Greater Neural Differentiation in the Ventral Visual Cortex Is Associated with Youthful Memory in Superaging

Citation:

Katsumi Y, Andreano JM, Barrett LF, Dickerson BC, Touroutoglou A. Greater Neural Differentiation in the Ventral Visual Cortex Is Associated with Youthful Memory in Superaging. Cereb Cortex. 2021;31 (11) :5275-5287.

Date Published:

2021 10 01

Abstract:

Superagers are older adults who maintain youthful memory despite advanced age. Previous studies showed that superagers exhibit greater structural and intrinsic functional brain integrity, which contribute to their youthful memory. However, no studies, to date, have examined brain activity as superagers learn and remember novel information. Here, we analyzed functional magnetic resonance imaging data collected from 41 young and 40 older adults while they performed a paired associate visual recognition memory task. Superaging was defined as youthful performance on the long delay free recall of the California Verbal Learning Test. We assessed the fidelity of neural representations as participants encoded and later retrieved a series of word stimuli paired with a face or a scene image. Superagers, like young adults, exhibited more distinct neural representations in the fusiform gyrus and parahippocampal gyrus while viewing visual stimuli belonging to different categories (greater neural differentiation) and more similar category representations between encoding and retrieval (greater neural reinstatement), compared with typical older adults. Greater neural differentiation and reinstatement were associated with superior memory performance in all older adults. Given that the fidelity of cortical sensory processing depends on neural plasticity and is trainable, these mechanisms may be potential biomarkers for future interventions to promote successful aging.