Age-Related Compensatory Reconfiguration of PFC Connections during Episodic Memory Retrieval.
During demanding cognitive tasks, older adults (OAs) frequently show greater prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity than younger adults (YAs). This age-related increase in PFC activity is often associated with enhanced cognitive performance, suggesting functional compensation. However, the brain is a complex network of interconnected regions, and it is unclear how network connectivity of PFC regions differs for OAs versus YAs. To investigate this, we examined the age-related difference on the functional brain networks mediating episodic memory retrieval. YAs and OAs participants encoded and recalled visual scenes, and age-related differences in network topology during memory retrieval were investigated as a function of memory performance. We measured both changes in functional integration and reconfiguration in connectivity patterns. The study yielded three main findings. First, PFC regions were more functionally integrated with the rest of the brain network in OAs. Critically, this age-related increase in PFC integration was associated with better retrieval performance. Second, PFC regions showed stronger performance-related reconfiguration of connectivity patterns in OAs. Finally, the PFC reconfiguration increases in OAs tracked reconfiguration reductions in the medial temporal lobe (MTL)-a core episodic memory region, suggesting that PFC connectivity in OAs may be compensating for MTL deficits.
Deng, L; Stanley, ML; Monge, ZA; Wing, EA; Geib, BR; Davis, SW; Cabeza, R
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