Neural correlates of training-related memory improvement in adulthood and aging

Nyberg, L., Sandblom, J., Jones, S., Stigsdotter Neely, A., Petersson, K. M., Ingvar, M., & Bäckman, L. (2003). Neural correlates of training-related memory improvement in adulthood and aging. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 100(23), 13728-13733. doi:10.1073/pnas.1735487100.
Cognitive studies show that both younger and older adults can increase their memory performance after training in using a visuospatial mnemonic, although age-related memory deficits tend to be magnified rather than reduced after training. Little is known about the changes in functional brain activity that accompany training-induced memory enhancement, and whether age-related activity changes are associated with the size of training-related gains. Here, we demonstrate that younger adults show increased activity during memory encoding in occipito-parietal and frontal brain regions after learning the mnemonic. Older adults did not show increased frontal activity, and only those elderly persons who benefited from the mnemonic showed increased occipitoparietal activity. These findings suggest that age-related differences in cognitive reserve capacity may reflect both a frontal processing deficiency and a posterior production deficiency.
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