Investigating the prevalence of cognitive impairment and dementia in the Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing (NICOLA): the Harmonised Cognitive Assessment Protocol (HCAP) cross-sectional substudy

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Abstract

Introduction: The Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing (NICOLA) study is the largest study of ageing in Northern Ireland (NI). The Harmonised Cognitive Assessment Protocol (HCAP) is a substudy of NICOLA designed to assess cognitive impairment and dementia in individuals aged 65 and over. The NICOLA-HCAP substudy is funded by the National Institute on Aging as part of a network for enhancing cross-national research within a worldwide group of population-based, longitudinal studies of ageing, all of which are centred around the US-based Health and Retirement Study.

Methods and analysis: The NICOLA-HCAP study will draw on the main NICOLA cohort (of 8283 participants) and randomly sample 1000 participants aged 65 and over to take part in the substudy. Participants will complete a series of cognitive tests (n=19) via a computer-assisted personal interview administered in their home (or alternatively within the research centre) and will be asked to nominate a family member or friend to complete an additional interview of validated instruments to provide information on respondent’s prior and current cognitive and physical functioning and whether the individual requires help with daily activities. The objectives of the study are: to investigate the prevalence of dementia and cognitive impairment in NICOLA; harmonise scoring of the NICOLA-HCAP data to the HCAP studies conducted in Ireland, the USA and England; to explore the validity of dementia estimates; and investigate the risk factors for dementia and cognitive impairment.

Ethics and dissemination: The study received ethical approval from the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences Research Ethics Committee, Queen’s University Belfast. We will provide data from the Northern Irish HCAP to the research community via data repositories such as the Dementias Platform UK and Gateway to Global Aging to complement existing public data resources and support epidemiological research by others. Findings will also be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and at international conferences.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere075672
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Northern Ireland - epidemiology
  • Dementia - diagnosis - epidemiology - psychology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction - diagnosis - epidemiology
  • dementia
  • Cognition
  • Prevalence
  • Humans
  • Aging - psychology
  • aging
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • public health

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