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The Impact of Age-Related Changes on Working Memory Functional Activity

Authors
  • Steffener, Jason1, 2
  • Brickman, Adam M.1, 2
  • Rakitin, Brian C.1, 2
  • Gazes, Yunglin1
  • Stern, Yaakov1, 2, 3
  • 1 Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Cognitive Neuroscience Division of the Taub Institute, 630 West 168th St, P&S 16, New York, NY, 10032, USA , New York (United States)
  • 2 Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Department of Neurology, 710 West 168th St, New York, NY, 10032, USA , New York (United States)
  • 3 Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Department of Psychiatry, 1051Riverside Dr, New York, NY, 10032, USA , New York (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Brain Imaging and Behavior
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Jan 09, 2009
Volume
3
Issue
2
Pages
142–153
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11682-008-9056-x
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

This work investigated associations of age-related brain atrophy and functional neural networks identified using multivariate analyses of BOLD fMRI data in young and elder participants (young, N = 37; mean age = 25; elders, N = 15; mean age = 74). Two networks were involved in retaining increasing loads of verbal information in working memory. Network utilizations were used to test associations between function and indices of grey matter volume changes using voxel based morphometry. Global changes in brain volume were not associated with the secondary network. Lower regional grey matter volume in the left pre-central gyrus within the primary network was associated with increased secondary network utilization independent of age group. Decreased regional grey matter volume was associated with increased age only in the elders. Increased secondary network expression was associated with increased slope of reaction times across memory load, in the elders. These results support the theory of neural compensation, that elder participants recruit additional neural resources to maintain task performance in the face of age-related decreases in regional grey matter volume.

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