. Childhood cognitive ability and risk of late-onset Alzheimer and vascular dementia. Neurology. 2008 Sep 30;71(14):1051-6. PubMed.

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  1. In this very interesting study, McGurn and colleagues help to take cognitive reserve research to its next step, by trying to identify mechanisms that underlie relationships between measures of reserve and dementia. By linking two separate data sources collected more than 70 years apart, and using careful matching, the authors creatively were able to address the link between childhood cognition and late-onset dementia. Although it may be premature to conclude that causal pathways have been identified (e.g., might concomitant pediatric vascular conditions have an effect on cognition at age 11?), this study certainly helps pinpoint important areas for future study. I couldn’t find any mention of the eventual educational attainment for the AD and vascular dementia groups. It would be interesting to know what the interrelationships are between childhood test performance, AD, and VaD, and eventual educational attainment in this sample.