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Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 2012 Nov;19(6):759-68. doi: 10.1080/13825585.2012.690366. Epub 2012 Jun 6.

Sex differences in cognition in healthy elderly individuals.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA. cmunro@jhmi.edu

Abstract

Sex differences in patterns of cognitive test performance have been attributed to factors, such as sex hormones or sexual dimorphisms in brain structure, that change with normal aging. The current study examined sex differences in patterns of cognitive test performance in healthy elderly individuals. Cognitive test scores of 957 men and women (age 67-89), matched for overall level of cognitive test performance, age, education, and depression scale score, were compared. Men and women were indistinguishable on tests of auditory divided attention, category fluency, and executive functioning. In contrast, women performed better than men on tests of psychomotor speed and verbal learning and memory, whereas men outperformed women on tests of visuoconstruction and visual perception. Our finding that the pattern of sex differences in cognition observed in young adults is observed in old age has implications for future studies of both healthy elderly individuals and of those with cognitive disorders.

PMID:
22670852
PMCID:
PMC3518851
DOI:
10.1080/13825585.2012.690366
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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