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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 9  |  Page : 1544-1555

Age-related changes in resting-state functional connectivity in older adults

1 Quantitative Psychology Section, Faculty of Psychology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
2 Quantitative Psychology Section, Faculty of Psychology; Institute of Neuroscience, UB Institute of Complex Systems, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
3 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Healthy Sciences, University of Barcelona; Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, Barcelona, Spain
4 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Healthy Sciences, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Correspondence Address:
Laia Farras-Permanyer
Quantitative Psychology Section, Faculty of Psychology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona
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Source of Support: This study was supported by the Grup de Recerca en Tècniques Estadístiques Avançades Aplicades a la Psicologia (GTEAAP) members of the Generalitat de Catalunya’s 2014 SGR 326 Consolidated Research Group (GRC) and was made possible by the PSI2013-41400-P project of Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad of the Spanish Government, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1673-5374.255976

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Age-related changes in the brain connectivity of healthy older adults have been widely studied in recent years, with some differences in the obtained results. Most of these studies showed decreases in general functional connectivity, but they also found increases in some particular regions and areas. Frequently, these studies compared young individuals with older subjects, but few studies compared different age groups only in older populations. The purpose of this study is to analyze whole-brain functional connectivity in healthy older adult groups and its network characteristics through functional segregation. A total of 114 individuals, 48 to 89 years old, were scanned using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging in a resting state paradigm and were divided into six different age groups (< 60, 60–64, 65–69, 70–74, 75–79, ≥ 80 years old). A partial correlation analysis, a pooled correlation analysis and a study of 3-cycle regions with prominent connectivity were conducted. Our results showed progressive diminution in the functional connectivity among different age groups and this was particularly pronounced between 75 and 79 years old. The oldest group (≥ 80 years old) showed a slight increase in functional connectivity compared to the other groups. This occurred possibly because of compensatory mechanism in brain functioning. This study provides information on the brain functional characteristics of every age group, with more specific information on the functional progressive decline, and supplies methodological tools to study functional connectivity characteristics. Approval for the study was obtained from the ethics committee of the Comisión de Bioética de la Universidad de Barcelona (approval No. PSI2012-38257) on June 5, 2012, and from the ethics committee of the Barcelona’s Hospital Clínic (approval No. 2009-5306 and 2011-6604) on October 22, 2009 and April 7, 2011 respectively.

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