Correspondence of executive function related functional and anatomical alterations in aging brain

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2014 Jan 3;48:41-50. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2013.09.001. Epub 2013 Sep 12.


Neurocognitive aging studies have focused on age-related changes in neural activity or neural structure but few studies have focused on relationships between the two. The present study quantitatively reviewed 24 studies of age-related changes in fMRI activation across a broad spectrum of executive function tasks using activation likelihood estimation (ALE) and 22 separate studies of age-related changes in gray matter using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). Conjunction analyses between functional and structural alteration maps were constructed. Overlaps were only observed in the conjunction of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) gray matter reduction and functional hyperactivation but not hypoactivation. It was not evident that the conjunctions between gray matter and activation were related to task performance. Theoretical implications of these results are discussed.

Keywords: ALE; Aging; CBF; CMRO(2); DLPFC; Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; Efficiency; Executive function; FDR; FWHM; GM; IPL; MNI; Meta-analysis; Montreal Neurological Institute; PET; Plasticity; SMA; VBM; VLPFC; activation likelihood estimation; cerebral blood flow; cerebral-metabolic oxygen rate of oxygen; dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; fMRI; false discovery rate; full width at half maximum; functional magnetic resonance imaging; gray matter; inferior parietal lobule; positron emission tomography; supplementary motor area; ventrolateral prefrontal cortex; voxel-based morphometry.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Brain* / blood supply
  • Brain* / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain* / pathology
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Neuroimaging
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • PubMed / statistics & numerical data
  • Radionuclide Imaging