Influence of age on the dynamics of fMRI activations during a semantic fluency task

J Neuroradiol. 2012 Jul;39(3):158-66. doi: 10.1016/j.neurad.2011.05.005. Epub 2011 Jul 7.


Purpose: Age-related fMRI changes have not been extensively studied for language, whereas important adaptive mechanisms have been seen in other cognitive fields. This study examined age-related changes in fMRI activation during language tasks and, in particular, their dynamic course.

Patients and methods: fMRI was performed on 22 young and 21 old healthy right-handed subjects during a silent category word-generation task. Activation and dynamics of BOLD signals were studied separately during the first and second portions of each 30-s block.

Results: Activation of the left frontal lobe was initially similar in young and old participants; however, it decreased after 30 s in the old participants. On the other hand, additional areas were initially involved only in old subjects and especially in the default mode network.

Conclusion: This study showed age-related differences in the dynamics of fMRI activation during a silent word-generation task, suggesting a different pattern of language function with aging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Semantics*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Speech / physiology*
  • Young Adult