Specific and general relationships between cortical thickness and cognition in older adults: a longitudinal study

Mingzhu Hou, Marianne de Chastelaine, Brian E. Donley, Michael Rugg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Prior studies suggest that relationships between regional cortical thickness and domain-specific cognitive performance can be mediated by the relationship between global cortical thickness and domain-general cognition. Whether such findings extend to longitudinal cognitive change remains unclear. Here, we examined the relationships in healthy older adults between cognitive performance, longitudinal cognitive change over three years, and cortical thickness at baseline of the left and right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and left and right hemispheres. Both right IFG and right hemisphere thickness predicted baseline general cognition and domain-specific cognitive performance. Right IFG thickness was also predictive of longitudinal memory change. However, right IFG thickness was uncorrelated with cognitive performance and memory change after controlling for the mean thickness of other ipsilateral cortical regions. Additionally, most identified associations between cortical thickness and specific cognitive domains were non-significant after controlling for the variance shared with other cognitive domains. Thus, relationships between right IFG thickness, cognitive performance and memory change appear to be largely accounted for by more generic relationships between cortical thickness and cognition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-101
Number of pages13
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Early online date11 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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