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Dynamic funcitonal reorganizations and relationships with working memory performance in healthy aging
Sala Llonch, Roser; Arenaza-Urquijo, E. M.; Valls-Pedret, Cinta; Vidal Piñeiro, Dídac; Bargalló Alabart, Núria​; Junqué i Plaja, Carme, 1955-; Bartrés Faz, David
Universitat de Barcelona
In recent years, several theories have been proposed in attempts to identify the neural mechanisms underlying successful cognitive aging. Old subjects show increased neural activity during the performance of tasks, mainly in prefrontal areas, which is interpreted as a compensatory mechanism linked to functional brain efficiency. Moreover, resting-state studies have concluded that elders show disconnection or disruption of large-scale functional networks. We used functional MRI during resting-state and a verbal n-back task with different levels of memory load in a cohort of young and old healthy adults to identify patterns of networks associated with working memory and brain default mode. We found that the disruption of resting-state networks in the elderly coexists with task-related overactivations of certain brain areas and with reorganizations within these functional networks. Moreover, elders who were able to activate additional areas and to recruit a more bilateral frontal pattern within the task-related network achieved successful performance on the task. We concluded that the balanced and plastic reorganization of brain networks underlies successful cognitive aging. This observation allows the integration of several theories that have been proposed to date regarding the aging brain.
Escorça cerebral
Cerebral cortex
cc-by (c) Sala Llonch et al., 2012
Frontiers Media

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