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J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2011 Winter;23(1):6-15. doi: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.23.1.6.

A review of the brain structure correlates of successful cognitive aging.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA 92161, USA. akaup@ucsd.edu


Unimpaired cognition is an important feature of successful aging. Differences in cognitive performance among healthy older adults may be related to differences in brain structure. The authors reviewed the literature to examine the relationship between brain-structure size and cognitive performance in older adults. Eighty-three percent of studies found at least one positive relationship between these factors; however, findings were variable. Positive relationships emerged most consistently between the hippocampal formation and global cognition and memory and between frontal measures and executive function. Additional longitudinal study is needed to further evaluate structure-cognition relationships in older adulthood and across the adult lifespan.

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