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Cereb Cortex. 2015 Jul;25(7):1987-99. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhu012. Epub 2014 Feb 13.

A Brain-Wide Study of Age-Related Changes in Functional Connectivity.

Author information

1
Department of Experimental Psychology, Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands Neuroimaging Center, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands Current address: MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, 15 Chaucer Road, Cambridge CB2 7EF, UK.
2
Neuroimaging Center, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
3
Neuroimaging Center, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
4
Department of Experimental Psychology, Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands Neuroimaging Center, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Aging affects functional connectivity between brain areas, however, a complete picture of how aging affects integration of information within and between functional networks is missing. We used complex network measures, derived from a brain-wide graph, to provide a comprehensive overview of age-related changes in functional connectivity. Functional connectivity in young and older participants was assessed during resting-state fMRI. The results show that aging has a large impact, not only on connectivity within functional networks but also on connectivity between the different functional networks in the brain. Brain networks in the elderly showed decreased modularity (less distinct functional networks) and decreased local efficiency. Connectivity decreased with age within networks supporting higher level cognitive functions, that is, within the default mode, cingulo-opercular and fronto-parietal control networks. Conversely, no changes in connectivity within the somatomotor and visual networks, networks implicated in primary information processing, were observed. Connectivity between these networks even increased with age. A brain-wide analysis approach of functional connectivity in the aging brain thus seems fundamental in understanding how age affects integration of information.

KEYWORDS:

aging; dedifferentiation; fMRI; functional connectivity; graph theory

PMID:
24532319
DOI:
10.1093/cercor/bhu012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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