Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society



Age does not increase rate of forgetting over weeks—Neuroanatomical volumes and visual memory across the adult life-span


ANDERS M.  FJELL  a1 c1 , KRISTINE B.  WALHOVD  a1 , IVAR  REINVANG  a1 a2 , ARVID  LUNDERVOLD  a3 , ANDERS M.  DALE  a4 a5 a6 , BRIAN T.  QUINN  a4 , NIKOS  MAKRIS  a7 and BRUCE  FISCHL  a4
a1 Institute of Psychology, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
a2 Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Rikshospitalet University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
a3 Department of Physiology & Locus on Neuroscience, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
a4 MGH-NMR Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
a5 MR Center, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
a6 Departments of Neurosciences and Radiology, University of California, San Diego
a7 Center for Morphometric Analysis, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Article author query
fjell am   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
walhovd kb   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
reinvang i   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
lundervold a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
dale am   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
quinn bt   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
makris n   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
fischl b   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

The aim of the study was to investigate whether age affects visual memory retention across extended time intervals. In addition, we wanted to study how memory capabilities across different time intervals are related to the volume of different neuroanatomical structures (right hippocampus, right cortex, right white matter). One test of recognition (CVMT) and one test of recall (Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test) were administered, giving measures of immediate recognition/recall, 20–30 min recognition/recall, and recognition/recall at a mean of 75 days. Volumetric measures of right hemisphere hippocampus, cortex, and white matter were obtained through an automated labelling procedure of MRI recordings. Results did not demonstrate a steeper rate of forgetting for older participants when the retention intervals were increased, indicating that older people have spared ability to retain information in the long-term store. Differences in neuroanatomical volumes could explain up to 36% of the variance in memory performance, but were not significantly related to rates of forgetting. Cortical volume and hippocampal volume were in some cases independent as predictors of memory function. Generally, cortical volume was a better predictor of recognition memory than hippocampal volume, while the 2 structures did not differ in their predictive power of recall abilities. While neuroanatomical volumetric differences can explain some of the differences in memory functioning between younger and older persons, the hippocampus does not seem to be unique in this respect. (JINS, 2005, 11, 2–15.)

(Received December 9 2003)
(Revised April 15 2004)
(Accepted June 23 2004)


Key Words: Visual memory; Hippocampus; Cortex; MRI.

Correspondence:
c1 Reprint requests to: Anders M. Fjell, Institute of Psychology, University of Oslo, P. B. 1094 Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norway. E-mail: andersmf@psykologi.uio.no


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