Memory function in normal aging

R. C. Petersen, G. Smith, E. Kokmen, R. J. Ivnik, E. G. Tangalos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Scopus citations


We evaluated memory function in a group of 161 community-dwelling, cognitively normal individuals aged 62 to 100 years recruited as part of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Patient Registry. We used the Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test and the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test to evaluate two aspects of memory function thought to be sensitive to the effects of aging: learning (acquisition) and delayed recall (forgetting). The results were quite consistent and demonstrated that learning or acquisition performance declines uniformly with increasing age but is not related to education. Delayed recall or forgetting, however, remained relatively stable across age when adjusted for the amount of material initially learned. These findings are relevant for assessing normal memory function relative to the early impairments found in dementia and form a baseline against which memory performance can be assessed by the clinician. In particular, suspicion regarding a disorder of brain function affecting memory processes should be raised if learning performance declines more rapidly than expected or if delayed recall is impaired to any significant extent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-401
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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