Course Title: Session E: Lifetime Trajectories of Cognition, from Birth Cohorts to Aging Studies


Credit Hours: 1.0


Instructor(s) Laura Hokkanen, PhD


Lifetime Trajectories of Cognition – from Birth Cohorts to Aging Studies

Abstract & Learning Objectives

Cognitive performance fluctuates during the life span as a result of aging and neurological damage. Individual responses vary, however, and the concept of cognitive reserve may explain the gap between symptoms and pathology in many brain disorders. Educational attainment is often used as a proxy, but can be affected by developmental learning disorders. This talk invites the question: what is the impact of abnormal cognitive development on cognitive reserve and aging?

Longitudinal research on cognitive markers of brain illness offers one perspective. Studies on factors influencing adult intelligence include epidemiological, prospective population-based and retrospective registry-based approaches. Clinically relevant information on abnormal development comes from birth cohorts with perinatal risks, such as prematurity, low birth weight, and neonatal encephalopathy. Longitudinal studies on developmental conditions, such as ADHD, examine the persistence of cognitive impairment, but have seldom been extended into adulthood. Furthermore, longitudinal aging studies typically begin after midlife, but can combine prospective and retrospective data to assess the impact of variables in early adulthood on the onset of aging disease decades later. This talk will present important insights from our prospective longitudinal birth risk study, now middle-aged, and how their illnesses will be studied into old age.

Laura Hokkanen, PhD

Laura Hokkanen, PhD

Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki
Division of Cognitive and Neuropsychology
Helsinki, Finland

At the end of the talk audience members will be able to:
(1) describe several important longitudinal studies across the life span critical to cognition, and
(2) explain and discuss how varied methodological differences affect the results.

Click here to view 43rd Annual Meeting presenter and program planner disclosures.

Speaker Biography

Laura Hokkanen, PhD, is a Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She currently leads the national specialist training program in clinical neuropsychology and is the chair of the Finnish University Network of Psychology. For over a decade she worked as a licensed neuropsychologist at the Helsinki University Hospital, Department of Neurology. Her research has focused on memory disorders and executive dysfunction caused by acute encephalitis and other neurological conditions, and she has been active in implementing the CERAD neuropsychological battery in the Finnish health care system. More recently she has studied ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders in adulthood.