Clinical Neuroscience

[Changes of cognitive functions in healthy aging]

JUHÁSZ Dóra, NÉMETH Dezsõ

MARCH 30, 2018

Clinical Neuroscience - 2018;71(03-04)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.18071/isz.71.0105

[Introduction - Mental health has crucial role in our life. Cognitive changes or decline can lead to many difficulties in daily routine of older people (e.g. organization of daily activities), which can, consequently, influence their well-being. Therefore it is an important question, which cognitive abilities are affected by age-related decline. Methods - In our study we aimed to investigate the changes of cognitive abilities in healthy older adults between 61 and 85 years of age compared to the performance of younger adults. Digit span, counting span, listening span, letter fluency, semantic fluency and action fluency tests were used to assess cognitive abilities, namely working memory and executive functions. Results - The results showed that younger adults performed significantly better in all tests than older adults. Importantly, the performance of older adults was better on tests requiring less complex mental computations (e.g. digit span test) than on more complex tests where both storing and mani-pulating information was required (e.g., counting span test). We also showed that within the older age group, cognitive functions’ decline was linearly associated with increasing age. Conclusion - The present study used several, well-established neuropsychological tests to map the changes of working memory and executive functions in healthy older adults between 61 and 85 years of age compared to younger adults. Our findings can contribute to the development of prevention programs aimed at improving the quality of life of older adults and preventing age-related cognitive decline.]

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