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Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
Volume 2010, Article ID 510614, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/510614
Research Article

What the CERAD Battery Can Tell Us about Executive Function as a Higher-Order Cognitive Faculty

1Departments of Neurology Biostatistics, Bioinformatics & Biomathematics, and Psychiatry, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC 20057, USA
2Collaborative for Research on Outcomes and Metrics, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20057, USA
3Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center and Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
4Department of Neurology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
5Department of Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
6Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA

Received 3 December 2009; Accepted 8 March 2010

Academic Editor: M. Smith

Copyright © 2010 Rochelle E. Tractenberg 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

Executive function (EF) is believed to control or influence the integration and application of cognitive functions such as attention and memory and is an important area of research in cognitive aging. Recent studies and reviews have concluded that there is no single test for EF. Results from first-order latent variable modeling have suggested that little, if any, variability in cognitive performance can be directly (and uniquely) attributed to EF; so instead, we modeled EF, as it is conceptualized, as a higher-order function, using elements of the CERAD neuropsychological battery. Responses to subtests from two large, independent cohorts of nondemented elderly persons were modeled with three theoretically plausible structural models using confirmatory factor analysis. Robust fit statistics, generated for the two cohorts separately, were consistent and support the conceptualization of EF as a higher-order cognitive faculty. Although not specifically designed to assess EF, subtests of the CERAD battery provide theoretically and empirically robust evidence about the nature of EF in elderly adults.