Literacy Level and Executive Control in Healthy Older Peruvian Adults
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Frontiers Media S.A.
"Introduction: Early-life educational experiences are associated with cognitive performance in aging. Early literacy seems to improve executive control mechanisms, however, it is not clear whether early education would still be an advantage in countries like Peru, where access to and quality of education is highly variable. Aim: Our objective was to analyze the association of literacy level with executive control factors. Method: We evaluated 93 healthy older adults with a clinical protocol that included the Mini-Mental State Examination, the Geriatric Depression Scale and Global Dementia Staging. We also used a neuropsychological executive function battery which included the Trail-Making Test parts A and B, the Stroop Test, phonological and semantic verbal fluency tasks, Forward and Backward Digits, Numbers and Letters of the Wechsler Scale, and the Go/No-Go task. We used a principal component analysis for the dimensional reduction of the variables. To measure the level of literacy we used the word accentuation test (WAT). Results: We observed statistically significant correlations between the principal components (PCs) of working memory, cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control with the WAT scores. Furthermore, we observed that processing speed and WAT predict the scores on PCs factors better than years of education and age. Conclusions: Literacy level correlates more closely with better cognitive performance than years of education and thus, might improve executive control factors that could compensate and protect against brain changes in cognitive decline and dementia."