Grey matter correlates of susceptibility to scams in community-dwelling older adults

Han, S.D., Boyle, P.A., Yu, L., Arfanakis, K., James, B.D., Fleischman, D.A., & Bennett, D.A. (2014).  Grey matter correlates of susceptibility to scam in community-dwelling older adults.  Brain Imaging and Behavior, in press.

Abstract

Susceptibility to scams is a significant issue among older adults, even among those with intact cognition. Age-related changes in brain macrostructure may be associated with susceptibility to scams; however, this has yet to be explored. Based on previous work implicating frontal and temporal lobe functioning as important in decision making, we tested the hypothesis that susceptibility to scams is associated with smaller grey matter volume in frontal and temporal lobe regions in a large community-dwelling cohort of non-demented older adults. Participants (N = 327, mean age = 81.55, mean education = 15.30, 78.9 % female) completed a self-report measure used to assess susceptibility to scams and an MRI brain scan. Results indicated an inverse association between overall grey matter and susceptibility to scams in models adjusted for age, education, and sex; and in models further adjusted for cognitive function. No significant associations were observed for white matter, cerebrospinal fluid, or total brain volume. Models adjusted for age, education, and sex revealed seven clusters showing smaller grey matter in the right parahippocampal/hippocampal/fusiform, left middle temporal, left orbitofrontal, right ventromedial prefrontal, right middle temporal, right precuneus, and right dorsolateral prefrontal regions. In models further adjusted for cognitive function, results revealed three significant clusters showing smaller grey matter in the right parahippocampal/hippocampal/fusiform, right hippocampal, and right middle temporal regions. Lower grey matter concentration in specific brain regions may be associated with susceptibility to scams, even after adjusting for cognitive ability. Future research is needed to determine whether grey matter reductions in these regions may be a biomarker for susceptibility to scams in old age.

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Special Thanks to Judith D. Tamkin

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