Behavior Model for Assessing Decline in Executive Function During Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases
Executive dysfunction is a characteristic of several psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. Interestingly, executive function, which is mediated by the prefrontal cortex (PFC), commonly declines during aging. The attentional set-shifting task (AST) is commonly and extensively used to assess executive function in rodents, primates, and humans. When properly employed, this task can behaviorally assess attention, response inhibition, and cognitive flexibility. The following section uses research on age-related decline in executive function to demonstrate the methods employed and highlight areas that can confound a study if not employed properly.
Key wordsExecutive function Attention Cognitive flexibility Prefrontal cortex Attentional set-shifting task Aging Neurodegenerative diseases
Supported by National Institute of Aging grants R37AG036800, R01049711, R01052258, and R01037984 and the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Research Foundation.
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