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Review Documents

The goal of the Cognitive and Emotional Health Project: The Healthy Brain is to assess the state of epidemiologic research on demographic, social and biologic determinants of cognitive and emotional health in aging populations, and the pathways by which cognitive and emotional health may reciprocally influence each other. As a first step, a comprehensive review of measures that have been (or could be) used in epidemiologic research was undertaken. Measures in four domains are reviewed: (1) cognitive health, (2) emotional health, (3) demographic/social factors, and (4) biomedical/physiologic factors. An Executive Summary is also available to provide an overview of these documents.

Executive Summary

Cognitive Health
This section reviews available measures of five major areas of cognitive ability, ranked by their sensitivity to variation at the high end of the cognitive spectrum: (a) learning & memory, (b) executive function abilities (e.g. concept formation and abstract thought), (c) language, (d) visuospatial abilities, and (e) sustained attention (the ability to focus and perform a simple task).

Emotional Health
This section reviews available measures of various emotional constructs and highlights data showing that some of these constructs are predictive of cognitive health.

Demographic and Social Factors
This section reviews available demographic and social measures and provides detailed discussion of epidemiologic findings on the link between some of these measures and mortality, physical and cognitive health.

Biomedical and Physiologic Factors
This section lists existing biomedical and physiologic measures that have been used as predictors of cognitive or emotional health in large-scale epidemiologic studies. It then provides annotated references for studies that have used and/or discussed these measures.