• Mood and cognition in healthy older European adults: the Zenith study

      Simpson, E.E.A.; Maylor, E.A.; McConville, C.; Stewart-Knox, Barbara; Meunier, N.; Andriollo-Sanchez, M.; Polito, A.; Intorre, F.; McCormack, J.M.; Coudray, C. (2014-05)
      Background: The study aim was to determine if state and trait intra-individual measures of everyday affect predict cognitive functioning in healthy older community dwelling European adults (n = 387), aged 55-87 years. Methods: Participants were recruited from centres in France, Italy and Northern Ireland. Trait level and variability in positive and negative affect (PA and NA) were assessed using self-administered PANAS scales, four times a day for four days. State mood was assessed by one PANAS scale prior to assessment of recognition memory, spatial working memory, reaction time and sustained attention using the CANTAB computerized test battery. Results: A series of hierarchical regression analyses were carried out, one for each measure of cognitive function as the dependent variable, and socio-demographic variables (age, sex and social class), state and trait mood measures as the predictors. State PA and NA were both predictive of spatial working memory prior to looking at the contribution of trait mood. Trait PA and its variability were predictive of sustained attention. In the final step of the regression analyses, trait PA variability predicted greater sustained attention, whereas state NA predicted fewer spatial working memory errors, accounting for a very small percentage of the variance (1-2%) in the respective tests. Conclusion: Moods, by and large, have a small transient effect on cognition in this older sample.
    • Predictors of taste acuity in healthy older Europeans

      Simpson, E.E.A.; Rae, G.; Parr, H.J.; O'Connor, J.M.; Bonham, M.; Polito, A.; Meunier, N.; Andriollo-Sanchez, M.; Intorre, F.; Coudray, C.; et al. (2012)
      This study aimed to identify factors associated with taste acuity in healthy older European adults aged 55-87 years, employing a factorial independent design to recruit older adults from centres in France, Italy and United Kingdom. Adults aged 70-87 years (N=387) were recruited in Rome (Italy) (n=108) and Grenoble (France) (n=91) and aged 55-70 years in Northern Ireland (United Kingdom) (n=93) and Clermont-Ferrand (C-F) (France) (n=95). A signal detection theory (SDT) approach was used for detection threshold assessment of the four basic tastes (salt; sweet; bitter; and, sour). Trial data were converted to R-indices. Diet was assessed by means of four day food diaries. Dietary data were converted using WISP and then reduced, using a principal components analysis, to four components: Component 1 'high fat and salt'; Component 2 'high vitamins and fibre'; Component 3 'high fat and carbohydrate'; and, Component 4 'high trace elements'. Socio-demographic information was collected by self report survey. Four separate regression analyses were carried out, one for each of the four basic taste qualities (sweet; sour; bitter; salt). Mean ROC scores for each taste quality were the response variables and age, sex, country, social class and dietary components were predictor variables. The main predictors of taste acuity were age, sex, social class and country, which had differential effects for each taste quality. These data suggest that socio-demographic and cultural factors should be taken into account when considering taste acuity in older people.