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UK Biobank includes 502,649 middle- and older-aged adults from the general population who have undergone detailed phenotypic assessment. The majority of participants completed tests of cognitive functioning, and on average four years later a sub-group of N = 20,346 participants repeated most of the assessment. These measures will be used in a range of future studies of health outcomes in this cohort. The format and content of the cognitive tasks were partly novel. The aim of the present study was to validate and characterize the cognitive data: to describe the inter-correlational structure of the cognitive variables at baseline assessment, and the degree of stability in scores across longitudinal assessment. Baseline cognitive data were used to examine the inter-correlational/factor-structure, using principal components analysis (PCA). We also assessed the degree of stability in cognitive scores in the subsample of participants with repeat data. The different tests of cognitive ability showed significant raw inter-correlations in the expected directions. PCA suggested a one-factor solution (eigenvalue = 1.60), which accounted for around 40% of the variance. Scores showed varying levels of stability across time-points (intraclass correlation range = 0.16 to 0.65). UK Biobank cognitive data as the potential to be a significant resource for researchers looking to investigate predictors and modifiers of cognitive abilities and associated health outcomes in the general population.
Lyall DM, Cullen B, Allerhand M, Smith DJ, Mackay D, Evans J, et al. (2016) Cognitive Test Scores in UK Biobank: Data Reduction in 480,416 Participants and Longitudinal Stability in 20,346 Participants. PLoS ONE 11(4): e0154222.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0154222