Article Critique


September3, 2014.

of the questions, results and the conclusion of the author

Thearticle is about a clinical study on relationship between long-termmemory loss (LTM) and white gray matter during normal aging. Thearticle as well as the book Chapter on ‘Attention and memory’relates their arguments to past studies conducted on effects ofageing and long-term memory loss. The book Chapter as well as thearticle agrees that, long-term memory loss occurs due to normalageing or damage in the brain network functioning (Charlton,Barrick, Markus &amp Morris, 2010).However, the article main argument is that past studies do not givecoinciding evidence on neurobiological aspects that lead to long-termmemory loss. As such, the study sought to explore the effects ofdamaged white gray matter and the performance of LTM using adiffusion tensor imaging technique. The hypothesis in the study wasthat, damage or ageing results in the destruction of white matter andthereby long-term memory loss (LTM).

Inthe study, the authors’ used a sample of 100 participants with amean average of 69 years recruited randomly from local doctors’database. The selected participants had no prior neurologicaldisorders or cognitive problems. The results indicated that as humanbeings age, memory loss and reduction of white gray matter occurs inthe brain. In addition, the authors” found that the hippocampalvolume and the cognitive abilities reduced with age. The authors’also found that the hippocampus volume (part of the brain tasked withmemory functions) is not affected by ageing. These findings supportthe argument presented in the book Chapter ‘Attention and Memory.’The results further indicated that, the degeneration of the whitematter was consistent with aging or brain diseases (Charlton,Barrick, Markus &amp Morris, 2010). These findings correlate to arguments given in the book ‘Attentionand Memory’ that disease such as Alzheimer destroys the whitematter leading to long-term memory loss.

Overall,the study results supported the hypothesis that as the white matterdegenerates, they in turn alter the long-term memory performance ofthe brain. In most aspects, the results correlated with theliterature review in the Chapter ‘Attention and Memory’ onfactors that affect long-term memory loss. In particular, thediscussion and results shown in the article relates to the discussiongiven in the Chapter ‘Attention and memory’ that episodic memoryis affected by aging. As such, the results of the study concur inmany aspects with the Chapters discussion and this makes the studymore convincing and relevant.

Inaddition, the study conclusion concurs with the discussion in thebook Chapter that long-term memory loss also affects cognition,verbal intelligence quotient and learning. The authors’ conclusionconfirms the hypothetical question that normal ageing, brain diseaseor damage to the white matter leads to memory loss as a result ofreduced network that supports the brain infrastructure necessary forlong-term memory (LMT). However, the study explained in the articledoes not support certain issues highlighted in the book Chapter inregard to specific measures of long-term memory loss encoding orretrieval.

Thestrength of this article is that, the authors’ gives an informativepiece on ageing and long-term memory loss. The authors’ have usedadequate literature review to inform the audience past studiesresults and their successes. Furthermore, the book Chapter ‘Attentionand Memory’ gives vast evidence that relate to the study explainedin the article. One is able to understand the discussion in the bookChapter on long-term memory loss with the practical study. Similarly,the authors’ research findings explains some of the tentativequestions raised in the book Chapter and this makes the articleresults relevant. For instance, the study effectively answers thequestions raised in the Chapter on age and gender and long-termmemory loss. Furthermore, the research article explains that thereexist differences in normal brain changes and abnormal brain changesthis is an important question raised in the Chapter. However, thestudy has a number of weaknesses in relation to technical languageused and methodology practices. First, the language used has vasttechnical jargon that makes the article less comprehensible this isunlike the simple language used in book Chapter. This could affecteffective delivery of the research findings to the audience intendedif they do not have much neuroscience knowledge. Nonetheless the bookChapter helps one to understand most of the neuroscience technicalphrases used in the article.

Secondly,the white matter specimen used by the authors’ in the study wasselected from a region of interest (ROI) that does not have adequaterelationship with LTM function. This is a research fallacy whichcould adversely bias the results and the conclusions made by theauthors’. In research, selection of specimen should be derived fromthe region of interest or part that is under study. Far from this,the article has not indicated the specific measurement of long-termmemory (LTM) was focused on by the study retrieval or encoding. As aresult, the research findings could be biased if the association madebetween long-term memory loss and white matter degeneration did nothave a clear distinction on specific effects of LTM aimed by thestudy.

Thesample size used by the authors’ was significantly small (100participants) and this could have eclipsed the meditational effectsbetween the variables used. A larger sample would have been effectivefor more affirmative results and to delineate the underlyingdifferences among variables used. Lastly, the study has severaldependent variables that make the study have several assumptions,analysis and conclusions this makes the main hypothesis less vivid(Charlton,Barrick, Markus &amp Morris, 2010).

Inorder to make the article more appealing, the technical languagewould be made simpler, explain the method and technique applied inthe study. The article also needs a more detailed conclusion that isseparated from the discussion. The authors’ in the article have notexplained clearly the data collection and analysis methods used inthe study this makes the article less systematic and comprehensible.For instance, in the discussion and result part, the authors’ haveused several statistical figures and no reference exists on how suchfigures were computed.

Furthermore,the article authors’ need to conduct more empirical research usingother neuroscience techniques to enhance more knowledge of ageingeffects on white gray matter. The authors’ (both the article andthe book Chapter) should focus on identifying the differences betweenmales and females in regard to long-term memory deficit. Nonetheless,the article presents an important research subject but the authors’could have made it less technical by adding a glossary wherescientific terms and abbreviations are explained.

Theresearch explained in the article is relevant in many disciplinesespecially in the study of brain diseases, learning and cognitivedevelopment, memory loss and in clinical psychological assessment.The study is important for individuals’ who wish to further theirstudies on brain memory and ageing. The information is also relevantin psychology studies, gerontology, elderly care and cognitivephysiotherapy. I find both the article and the book Chapterinsightful on matters of neuropsychological disorders such asAlzheimer’s disease and their effects on memory loss and cognitionability. In particular, the authors have elaborated how thedegeneration of white gray matter leads to long-term memory loss andreduction in verbal intelligence quotient. The article iswell-articulated in regard to the hypothetical question raised,methodology of research, literature review and the research findings(Charlton,Barrick, Markus &amp Morris, 2010).

Iintend to use the information learned in this article in mypsychological studies and as a guiding basis on how to conductfurther studies on effects of damaged white matter in the cognitivedevelopment among young adults. In this case, the study would focuson patients treated from neurological diseases. The aim would beassessing the effects brain diseases on long-term cognitivedevelopment among young adults. In the same line, the information isinsightful and would adversely assist in studies of brain chemistryand substance abuse. Drug addiction has adverse effects on the brainneurotransmitter networks and may lead to long term memory loss. Insuch a case, the article is useful in understanding effects of drugabuse on white gray matter and long-term memory function (Charlton,Barrick, Markus &amp Morris, 2010).


CharltonR.A., Barrick T.R., Markus H.S. &amp Morris R.G. (2010).The relationship between episodic long-term memory and white matterintegrity in normal aging. Neuropsychologia48 114–122.