Journal Mobile Options
Table of Contents
Vol. 25, No. 1, 2005
Issue release date: June 2005
Neuroepidemiology 2005;25:8–14

Early Life Socioeconomic Status and Late Life Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Wilson R.S. · Scherr P.A. · Hoganson G. · Bienias J.L. · Evans D.A. · Bennett D.A.
aRush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, bRush Institute for Healthy Aging, Departments of cNeurological Sciences, dPsychology and eInternal Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Ill., and fthe National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga., USA

Individual Users: Register with Karger Login Information

Please create your User ID & Password

Contact Information

I have read the Karger Terms and Conditions and agree.

To view the fulltext, please log in

To view the pdf, please log in


The authors examined the relation of early life socioeconomic status to incident Alzheimer’s disease (AD), level of cognition and rate of cognitive decline in old age. For up to 10 years, 859 older Catholic clergy members without dementia at baseline completed annual clinical evaluations as part of the Religious Orders Study. The evaluations included clinical classification of AD and detailed cognitive testing. At baseline, indicators of early life household socioeconomic level (e.g., parental education) and the county of birth were ascertained. Socioeconomic features of the birth county (e.g., literacy rate) were estimated with data from the 1920 US Census. Composite measures of early life household and community socioeconomic level were developed. In analyses that controlled for age, sex and education, higher household and community socioeconomic levels in early life were associated with higher level of cognition in late life but not with risk of AD or rate of cognitive decline. The results suggest that early life socioeconomic level is related to level of cognition in late life but not to rate of cognitive decline or risk of AD.

Copyright / Drug Dosage

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.


