Selective increase of cortical thickness in high-performing elderly - Structural indices of optimal cognitive aging

University of Oslo, Department of Psychology, Norway.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 03/2006; 29(3):984-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.08.007
Source: PubMed


The aim of this study was to identify cortical areas important for optimal cognitive aging. 74 participants (20-88 years) went through neuropsychological tests and two MR sessions. The sample was split into two age groups. In each, every participant was classified as "high" or "average" on fluid ability tests and on neuropsychological tests related to executive function. The groups were compared with regard to thickness on a point-by-point basis across the entire cortical mantle. The old high fluid performers had thicker cortex than the average performers in large areas of cortex, while there was minimal difference between the groups of high vs. average executive function. Furthermore, the old group with high fluid function had thicker cortex than the young participants in the posterior cingulate and adjacent areas. Further analyses showed that the latter was a result of a complex aging pattern, differing between the two performance groups, with decades of cortical thickening and subsequent thinning.

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    • "In other domains such as memory recall (Walhovd et al. 2006), intelligence (Narr et al. 2007; Choi et al. 2008), or cognitive performance in the elderly (Fjell et al. 2006), neocortical thickness has been shown to predict individual differences in cognition. "
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