Executive function mediates effects of white matter hyperintensities on episodic memory

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27 Scopus citations


This study examined the relationship between white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and executive functioning on episodic memory in a group of older adults who were cognitively normal or diagnosed with MCI or dementia. Volumetric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures of total brain volume, white matter hyperintensity volume, and hippocampal volume along with age, education, and gender were evaluated as predictors of episodic memory. WMH were found to influence both episodic memory and executive functioning independently of other variables. The influence WMH on episodic memory was mediated by executive functioning and was completely eliminated when the interaction between executive functioning and hippocampal volume was entered in the regression model. The results indicate that executive functioning mediates the effects of WMH on episodic memory but that executive functioning and hippocampal volume can also interact such that executive functioning can exacerbate or ameliorate the influence of hippocampal volume on episodic memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2817-2824
Number of pages8
Issue number10
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Aging
  • Episodic memory
  • Executive function
  • Hippocampal volume
  • White matter hyperintensities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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