Stern Y, Habeck C, Moeller J, et al. Brain networks associated with cognitive reserve in healthy young and old adults

Cognitive Neuroscience Division, Taub Institute, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, USA.
Cerebral Cortex (Impact Factor: 8.67). 05/2005; 15(4):394-402. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhh142
Source: PubMed


In order to understand the brain networks that mediate cognitive reserve, we explored the relationship between subjects' network expression during the performance of a memory test and an index of cognitive reserve. Using H2(15)O positron emission tomography, we imaged 17 healthy older subjects and 20 young adults while they performed a serial recognition memory task for nonsense shapes under two conditions: low demand, with a unique shape presented in each study trial; and titrated demand, with a study list size adjusted so that each subject recognized shapes at 75% accuracy. A factor score that summarized years of education, and scores on the NART and the WAIS-R Vocabulary subtest was used as an index of cognitive reserve. The scaled subprofile model was used to identify a set of functionally connected regions (or topography) that changed in expression across the two task conditions and was differentially expressed by the young and elderly subjects. The regions most active in this topography consisted of right hippocampus, posterior insula, thalamus, and right and left operculum; we found concomitant deactivation in right lingual gyrus, inferior parietal lobe and association cortex, left posterior cingulate, and right and left calcarine cortex. Young subjects with higher cognitive reserve showed increased expression of the topography across the two task conditions. Because this topography, which is responsive to increased task demands, was differentially expressed as a function of reserve level, it may represent a neural manifestation of innate or acquired reserve. In contrast, older subjects with higher cognitive reserve showed decreased expression of the topography across tasks. This suggests some functional reorganization of the network used by the young subjects. Thus, for the old subjects this topography may represent an altered, compensatory network that is used to maintain function in the face of age-related physiological changes.

