The link between childhood adversity, social isolation and cognitive impairment in later life


  • Children exposed to deprivation-related, but not threat-related, adverse experiences are more prone to faster cognitive decline later in life but this association is modified by social isolation.

Why this matters

  • Age-related morbidities such as cognitive decline, are a major public health concern. Previous studies have linked adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) with cognitive decline in memory, processing speed, and executive function in later life.

  • Understanding which ACEs may impact later cognition, and if social isolation is a modifiable risk factor, could allow amelioration of cognitive decline and allow clinicians to intervene during childhood or even later in life by promoting social integration.