Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Ware AL, Kulesz PA, Juranek J, Cirino PT, Fletcher JM. (2017) Cognitive control and associated neural correlates in adults with spina bifida myelomeningocele. Neuropsychology. 2017 May;31(4):411-423. doi: 10.1037/neu0000350. Epub 2017 Feb 16. PMID: 28206781



Accelerated aging can occur in adult survivors of neurodevelopmental disorders, but has been narrowly studied in spina bifida myelomeningocele (SBM). Since discrete aspects of cognitive control and related neural network macrostructure deteriorate in normal aging, the specificity and trajectory of cognition and neuropathology incurred across adulthood in SBM were examined.


Adults (N = 120) with and without SBM completed working memory span and manipulation tasks, and an inhibitory control task. A subset (n = 53) underwent structural MRI. Effects of group, age, and their interaction on performance and select gray matter volumes were examined.


Adults with SBM had significantly poorer working memory accuracy and overall inhibitory control performance than typical peers. Age negatively predicted inhibitory control. Group × Age significantly interacted on span accuracy; advanced age related to diminished performance in typical adults, but not in adults with SBM. SBM related to disproportionately enlarged cortical and putamen and reduced hippocampus volumes. Group × Age significantly interacted on cortical, but not subcortical gray matter volumes. Dorsolateral prefrontal, hippocampus, and putamen volumes negatively correlated with cognitive performance.


Supporting previous literature, current findings elucidated a profile of executive impairment in SBM that was maintained in a parallel maturational trajectory to typical aging. Accelerated aging in cognitive control or subcortical gray matter was not supported in SBM. However, reductions in anterior and posterior cortical regions were exacerbated in older adults with SBM compared with typical peers. Overall results supported persistent anomalous neurodevelopmental maturation across the life span in SBM that related to diminished cognitive control. (PsycINFO Database Record

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