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Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
Volume 2008 (2008), Article ID 474868, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2008/474868
Review Article

Thyroid Function and Cognition during Aging

1Research Center on Aging, Health and Social Services Centre, Sherbrooke Geriatrics University Institute, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada J1H 4C4
2Endocrinology Service, Department of Medicine, Sherbrooke University, 3001 12th Avenue North, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada J1H 5N4
3Department of Psychology, Sherbrooke University, 2500 University Boulevard, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada J1K 2R1

Received 5 February 2008; Accepted 20 June 2008

Academic Editor: Katsuiku Hirokawa

Copyright © 2008 M. E. Bégin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

We summarize here the studies examining the association between thyroid function and cognitive performance from an aging perspective. The available data suggest that there may be a continuum in which cognitive dysfunction can result from increased or decreased concentrations of thyroid hormones. Clinical and subclinical hypothyroidism as well as hyperthyroidism in middle-aged and elderly adults are both associated with decreased cognitive functioning, especially memory, visuospatial organization, attention, and reaction time. Mild variations of thyroid function, even within normal limits, can have significant consequences for cognitive function in the elderly. Different cognitive deficits possibly related to thyroid failure do not necessarily follow a consistent pattern, and L-thyroxine treatment may not always completely restore normal functioning in patients with hypothyroidism. There is little or no consensus in the literature regarding how thyroid function is associated with cognitive performance in the elderly.