Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Am Coll Surg. 2010 Sep;211(3):303-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2010.05.022.

Cognitive functioning, retirement status, and age: results from the Cognitive Changes and Retirement among Senior Surgeons study.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Accurate assessment of cognitive functioning is an important step in understanding how to better evaluate both clinical and cognitive competence in practicing surgeons. As part of the Cognitive Changes and Retirement among Senior Surgeons study, we examined the objective cognitive functioning of senior surgeons in relation to retirement status and age.

STUDY DESIGN:

Computerized cognitive tasks measuring visual sustained attention, reaction time, and visual learning and memory were administered to both practicing and retired surgeons at annual meetings of the American College of Surgeons. Data from 168 senior surgeons aged 60 and older were compared with data from 126 younger surgeons aged 45 to 59, with performance below 1.5 standard deviations or more indicating a significant difference between the groups.

RESULTS:

Sixty-one percent of practicing senior surgeons performed within the range of the younger surgeons on all cognitive tasks. Seventy-eight percent of practicing senior surgeons aged 60 to 64 performed within the range of the younger surgeons on all tasks compared with 38% of practicing senior surgeons aged 70 and older. Forty-five percent of retired senior surgeons performed within the range of the younger surgeons on all tasks. No senior surgeon performed below the younger surgeons on all 3 tasks.

CONCLUSIONS:

The majority of practicing senior surgeons performed at or near the level of their younger peers on all cognitive tasks, as did almost half of the retired senior surgeons. This suggests that older age does not inevitably preclude cognitive proficiency. The variability in cognitive performance across age groups and retirement status suggests the need for formal measures of objective cognitive functioning to help surgeons detect changes in cognitive performance and aid in their decisions to retire.

PMID:
20800185
PMCID:
PMC4083243
DOI:
10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2010.05.022
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center