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Development of Large-Scale Functional Networks over the Lifespan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Winfried Schlee
  • Vera Maria Leirer
  • Stephan Kolassa
  • Franka Thurm
  • Thomas Elbert
  • Iris- Tatjana Kolassa
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/10/2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Neurobiology of Aging
Issue number10
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)2411-2421
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date10/01/12
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The development of large-scale functional organization of the human brain across the lifespan is not well understood. Here we used magnetoencephalographic recordings of 53 adults (ages 18–89) to characterize functional brain networks in the resting state. Slow frequencies engage larger networks than higher frequencies and show different development over the lifespan. Networks in the delta (2–4 Hz) frequency range decrease, while networks in the beta/gamma frequency range (> 16 Hz) increase in size with advancing age. Results show that the right frontal lobe and the temporal areas in both hemispheres are important relay stations in the expanding high-frequency networks. Neuropsychological tests confirmed the tendency of cognitive decline with older age. The decrease in visual memory and visuoconstructive functions was strongly associated with the age-dependent enhancement of functional connectivity in both temporal lobes. Using functional network analysis this study elucidates important neuronal principles underlying age-related cognitive decline paving mental deterioration in senescence.