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Cognitive functioning in healthy older adults aged 64-81: a cohort study into the effects of age, sex, and education.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, The Netherlands. s.vanhooren@np.unimaas.nl

Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine a possible differential effect of age, education, and sex on cognitive speed, verbal memory, executive functioning, and verbal fluency in healthy older adults. A group of 578 healthy participants in the age range of 64-81 was recruited from a large population study of healthy adults (Maastricht Aging Study). Even in healthy individuals in this restricted age range, there is a clear, age-related decrease in performance on executive functioning, verbal fluency, verbal memory, and cognitive speed tasks. The capacity to inhibit information is affected most. Education had a substantial effect on cognitive functioning: participants with a middle or high level of education performed better on cognitive tests than did participants with a low level of education. Women performed better than men on verbal memory tasks. Therefore, education and sex must be taken into account when examining an older individual's cognitive performance.

PMID:
17164189
DOI:
10.1080/138255890969483
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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