Prefrontal cortex: Implications for memory functions and dementia

  • Erberk Özen N
  • Rezaki M
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OBJECTIVE: The prefrontal cortex (PFC), which is one of the most complex areas of the human brain, is a frontal lobe segment that is consistently implicated in motor behaviors. In recent years it has been suggested that it is involved in memory functions via its diffuse anatomical networks. In this review, it was aimed to summarize the recent literature about PFC neuroanatomy, and its role in memory, normal aging, and dementias. METHOD: We retrospectively reviewed the literature, including recent relevant studies. In addition, textbooks were included for essential themes. PubMed and the Google search engine were used, and the keywords chosen for searches were: prefrontal cortex, dementia/types, and memory. RESULTS: Although the PFC has considerable cognitive and social functions, only minor cognitive dysfunction is observed when the frontal lobes are severely damaged. It is possible to say that the memory deficits could be masked by rigorous behavioral symptoms. The PFC has a critical role in memory retrieval. There is growing evidence that the PFC is involved not only in frontal lobe-type dementias, but also Alzheimer disease, mild cognitive impairment, and normal aging. The psychiatric and behavioral symptoms in such cases may be related to PFC dysfunction. CONCLUSION: Memory-related disorders are commonly associated with the frontal lobes and PFC. It may be considered that different parts of the PFC are related to different memory types and memory dysfunctions. Further studies with advanced neuroimaging techniques and valid animal models for all types and stages of dementias will help us to understand the role of the PFC in memory, physiology, and pathologies.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Dementia
  • Memory function
  • Prefrontal cortex

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  • ISSN: 13002163
  • PUI: 47521118
  • SGR: 34948830228
  • PMID: 17853981
  • SCOPUS: 2-s2.0-34948830228
  • ISBN: 1300-2163


  • Nurper Erberk Özen

  • Murat Rezaki

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