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Age and Regional Cerebral Blood Flow at Rest and During Cognitive Activity

Ruben C. Gur, PhD; Raquel E. Gur, MD, PhD; Walter D. Obrist, PhD; Brett E. Skolnick, PhD; Martin Reivich, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987;44(7):617-621. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800190037006.
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• The relationship between age and regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) activation for cognitive tasks was investigated with the xenon Xe 133 inhalation technique. The sample consisted of 55 healthy subjects, ranging in age from 18 to 72 years, who were studied during rest and during the performance of verbal analogy and spatial orientation tasks. The dependent measures were indexes of gray-matter rCBF and average rCBF (gray and white matter) as well as the percentage of gray-matter tissue. Advanced age was associated with reduced flow, particularly pronounced in anterior regions. However, the extent and pattern of rCBF changes during cognition was unaffected by age. For the percentage of gray matter, there was a specific reduction in anterior regions of the left hemisphere. The findings suggest the utility of this research paradigm for investigating neural underpinnings of the effects of dementia on cognitive functioning, relative to the effects of normal aging.

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