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    • "During tasks with executive control demands, enhanced bilateral pFC engagement in older adults has been associated with better performance (Daselaar et al., 2015; Stern et al., 2005; Cabeza et al., 2004; Reuter-Lorenz et al., 2000), and this pattern of supplementary recruitment appears to be a function of task demand, occurring at lower, but not higher levels of executive control challenge (Cappell, Gmeindl, & Reuter-Lorenz, 2010; Mattay et al., 2006; Reuter- Lorenz & Lustig, 2005). An alternate account of age-related functional brain changes suggests that overrecruitment is maladaptive, reflecting a loss of functional specialization within the brain. "
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    ABSTRACT: Reduced executive control is a hallmark of neurocognitive aging. Poor modulation of lateral pFC activity in the context of increasing task challenge in old adults and a "failure to deactivate" the default network during cognitive control tasks have been observed. Whether these two patterns represent discrete mechanisms of neurocognitive aging or interact into older adulthood remains unknown. We examined whether altered pFC and default network dynamics co-occur during goal-directed planning over increasing levels of difficulty during performance on the Tower of London task. We used fMRI to investigate task- and age-related changes in brain activation and functional connectivity across four levels of task challenge. Frontoparietal executive control regions were activated and default network regions were suppressed during planning relative to counting performance in both groups. Older adults, unlike young, failed to modulate brain activity in executive control and default regions as planning demands increased. Critically, functional connectivity analyses revealed bilateral dorsolateral pFC coupling in young adults and dorsolateral pFC to default coupling in older adults with increased planning complexity. We propose a default-executive coupling hypothesis of aging. First, this hypothesis suggests that failure to modulate control and default network activity in response to increasing task challenge are linked in older adulthood. Second, functional brain changes involve greater coupling of lateral pFC and the default network as cognitive control demands increase in older adults. We speculate that these changes reflect an adaptive shift in cognition as older adults come to rely more upon stored representations to support goal-directed task performance.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 09/2015; 27(12):1-15. DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00869 · 4.09 Impact Factor
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    • "fect of recreational - stimulating activities on phonological fluency can be attributed to : ( a ) lack of knowledge about the application of the ideas of reserve and growth in old age to the field of ID ; ( b ) the nature of learning in populations with ID . Concepts of reserve and compensation which are inherent in the Cognitive Reserve Theory ( Stern et al . , 2005 ) , Cognitive Activity Theory ( Wilson et al . , 2007 ) , and CAT ( Lifshitz - Vahav , 2015 ) are still in their infancy regarding adults with ID . Leisure activities in populations with ID are used as a means for improving satisfaction and well - being ( Bergstr€ om , Hochw€ alder , Kottorp , & Elinder , 2013 ) , qual - ity of life ( P"
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    ABSTRACT: The Cognitive Activity Theory suggests an association between participation in cognitive activities during midlife and cognitive functioning in the short term. We examined the impact of participation in cognitively stimulating activities conveyed during leisure activities on crystallized and fluid tests' performance among adults with intellectual disabilities (ID). Adults (n = 32; chronological age = 25-55) with non-specific ID and with Down syndrome rated the frequency of their participation in leisure activities. Pursuits included more cognitively involving (reading, participating in academic courses) and less cognitively involving (cooking, dancing) activities. Three judges ranked activities according to their cognitive load on a 1 (few cognitive components) to 5 (many cognitive components) points scale. The findings indicate two new scales: cognitively stimulating activities and recreational stimulating activities. The crystallized battery included phonemic fluency, synonyms, idioms, and verbal metaphors. The fluid battery included the Homophone Meaning Generation Test, Metaphoric Triad Test, Novel Metaphors Test, and Trail Making Test. Hierarchal regression with chronological and mental age, recreational, and cognitively stimulating activities indicated that participation in recreational activities contributed significantly to the explained variance of word fluency. Participation in cognitive activities contributed significantly to the explained variance of most of the crystallized and fluid tests. The findings support the Cognitive Activity Theory in populations with ID. The findings also support the Compensation Age Theory: not only endogenous factors (age, etiology, IQ level), but also exogenous factors such as life style determining the cognitive functioning of adults with ID. However, frequency and the cognitive load of the activities influenced their cognitive functioning.
    Aging and Mental Health 06/2015; DOI:10.1080/13607863.2015.1047322 · 1.75 Impact Factor
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    • "One way to circumvent this issue is to build a normative global atlas based on a healthy population with a large age range. The effects of age may also differ according to some factors, such as compensatory networks (Stern et al. 2005, 2008) or increased functional connectivity in existing networks (Bastin et al. 2012), providing a partial protection called ''cognitive reserve'' (Stern 2002, 2009). Higher education seems to also be an important factor delaying aging affects on the brain and cognitive decline (Brayne et al. 2010; Coffey et al. 1999), and preliminary evidences suggest structural connectivity changes associated with cognitive reserve in the elderly (Fischer et al. 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: In neuroscience, there is a growing consensus that higher cognitive functions may be supported by distributed networks involving different cerebral regions, rather than by single brain areas. Communication within these networks is mediated by white matter tracts and is particularly prominent in the frontal lobes for the control and integration of information. However, the detailed mapping of frontal connections remains incomplete, albeit crucial to an increased understanding of these cognitive functions. Based on 47 high-resolution diffusion-weighted imaging datasets (age range 22-71 years), we built a statistical normative atlas of the frontal lobe connections in stereotaxic space, using state-of-the-art spherical deconvolution tractography. We dissected 55 tracts including U-shaped fibers. We further characterized these tracts by measuring their correlation with age and education level. We reported age-related differences in the microstructural organization of several, specific frontal fiber tracts, but found no correlation with education level. Future voxel-based analyses, such as voxel-based morphometry or tract-based spatial statistics studies, may benefit from our atlas by identifying the tracts and networks involved in frontal functions. Our atlas will also build the capacity of clinicians to further understand the mechanisms involved in brain recovery and plasticity, as well as assist clinicians in the diagnosis of disconnection or abnormality within specific tracts of individual patients with various brain diseases.
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