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Maintained Frontal Activity Underlies High Memory Function Over 8 Years in Aging
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiation Sciences. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB), Physiology.
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2019 (English)In: Cerebral Cortex, ISSN 1047-3211, E-ISSN 1460-2199, Vol. 29, no 7, p. 3111-3123Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aging is characterized by substantial average decline in memory performance. Yet contradictory explanations have been given for how the brains of high-performing older adults work: either by engagement of compensatory processes such as recruitment of additional networks or by maintaining young adults' patterns of activity. Distinguishing these components requires large experimental samples and longitudinal follow-up. Here, we investigate which features are key to high memory in aging, directly testing these hypotheses by studying a large sample of adult participants (n > 300) with fMRI during an episodic memory experiment where item-context relationships were implicitly encoded. The analyses revealed that low levels of activity in frontal networks-known to be involved in memory encoding-were associated with low memory performance in the older adults only. Importantly, older participants with low memory performance and low frontal activity exhibited a strong longitudinal memory decline in an independent verbal episodic memory task spanning 8 years back (n = 52). These participants were also characterized by lower hippocampal volumes and steeper rates of cortical atrophy. Altogether, maintenance of frontal brain function during encoding seems to be a primary characteristic of preservation of memory function in aging, likely reflecting intact ability to integrate information.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC , 2019. Vol. 29, no 7, p. 3111-3123
Keywords [en]
aging, brain maintenance, encoding, episodic memory, fMRI
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-162009DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhy177ISI: 000477708300026PubMedID: 30137326OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-162009DiVA, id: diva2:1342181
Available from: 2019-08-13 Created: 2019-08-13 Last updated: 2019-08-13Bibliographically approved

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Nyberg, Lars

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Department of Radiation SciencesUmeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI)Physiology
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