Healthy older adults were less efficient at tasks overall, often
having to search multiple locations for items, correct mistakes
or repeat a step. But the study participants with cognitive
impairment omitted key steps from the same tasks or did
alternate actions, dusting the kitchen instead of the living room,
Four additional studies in the issue discuss neurobehavioral
aspects of Parkinson’s disease, which is the second most
common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s. The
condition causes a loss of neurons in the mid-brain that also
occurs — though at much slower pace — in normal aging, and
so these studies might provide a model for understanding aging
as well as new information about the disease itself, Brown says.
Also in the issue is a quantitative review from the University
of Victoria, which looked at the effect physical activity and
cognitive training have on executive function, which generally
declines even in healthy seniors. Both interventions led to
improvements in cognitive function in healthy people — an
optimistic finding in what can be a melancholy field of study.
“This kind of paper is challenging the old idea that aging
produces immutable changes,” Brown says. “We can reduce the
rate of decline with focused interventions. That’s a scenario
we’re just beginning to study.” n
To see the full list of content for the Neuropsychology special
issue, go to www.apa.org/pubs/journals/special/2182806.aspx.
74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84
Yam, A., Gross, A. L., Prindle, J. J. & Marsiske, M. (2014). Longitudinal trajectories of basic and
everyday cognitive abilities in 74-year-old adults. Neuropsychology, 28( 6).
A decline over time
Study participants lost ground in cognitive abilities over a decade.