Functional and structural syntax networks in aging

Antonenko D., Brauer J., Meinzer M., Fengler A., Kerti L., Friederici A.D. and Floel A. (2013) Functional and structural syntax networks in aging. NeuroImage, 83 513-523. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.07.018

Author Antonenko D.
Brauer J.
Meinzer M.
Fengler A.
Kerti L.
Friederici A.D.
Floel A.
Title Functional and structural syntax networks in aging
Journal name NeuroImage   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1053-8119
Publication date 2013-12-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.07.018
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 83
Start page 513
End page 523
Total pages 11
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier BV
Language eng
Subject 2805 Cognitive Neuroscience
2808 Neurology
Formatted abstract
Language abilities are known to deteriorate in aging, possibly related to decreased functional and structural connectivity within specialized brain networks. Here, we investigated syntactic ability in healthy young and older adults using a comprehensive assessment of behavioral performance, task-independent functional (FC) and structural brain connectivity (SC). Seed-based FC originating from left pars opercularis (part of Broca's area) known to support syntactic processes was assessed using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging, and SC using fractional anisotropy from diffusion weighted imaging, in the dorsally located superior longitudinal and the ventrally located uncinate fasciculi (SLF, UF) and forceps minor. Young compared to older adults exhibited superior syntactic performance and stronger FC within the mainly left-lateralized syntax network, which was beneficial for performance. In contrast, in older adults, FC within the mainly left-lateralized syntax network was reduced and did not correlate with performance; inter-hemispheric FC to right inferior frontal and angular gyri was detrimental for performance. In both groups, performance was positively correlated with inter-hemispheric SC. For intra-hemispheric SC, performance correlated with structural integrity of SLF in young adults and with integrity of UF in older adults. Our data show that reduced syntactic ability in older adults is associated with decreased FC within dedicated syntax networks. Moreover, young adults showed an association of syntactic ability with structural integrity of the dorsal tract, while older adults rely more on ventral fibers. In sum, our study provided novel insight into the relationship between connectivity and syntactic performance in young and older adults. In addition to elucidating age-related changes in syntax networks and their behavioral relevance, our results contribute to a better understanding of age-related changes in functional and structural brain organization in general, an important prerequisite for developing novel strategies to counteract age-related cognitive decline.
Keyword Connectivity
Functional imaging
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID Fl-379-8/1
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
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