Neurophysiology Research

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Editorial - Neurophysiology Research (2021) Volume 3, Issue 2

Changes in Old Age of Neurocognitive Functions and Everyday Functions Together


Note: This work is partially presented at World Conference On Neurology and Neurosurgery, Paris, France | March 27, 2019.
Although neurocognitive functions are known to decline
normatively with adult age, there is a common belief that everyday
functions are unaffected by these changes. This hypothesis was
examined by applying longitudinal growth models to data from a
community-based sample of 698 adults (ages 65 to 94 years and
living independently at baseline) who were repeatedly measured
over 5 years on neurocognitive tests of executive reasoning,
episodic memory, and perceptual speed, and on a number of tasks
that adults should be reasonably expected to be able to perform
in their day-to-day lives. Individual differences in changes in
neurocognitive performance strongly correlated with individual
differences in changes in performance on the everyday tasks.
Alternatively, changes in self-reports of everyday functions
were only weakly correlated with changes in performance
on the neurocognitive tests and the everyday tasks. There are
at least three types of evidence potentially relevant to testing
the independence versus interdependence of neurocognitive
functions and everyday functions. First, one could examine the
correlations between individual differences in cognition and
everyday functions in older adults. In community-based crosssectional
samples of older adults a number of researchers have
reported that such concurrent relations between performance on
cognitive tests and objective tests of everyday functions range
from approximately r = .30 to r = .70. However, while positive
concurrent correlations could be indicative of a interdependence
between cognition and everyday functions during late adulthood,
they could also be reflective of a interdependence that existed
earlier on in life, but no longer exists. Examination of concurrent
relations between cognitive functions and everyday functions
is therefore only likely to be of limited value for resolving the
question of interdependence. Second, one could examine the
extent to which everyday functions exhibit negative average age
trends similar to those exhibited by neurocognitive functions.
Using cross-sectional data, for example, reported that the
correlation between age and everyday functions was −.23 in
older adults ages 60 to 92 (compared to a correlation of −.26
between age and general cognitive ability in these same adults).
Moreover, using seven-year longitudinal data, Willis reported
that average levels of performance by healthy communitydwelling
individuals on an objective measure of everyday
functioning significantly declined from baseline to follow-up.
However, while the finding that average levels of both cognition
and everyday functions decline similarly with age could reflect a
Author(s): Roche Chatain Virginy

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