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Overlapping effects of age on associative memory and the anterior hippocampus from middle to older age
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Karolinska Inst, Dept Clin Neurosci, Nobels Vag 9, S-17177 Stockholm, Sweden.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Radiology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2017 (English)In: Behavioural Brain Research, ISSN 0166-4328, E-ISSN 1872-7549, Vol. 317, p. 350-359Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The anterior hippocampus has been implicated in associative memory, and along with hippocampal volume, this type of memory declines with age. However, few cross-sectional studies include middle-aged samples, making it unclear at what point these age-related changes occur. In addition, although men and women have been shown to differ in associative memory and rates of age-related hippocampal atrophy, sex-differences in aging are rarely studied. To address these issues, we assessed memory for word-pairs, hippocampal volume and activation during encoding and retrieval, across middle-aged (n=39) and older (n=44) participants, specifically in relation to sex. Older adults showed significantly poorer associative memory compared to middle-aged adults, paralleled by smaller anterior hippocampi and less activation during successful retrieval. The age-by-sex interaction observed in memory performance was also mirrored in the volume and activation of the hippocampus, indicating more pronounced age-effects in men as compared to women. These results indicate a specific role of the anterior hippocampus in verbal associative memory and suggest they both decline between middle-age and older age.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 317, p. 350-359
Keywords [en]
Aging, Episodic memory, Event-related activation, fMRI, Sex, Voxel-based morphometry
National Category
Neurology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-305754DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2016.10.002ISI: 000389086700038PubMedID: 27713000OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-305754DiVA, id: diva2:1039104
Funder
Swedish Research Council, VR 2011-1943Available from: 2016-10-21 Created: 2016-10-21 Last updated: 2018-04-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Aging Along the Hippocampal Axis: Structure, Function and Whole-brain Connections in Association with Memory
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Aging Along the Hippocampal Axis: Structure, Function and Whole-brain Connections in Association with Memory
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Hippocampus-dependent functions display marked reductions in older age, an observation that has led to the extensive study of age effects on hippocampal properties. Even though research indicates that the hippocampus is structurally and functionally heterogeneous along its longitudinal axis, its anterior and posterior regions differentially supporting episodic and spatial memory representations, few studies explicitly consider age effects in relation to axis. Relatedly, as men and women commonly differ in episodic and spatial memory performance, and sometimes also in rates of age-related hippocampal atrophy, sex could be a potential modifier of age effects. The aim of this thesis was therefore to assess age effects on the hippocampus and its role in episodic and spatial memory across young (20-35 years), middle-aged (40-50 years) and older (60-70 years) adults, adopting a longitudinal-axis approach while considering interactions with sex. Study I evaluated hippocampal volume and activation in relation to associative memory across middle-aged and older adults. Age differences in associative memory were largest in men and paralleled by smaller volumes and less activation in the anterior hippocampus. Study II assessed hippocampus-dependent network-like organization of gray matter by measures of structural whole-brain covariance. The anterior and posterior hippocampus showed shared and distinct patterns of covariance, which were qualitatively comparable across age groups. However, participants’ expression of these patterns decreased as a function of age, comparably for men and women, and showed significant associations with episodic memory. Study III investigated age effects on resting-state functional connectivity and demonstrated that both the anterior and posterior hippocampus decreased in connectivity with several brain regions across middle-aged and older adults. Memory was only associated with age-related connectivity of the posterior hippocampus: episodic memory negatively with connectivity increasing as a function of age, and spatial memory positively with connectivity that decreased. These studies demonstrate distinct effects of age on the anterior and posterior hippocampus, and show that age-related decline of these regions differentially relates to episodic and spatial memory. Overall, findings highlight the importance of explicitly considering the heterogeneity of the hippocampal axis in the assessment of its role in age-related memory decline.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2018. p. 79
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 154
Keywords
hippocampus, aging, longitudinal-axis, episodic memory, spatial memory, connectivity, fMRI
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-348686 (URN)978-91-513-0339-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-06-08, Auditorium Minus, Museum Gustavianum, Akademigatan 3, Uppsala, 14:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-05-14 Created: 2018-04-17 Last updated: 2018-10-08

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Nordin, KristinLarsson, Elna-MarieSöderlund, Hedvig

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