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Research Letter
April 4, 2017

Rates of Cortical Atrophy in Adults 80 Years and Older With Superior vs Average Episodic Memory

Author Affiliations
  • 1Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA. 2017;317(13):1373-1375. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.0627

“SuperAgers” have previously been defined as adults 80 years and older with episodic memory ability at least as good as that of average middle-age adults.1 They have a significantly thicker brain cortex than their same-age peers with average-for-age memory,2 which is unusual as age-related cortical atrophy is considered “normal” and often associated with cognitive decline in nondemented older adults.3 SuperAgers may experience similar atrophy rates as their cognitively average peers but start with larger brain volumes, or they may resist age-related cortical atrophy. To examine the latter possibility, we quantitated rates of cortical volume change over 18 months in SuperAgers and cognitively average elderly adults.