Maintaining cognitive function with internet use: a two-country, six-year longitudinal study

Maintaining cognitive function with internet use: a two-country, six-year longitudinal study



Maintaining good cognitive function with aging may be aided by technology such as computers, tablets, and their applications. Little research so far has investigated whether internet use helps to maintain cognitive function over time.


Two population-based studies with a longitudinal design from 2001/2003 (T1) to 2007/2010 (T2).


Sweden and the Netherlands.


Older adults aged 66 years and above from the Swedish National Study on Ageing and Care (N = 2,564) and from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (N = 683).


Internet use was self-reported. Using the scores from the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) from T1 and T2, both a difference score and a significant change index was calculated. Linear and logistic regression analysis were performed with difference score and significant change index, respectively, as the dependent variable and internet use as the independent variable, and adjusted for sex, education, age, living situation, and functional limitations. Using a meta-analytic approach, summary coefficients were calculated across both studies.


Internet use at baseline was 26.4% in Sweden and 13.3% in the Netherlands. Significant cognitive decline over six years amounted to 9.2% in Sweden and 17.0% in the Netherlands. Considering the difference score, the summary linear regression coefficient for internet use was −0.32 (95% CI: −0.62, −0.02). Considering the significant change index, the summary odds ratio for internet use was 0.54 (95% CI: 0.37, 0.78).


The results suggest that internet use might play a role in maintaining cognitive functioning. Further research into the specific activities that older adults are doing on the internet may shine light on this issue.

Berner J, Comijs H, Elmståhl S, Welmer A-K, Berglund JS, Anderberg P, et al. Maintaining cognitive function with internet use: a two-country, six-year longitudinal study. Int Psychogeriatr. 2019;31: 929–936. doi:10.1017/S1041610219000668


Background: Bone age assessment (BAA) is an important tool for diagnosis and in determining the time of treatment in a number of pediatric clinical scenarios, as well as in legal settings where it is used to estimate the chronological age of an individual where valid documents are lacking. Traditional methods for BAA suffer from drawbacks, such as exposing juveniles to radiation, intra- and interrater variability, and the time spent on the assessment. The employment of automated methods such as deep learning and the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can address these drawbacks and improve the assessment of age.

Objective: The aim of this paper is to propose an automated approach for age assessment of youth and young adults in the age range when the length growth ceases and growth zones are closed (14-21 years of age) by employing deep learning using MRI of the knee.

Methods: This study carried out MRI examinations of the knee of 402 volunteer subjects—221 males (55.0%) and 181 (45.0%) females—aged 14-21 years. The method comprised two convolutional neural network (CNN) models: the first one selected the most informative images of an MRI sequence, concerning age-assessment purposes; these were then used in the second module, which was responsible for the age estimation. Different CNN architectures were tested, both training from scratch and employing transfer learning.

Results: The CNN architecture that provided the best results was GoogLeNet pretrained on the ImageNet database. The proposed method was able to assess the age of male subjects in the range of 14-20.5 years, with a mean absolute error (MAE) of 0.793 years, and of female subjects in the range of 14-19.5 years, with an MAE of 0.988 years. Regarding the classification of minors—with the threshold of 18 years of age—an accuracy of 98.1% for male subjects and 95.0% for female subjects was achieved.

Conclusions: The proposed method was able to assess the age of youth and young adults from 14 to 20.5 years of age for male subjects and 14 to 19.5 years of age for female subjects in a fully automated manner, without the use of ionizing radiation, addressing the drawbacks of traditional methods.

Dallora AL, Berglund JS, Brogren M, Kvist O, Diaz Ruiz S, Dübbel A, Anderberg P
Age Assessment of Youth and Young Adults Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Knee: A Deep Learning Approach
JMIR Med Inform 2019;7(4):e16291
DOI: 10.2196/16291
PMID: 31804183

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