Subcortical Functional Connectivity and Verbal Episodic Memory in Healthy Elderly - a resting state fMRI study.

Research Area: Research Year: 2010
Type of Publication: Article
Authors: Ystad, M; Eichele, Tom; Lundervold, A J.; Lundervold, A.
Imaging research into age-related changes in episodic memory has mainly focused on changes in cortical areas in the medial temporal lobe and the hippocampus. However, several lines of evidence indicate that subcortical structures such as the basal ganglia and the thalamus are also involved in episodic memory function. Recent studies have revealed age-related changes in functional connectivity between different brain areas, as measured by resting state fMRI. It remains to be shown whether functional connectivity measures in the basal ganglia and the thalamus can be associated with age-related changes in memory function. Here, we investigate this question by applying high model order spatial independent component analysis to resting state fMRI data in a cohort of 100 healthy elderly and relate connectivity features to verbal episodic memory function as assessed by the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT). We identified five components that were located within different parts of the thalamus and the basal ganglia. Two of these components demonstrated negative correlations between their functional connectivity level and CVLT performance. We also found negative correlations between connectional strength within subcortical structures and CVLT performance. These results indicate a previously undocumented role for the putamen and the thalamus in verbal episodic memory function in aging. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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