The British Journal of Psychiatry
Anxiety symptoms, cerebral amyloid burden and memory decline in healthy older adults without dementia: 3-year prospective cohort study
Robert H. Pietrzak, J. Cobb Scott, Alexander Neumeister, Yen Ying Lim, David Ames, Kathryn A. Ellis, Karra Harrington, Nicola T. Lautenschlager, Cassandra Szoeke, Ralph N. Martins, Colin L. Masters, Victor L. Villemagne, Christopher C. Rowe, Paul Maruff, Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL) Research Group
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Abstract

Although beta-amyloid, anxiety and depression have linked cross-sectionally to reduced memory function in healthy older adults without dementia, prospective data evaluating these associations are lacking. Using data an observational cohort study of 178 healthy older adults without dementia followed for 3 years, we found that anxiety symptoms significantly moderated the relationship between beta-amyloid level and decline in verbal (Cohen’s d = 0.65) and episodic (Cohen’s d = 0.38) memory. Anxiety symptoms were additionally linked to greater decline in executive function, irrespective of beta-amyloid and other risk factors. These findings suggest that interventions to mitigate anxiety symptoms may help delay memory decline in otherwise healthy older adults with elevated beta-amyloid.

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