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Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 2018 Jan 16:1-32. doi: 10.1080/13825585.2017.1423021. [Epub ahead of print]

More expertise for a better perspective: Task and strategy-driven adaptive neurofunctional reorganization for word production in high-performing older adults.

Author information

1
a Centre de Recherche de l'Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal , Montreal, QC , Canada.
2
b Faculty of Medecine , University of Montreal , Montreal , QC , Canada.
3
c Centre de Réadaptation en Déficience Physique , Montréal , Canada.
4
d Centre de recherche CERVO - CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale et Département de réadaptation , Université Laval , Québec , Canada.
5
e Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Cumming School of Medicine , University of Calgary , Calgary , Canada.

Abstract

The suggestion that neurofunctional reorganization may contribute to preserved language abilities is still emerging in aging studies. Some of these abilities, such as verbal fluency (VF), are not unitary but instead rely on different strategic processes that are differentially changed with age. Younger (n = 13) and older adults (n = 13) carried out an overt self-paced semantic and orthographic VF tasks within mixed fMRI design. Our results suggest that patterns of brain activation sustaining equivalent performances could be underpinned by different strategies facing brain changes during healthy aging. These main findings suggest that temporally mediated semantic clustering and frontally mediated orthographic switching were driven by evolutive neurofunctional resources in high-performing older adults. These age-related activation changes can appear to be compatible with the idea that unique neural patterns expressing distinctive cognitive strategies are necessary to support older adults' performance on VF tasks.

KEYWORDS:

aging; fMRI; neurofunctional reorganization; strategic processes; verbal fluency

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