Older adults in rural South Africa who care for their grandchildren may also be safeguarding their cognitive function

Three researchers (Harvard Pop Center Research Scientist Elyse Jennings, Research Associate Director Meagan Farrell, and former Bell Fellow Lindsay Kobayashi) affiliated with one of the flagship projects at the Harvard Pop Center — Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa (HAALSI) — have published their findings in … Continue reading “Older adults in rural South Africa who care for their grandchildren may also be safeguarding their cognitive function”

Does cognitive function in older population living in South Africa differ based on HIV status?

A team of researchers affiliated with the HAALSI study have published their findings in Nature indicating that cognitive function scores varied depending on whether participants were being assessed using conventional measurement instruments versus one designed for low-literacy settings.

A hopeful discovery about later-life cognitive function in those exposed to early-life adversity in rural South Africa

The HAALSI team of researchers is one of the first to look at the impacts of early-life adversity (such as parental unemployment, discord and substance abuse, and physical abuse) on later-life cognitive function in rural South Africa. Their findings published in Psychology and Aging suggest that cognitive function is, for the most part, resilient against … Continue reading “A hopeful discovery about later-life cognitive function in those exposed to early-life adversity in rural South Africa”

Is social capital valuable in protecting cognitive function in lower-resource settings such as rural South Africa?

While theories about the connection between strong social supports and better cognitive health among an aging population are well established in higher resource settings (high income, high education levels), less is known about whether this same pattern exists in lower resource settings. Researchers affiliated with Health and Aging in Africa: a Longitudinal Study of an … Continue reading “Is social capital valuable in protecting cognitive function in lower-resource settings such as rural South Africa?”

Riding the bus to better cognitive function

Findings from a study authored by Harvard Pop Center Bell Fellow Emilie Courtin, faculty member Mauricio Avendano, and colleagues reveal that making public transportation more accessible to older adults (by way of a free bus pass) did more than just boost ridership; it also increased their cognitive functioning, perhaps by facilitating a more socially and … Continue reading “Riding the bus to better cognitive function”

New HAALSI study findings: Education negates height disparity in cognitive function for older adults living in South Africa

A study published by HAALSI researchers, including recent Harvard Bell Fellow Lindsay Kobayashi, Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman, and faculty members SV Subramanian (Subu), Kathleen Kahn, and Stephen Tollman, finds that while short stature may be a risk factor for cognitive function among older adults living in South Africa, education was found to negate the relationship between … Continue reading “New HAALSI study findings: Education negates height disparity in cognitive function for older adults living in South Africa”

What is driving later-life cognitive function of a rural South African population that lived under Apartheid?

Harvard Bell Fellow Lindsay Kobayashi, PhD, is lead author on a paper published in Social Science & Medicine that is one of the few studies that takes a closer look at the life-course drivers (e.g., self-reported childhood health and father’s occupation) of cognitive aging in South Africa. Other authors include researchers associated with the Harvard … Continue reading “What is driving later-life cognitive function of a rural South African population that lived under Apartheid?”

Economic downturns negatively impact future cognitive functioning of older U.S. workers

A study published in The Journals of Gerontology Series B by recent Harvard Bell Fellow Philipp Hessel, Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman, and faculty member Mauricio Avendano has found exposure to economic downturns among U.S. workers approaching retirement age to be associated with decreased cognitive functioning later in life. Longer periods of exposure to downturns were found to be … Continue reading “Economic downturns negatively impact future cognitive functioning of older U.S. workers”