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Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2009;27(3):292-300. doi: 10.1159/000204916. Epub 2009 Feb 26.

Age in high-functioning healthy men is associated with nonlinear decline in some 'executive' functions in late middle age.

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  • 1Brain Behavior Laboratory, Sha'ar Menashe Mental Health Center, Sha'ar Menashe, Israel.



Age-related cognitive decline might involve selective deterioration of specific brain systems. We studied the relationship between age and cognition by comparing cognitive function of older and younger high functioning men.


A cross-sectional study comparing neuropsychological test battery performance of younger (18-60 years) and older (61-85 years) men.


Older men showed impaired psychomotor speed, working memory, attention, declarative verbal memory and executive functions. Impairment in executive function was prominent and not explained by psychomotor slowing, impaired working memory or attention. Regression models showed a non-linear relationship between age and executive function with a change of slopes in the mid-50s. The relationship of age with verbal memory was linear.


The nonlinear change in late middle age is consistent with the hypothesis that an age-related selective diatheses impacts selectively on executive function.

Copyright 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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