The Lifetime of Experiences Questionnaire (LEQ) is a promising tool for assessing and measuring cognitive reserve in older adults across countries

New research published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience by Silver Santé Study experts, reveals the Lifetime of Experiences Questionnaire (LEQ) proves to be an effective tool across multiple countries.

The Lifetime of Experiences Questionnaire (LEQ) – created and trialled in Australia,2007 – assesses the exposure of complex mental activity throughout life by indirectly capturing cognitive reserve. Cognitive reserve is a brain mechanism that promotes better cognitive functioning and reduces the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. It is determined by environmental and genetic factors, nurtured throughout life by exposure to mentally stimulating activities.

The LEQ was initially created by an Australian researcher and, as such, was specifically adapted to the Australian culture only 1. This new study aimed to adapt and harmonise the existing LEQ to other countries and their cultures and to assess the validity of the adapted LEQ by exploring its association with brain and cognition. Silver Santé Study researchers also began to investigate between-country differences in life-course mental activities 2. The study tested the cross-cultural adaptation of the questionnaire on 359 cognitively unimpaired older adults.

Researchers translated and harmonized the LEQ in French, English, Spanish and German. The adapted LEQ was then validated by showing associations with a similar questionnaire and showed a stable internal structure across countries. Lastly, researchers demonstrated that the adapted LEQ was positively associated with global cognition.

The main authors, Eider Arenaza-Urquijo and Valentin Ourry, who led the research said: “Our study demonstrates that the LEQ is a promising tool for assessing the multidimensional construct of cognitive reserve. It can also be used to measure socio-behavioural determinants of cognitive reserve in older adults across countries, but longitudinal studies are needed to further test its clinical effectiveness.”

The full details of the study can be viewed here .

1.            Valenzuela MJ, Sachdev P. Assessment of complex mental activity across the lifespan: development of the Lifetime of Experiences Questionnaire (LEQ). Psychol Med. 2007;37(7):1015-1025. doi:10.1017/S003329170600938X

2.            Ourry V, Marchant NL, Schild AK, et al. Harmonisation and Between-Country Differences of the Lifetime of Experiences Questionnaire in Older Adults. Front Aging Neurosci. 2021;13:740005. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2021.740005

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