Machine learning prediction analyses tested 15 predictors from genetic, functional, lifestyle, mobility, and demographic risk domains. First, we observed: (a) significant variability in EF trajectories over a 40-year band of aging and (b) significantly variable patterns of EF decline. Second, a four-class EF trajectory model was observed, characterized with classes differentiated by an algorithm of level and slope information. Third, the highest group class was discriminated from lowest by several prediction factors: more education, more novel cognitive activity, lower pulse pressure, younger age, faster gait, lower body mass index, and better balance. First, with longitudinal variability in EF aging, the data-driven approach showed that long-term trajectories can be differentiated into separable classes. Second, prediction analyses discriminated class membership by a combination of multiple biomarkers from demographic, lifestyle, functional, and mobility domains of risk for brain and cognitive aging decline.


    H Sebastian Caballero, G Peggy McFall, Sandra A Wiebe, Roger A Dixon. Integrating Three Characteristics of Executive Function in Non-Demented Aging: Trajectories, Classification, and Biomarker Predictors. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society : JINS. 2021 Feb;27(2):158-171

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    PMID: 32772936

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