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Working Memory and Cognitive Flexibility Mediates Visuoconstructional Abilities in Older Adults with Heterogeneous Cognitive Ability

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 June 2015

Rafaela T. Ávila
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Investigation in Clinical Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais
Jonas J. de Paula
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Investigation in Clinical Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais
Maria A. Bicalho
Affiliation:
Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais
Edgar N. Moraes
Affiliation:
Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais
Rodrigo Nicolato
Affiliation:
Department of Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais
Leandro F. Malloy-Diniz
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Investigation in Clinical Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais Department of Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais
Breno S. Diniz*
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Investigation in Clinical Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais Department of Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais
*
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Breno S. Diniz, Av. Alfredo Balena 190 office 235, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil 30130-100. E-mail: brenosatler@gmail.com

Abstract

Previous studies suggest that executive functions influence the performance on visuoconstructional tasks. This study aims to investigate whether the relationship between planning ability and the copy of complex figures is mediated by distinct components of executive functions (i.e., working memory, inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility). We included a 129 older adults with Alzheimer’s disease (n=36, AD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI, n=67), and with no evidence of cognitive impairment (controls, n=26). We evaluated the mediation effect of planning abilities, working memory, cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control on visuoconstructional tasks using a multiple mediation models. We found a significant direct effect of planning on visuoconstructional abilities and a partial mediation effect of working memory and cognitive flexibility on visuoconstructional abilities. The present results indicate that the performance on visuoconstructional task is mediated by multiple interrelated executive functions components, in particular working memory and cognitive flexibility. (JINS, 2015, 21, 392–398)

Type
Research Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2015 

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