Although a large body of literature has focused on the medial temporal lobe and the well-described age-related deficits in explicit or declarative memory that are dependent on this system, it is notable that other brain systems are also affected at advanced ages and contribute to losses in cognitive function. Frontal cortical and/or striatal circuitry is strongly affected in both normal aging and in pathological conditions associated with the aging process (i.e., Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease). Subjects with prefrontal dysfunction are deficient in their ability to alter a behavioral response in the face of changing contingencies. This type of cognitive deficit may be caused by a disruption of striatal outflow resulting in frontal cortex dysfunction in circuitry connecting the prefrontal cortex, striatum and thalamus.
Figure 32.6 highlights the frontal cortex and striatum in the human and rat brain.
The frontal cortex (including infralimbic, prelimbic and anterior cingulater cortices) sends its major output to
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