  1. Stern Y, Gurland B, Tatemichi TK, et al: Influence of education and occupation on the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. JAMA 1994;271:1004–1010.
  2. Evans DA, Hebert LE, Beckett LA, et al: Education and other measures of socioeconomic status and risk of incident Alzheimer’s disease in a defined population of older persons. Arch Neurol 1997;54:1399–1405.
  3. Letennuer L, Gilleron V, Commenges D, et al: Are sex and educational level independent predictors of dementia and Alzheimers disease? Incidence data from the PAQUID project. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1999;66:177–183.
  4. Wilson RS, Bennett DA, Bienias JL, et al: Cognitive activity and incident AD in a population-based sample of older persons. Neurology 2002;59:1910–1914.
  5. Lindsay J, Laurin D, Verreault R, et al: Risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease: A prospective analysis from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging. Am J Epidemiol 2002;156:445–453.
  6. Qui C, Backman L, Winblad B, et al: The influence of education on clinically diagnosed dementia incidence and mortality data from the Kungsholmen Project. Arch Neurol 2001;58:2034–2039.
  7. Hall KS, Gao S, Unverzagt FW, et al: Low education and childhood rural residence: Risk for Alzheimer’s disease in African Americans. Neurology 2000;54:95–99.
  8. Moceri VM, Kukull WA, Emanual I, et al: Early-life risk factors and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurology 2000;54:415–420.
  9. McKhann G, Drachman D, Folstein M, et al: Clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: Report of the NINCDS-ADRDA Work Group under the auspices of Department of Health and Human Services Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease. Neurology 1984;34:939–944.
  10. Bennett DA, Wilson RS, Schneider JA, et al: Natural history of mild cognitive impairment in older persons. Neurology 2002;59:198–205.
  11. Wilson RS, Mendes de Leon CF, Barnes LL, et al: Participation in cognitively stimulating activities and risk of incident Alzheimer’s disease. JAMA 2002;287:742–748.
  12. Featherman DL, Hauser RM: The measurement of occupation in social surveys; in Hauser RM, Featherman DL (eds): The process of stratification. Orlando, Academic Press, 1977, pp 51–80.
  13. Ruggles S, Sobek M, et al: Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, version 3.0. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, 2003. URL:
  14. Folstein MF, Folstein SE, McHugh PR: Mini-Mental State: A practical method for grading the mental state of patients for the clinician. J Psychiatr Res 1975;12:189–198.
  15. Welsh KA, Butters N, Mohs RC, et al: The Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer’s Disease (CERAD). V. A normative study of the neuropsychological battery. Neurology 1994;44:609–614.
  16. Albert MS, Smith LA, Scherr PA, et al: Use of brief cognitive tests to identify individuals in the community with clinically diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease. Int J Neurosci 1991;57:167–178.
  17. Wilson RS, Beckett LA, Barnes LL, et al: Individual differences in rates of change in cognitive abilities of older persons. Psychol Aging 2002;17:179–193.
  18. Wechsler D: Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised manual. San Antonio, Psychological Corp., 1987.
  19. Kaplan EF, Goodglass H, Weintraub S: The Boston Naming Test, ed 2. Philadelphia, Lea & Febiger, 1983.
  20. Ekstrom RB, French JW, Harmen HH, et al: Manual for factor-referenced cognitive tests. Princeton, Educational Testing Service, 1976.
  21. Nelson HE: National Adult Reading Test (NART): Test Manual. Windsor, NFER-Nelson, 1982.
  22. Cooper JA, Sager HJ, Jordan N, et al: Cognitive impairment in early, untreated Parkinson’s disease and its relationship to motor disability. Brain 1991;114:2095–2122.
  23. Craik JIM: A functional account of age differences in memory; in Klix E, Hagendorf H (eds): Human Memory and Cognitive Capabilities: Mechanisms and Performances. Amsterdam, Elsevier, 1986, pp 409–422.
  24. Smith A: Symbol Digit Modalities Test Manual, revised. Los Angeles, Western Psychological Services, 1982.
  25. Benton AL, Sivan AB, Hamsher K, et al: Contributions to Neuropsychological Assessment, ed 2. New York, Oxford University Press, 1994.
  26. Raven JC, Court JH, Raven J: Manual for Raven’s Progressive Matrices and Vocabulary Scales. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1992.
  27. Wilson RS, Evans DA, Bienias JL, et al: Proneness to psychological distress is associated with risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurology 2003;61:1479–1485.
  28. Cox DR: Regression models and life tables (with discussion). J Soc Stat Soc B 1972;74:187–220.
  29. Laird N, Ware J: Random-effects models for longitudinal data. Biometrics 1982;36:963–973.
  30. Wilson RS, Gilley DW, Bennett DA, et al: Person-specific paths of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease and their relation to age. Psychol Aging 2000;15:18–28.
  31. SAS Institute Inc.: SAS/STAT® User’s Guide, version 8. Cary, SAS Institute Inc., 2000.
  32. Gottfried AW: Home Environment and Early Cognitive Development. Orlando, Academic Press, 1984.
  33. Bradley RH, Caldwell BM: The relation of infant’s home environment to achievement test performance in first grade: A follow-up study. Child Dev 1984;55:803–809.
  34. Kaplan GA, Turrell G, Lynch JW, et al: Childhood socioeconomic position and cognitive function in adulthood. Int J Epidemiol 2001;30:256–263.
  35. Everson-Rose SA, Mendes de Leon CF, Bienias JL, et al: Early life conditions and cognitive functioning in later life. Am J Epidemiol 2003;158:1083–1089.
  36. Hart B, Risley TR: Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children. Baltimore, Brookes, 1995.
  37. Hoff E: The specificity of environmental influence: Socioeconomic status affects early vocabulary development via maternal speech. Child Dev 2003;74:1368–1378.
  38. Newson J, Newson E: Perspectives on School at Seven Years Old. London, Allen & Unwin, 1977.
  39. Dodge KA, Pettit G, Bates J: Socialization mediators of the relation between socioeconomic status and child conduct problems. Child Dev 1994;65:649–665.
  40. Evans GW: The environment of childhood poverty. Am Psychol 2004;59:77–92.
  41. Diez Roux AV, Merkin SS, Arnett D, et al: Neighborhood of residence and incidence of coronary heart disease. N Engl J Med 2001;345:99–106.

Pay-per-View Options
Direct payment This item at the regular price: USD 38.00
Payment from account With a Karger Pay-per-View account (down payment USD 150) you profit from a special rate for this and other single items.
This item at the discounted price: USD 26.50