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Differential associations between types of verbal memory and prefrontal brain structure in healthy aging and late life depression

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journal contribution
posted on 02.10.2012, 00:00 by Melissa Lamar, Rebecca Charlton, Aifeng Zhang, Anand Kumar
Verbal memory deficits attributed to late life depression (LLD) may result from executive dysfunction that is more detrimental to list-learning than story-based recall when compared to healthy aging. Despite these behavioral dissociations, little work has been done investigating related neuroanatomical dissociations across types of verbal memory performance in LLD. We compared list-learning to story-based memory performance in 24 non-demented individuals with LLD (age~66.1+7.8) and 41 non-demented/nondepressed healthy controls (Hage~67.6+5.3). We correlated significant results of between-group analyses across memory performance variables with brain volumes of frontal, temporal and parietal regions known to be involved with verbal learning and memory. When compared to the HC group, the LLD group showed significantly lower verbal memory performance for spontaneous recall after repeated exposure and after a long-delay but only for the list-learning task; groups did not differ on story-based memory performance. Despite equivalent brain volumes across regions, only the LLD group showed brain associations with verbal memory performance and only for the list-learning task. Specifically, frontal volumes important for subjective organization and response monitoring correlated with list-learning performance in the LLD group. This study is the first to demonstrate neuroanatomical dissociations across types of verbal memory performance in individuals with LLD. Results provide structural evidence for the behavioral dissociations between list-learning and story-based recall in LLD when compared to healthy aging. More specifically, it points toward a network of predominantly anterior brain regions that may underlie the executive contribution to list-learning in older adults with depression.


Publisher Statement

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Neuropsychologia. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Neuropsychologia, 2012 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.04.007







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