Functional connectivity change across multiple cortical networks relates to episodic memory changes in aging.
Fjell AM., Sneve MH., Grydeland H., Storsve AB., de Lange A-MG., Amlien IK., Røgeberg OJ., Walhovd KB.
A major task of contemporary cognitive neuroscience of aging is to explain why episodic memory declines. Change in resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) could be a mechanism accounting for reduced function. We addressed this through 3 studies. In study 1, 119 healthy participants (20-83 years) were followed for 3.5 years with verbal recall testing and magnetic resonance imaging. Independent of atrophy, recall change was related to change in rsFC in anatomically widespread areas. Striking age-effects were observed in that a positive relationship between rsFC and memory characterized older participants while a negative relationship was seen among the younger and middle-aged. This suggests that cognitive consequences of rsFC change are not stable across age. In study 2 and 3, the age-dependent differences in rsFC-memory relationship were replicated by use of a simulation model (study 2) and by a cross-sectional experimental recognition memory task (study 3). In conclusion, memory changes were related to altered rsFC in an age-dependent manner, and future research needs to detail the mechanisms behind age-varying relationships.