The effect of age on cognitive performance of frontal patients

Cipolotti, Lisa, Healy, Colm, Chan, Edgar, MacPherson, Sarah E., White, Mark, Woollett, Katherine, Turner, Martha, Robinson, Gail, Spano, Barbara, Bozzali, Marco and Shallice, Tim (2015) The effect of age on cognitive performance of frontal patients. Neuropsychologia, 75 233-241. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.06.011

Author Cipolotti, Lisa
Healy, Colm
Chan, Edgar
MacPherson, Sarah E.
White, Mark
Woollett, Katherine
Turner, Martha
Robinson, Gail
Spano, Barbara
Bozzali, Marco
Shallice, Tim
Title The effect of age on cognitive performance of frontal patients
Journal name Neuropsychologia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1873-3514
Publication date 2015-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.06.011
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 75
Start page 233
End page 241
Total pages 9
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon Press [Elsevier]
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Age is known to affect prefrontal brain structure and executive functioning in healthy older adults, patients with neurodegenerative conditions and TBI. Yet, no studies appear to have systematically investigated the effect of age on cognitive performance in patients with focal lesions. We investigated the effect of age on the cognitive performance of a large sample of tumour and stroke patients with focal unilateral, frontal (n=68), or non-frontal lesions (n=45) and healthy controls (n=52). We retrospectively reviewed their cross sectional cognitive and imaging data. In our frontal patients, age significantly predicted the magnitude of their impairment on two executive tests (Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices, RAPM and the Stroop test) but not on nominal (Graded Naming Test, GNT) or perceptual (Incomplete Letters) task. In our non-frontal patients, age did not predict the magnitude of their impairment on the RAPM and GNT. Furthermore, the exacerbated executive impairment observed in our frontal patients manifested itself from middle age. We found that only age consistently predicted the exacerbated executive impairment. Lesions to specific frontal areas, or an increase in global brain atrophy or white matter abnormalities were not associated with this impairment. Our results are in line with the notion that the frontal cortex plays a critical role in aging to counteract cognitive and neuronal decline. We suggest that the combined effect of aging and frontal lesions impairs the frontal cortical systems by causing its computational power to fall below the threshold needed to complete executive tasks successfully.
Keyword Aging
Cognitive performance
Frontal lesions non-frontal lesions
Executive functions
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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