Education and cognitive function among older adults in Brazil and Mexico

Natalia Gomes Gonçalves, Jaqueline Contrera Avila, Laiss Bertola, Alejandra Michaels Obregón, Cleusa Pinheiro Ferri, Rebeca Wong, Claudia Kimie Suemoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Education is protective against cognitive impairment. We used nationally representative data from Mexico and Brazil to assess the association between education and cognitive function. The sample included adults ≥ 50 years from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSI) and the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS). Participants were classified as cognitively impaired or not impaired. We used logistic regression models to estimate the association between education and cognitive function. Education level was higher in MHAS than in ELSI. Participants with at least 1 year of education were less likely to have cognitive impairment than those with no formal education in both cohorts. Men in ELSI had higher odds for cognitive impairment compared to men in MHAS. In both cohorts, higher educational level was associated with lower odds of cognitive impairment compared to no formal education. Sex was an effect modifier in MHAS but not in ELSI. HIGHLIGHTS: Cognitive test batteries were harmonized using a regression-based approach. Even very low levels of education were associated with reduced odds of cognitive impairment compared to no formal education. Brazilians were more likely to have cognitive impairment than Mexicans given the same education level. The differences in the association of education with cognition between Brazil and Mexico were only observed among men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12470
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023

Keywords

  • ELSI
  • MHAS
  • cognition
  • harmonization
  • sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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