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White Matter and Cognitive Decline in Aging: A Focus on Processing Speed and Variability

Lookup NU author(s): Jonna Nilsson, Professor Alan ThomasORCiD, Professor John O'Brien, Dr Peter GallagherORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


White matter (WM) change plays an important role in age-related cognitive decline. In this review, we consider methodological advances with particular relevance to the role of WM in age-related changes in processing speed. In this context, intra-individual variability in processing speed performance has emerged as a sensitive proxy of cognitive and neurological decline while neuroimaging techniques used to assess WM change have become increasingly more sensitive. Together with a carefully designed task protocol, we emphasize that the combined implementation of intra-individual variability and neuroimaging techniques hold promise for specifying the WM-processing speed relationship with implications for normative and clinical samples.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Nilsson J, Thomas AJ, O'Brien JT, Gallagher P

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Year: 2014

Volume: 20

Issue: 3

Pages: 262-267

Print publication date: 01/03/2014

Online publication date: 17/02/2014

Acceptance date: 13/12/2013

ISSN (print): 1355-6177

ISSN (electronic): 1469-7661



DOI: 10.1017/S1355617713001458