The association between different cognitive domains and age in a multi-centre study of middle-aged and older European men

David M. Lee, Abdelouahid Tajar, Aslan Ulubaev, Neil Pendleton, Terence W. O'Neill, Daryl B. O'Connor, Gyorgy Bartfai, Steven Boonen, Felipe F. Casanueva, Joseph D. Finn, Gianni Forti, Aleksander Giwercman, Thang S. Han, Ilpo T. Huhtaniemi, Krzysztof Kula, Michael E.J. Lean, Margus Punab, Alan J. Silman, Dirk Vanderschueren, Frederick C.W. WuLuisa Petrone, Antonio Cilotti, Herman Borghs, Jolanta Slowikowska-Hilczer, Renata Walczak-Jedrzejowska, Ilpo Huhtaniemi, Frederick Wu, Alan Silman, Terence O'Neill, Joseph Finn, Philip Steer, David Lee, Stephen Pye, Felipe Casanueva, Mary Lage, Imre Földesi, Imre Fejes, Paul Korrovitz, Min Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: We determined levels of cognitive functioning in community dwelling men aged 40-79 (n=3265) from eight European centres and investigated to what extent cognitive performance varied between centres, the association between different cognitive domains and age, educational level, co-morbidity and lifestyle factors and the respective contributions of centre and individual factors to cognitive performance. Methods: Cognitive domains assessed were visuo-constructional ability and visual memory (Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure test, ROCF), topographical memory (Camden Topographical Recognition Memory test, CTRM) and processing speed (Digit-Symbol Substitution test, DSST). Results: There were significant between-centre differences in all four cognitive test scores. Using multilevel linear regression analysis (MLRA), age, education, depression, physical performance and smoking were independent predictors of cognitive function and these variables explained 10-13% of the variation in cognitive scores between centres and 17-36% of the variation in scores between individuals within centres. Conclusion: Our data suggest that although a proportion of the variance in cognitive function among European men is explained by individual level differences, a significant proportion is due to contextual phenomenon. Such contextual factors need to be considered when analysing multi-centre data and European men should not be treated as homogeneous when assessing cognitive performance using existing instruments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1257-1266
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2009



  • Ageing
  • Cognitive function
  • Epidemiology
  • Male health
  • Multilevel analysis
  • Population survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Lee, D. M., Tajar, A., Ulubaev, A., Pendleton, N., O'Neill, T. W., O'Connor, D. B., Bartfai, G., Boonen, S., Casanueva, F. F., Finn, J. D., Forti, G., Giwercman, A., Han, T. S., Huhtaniemi, I. T., Kula, K., Lean, M. E. J., Punab, M., Silman, A. J., Vanderschueren, D., ... Jiang, M. (2009). The association between different cognitive domains and age in a multi-centre study of middle-aged and older European men. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 24(11), 1257-1266.