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Local and global network interactions in the aging brain and their effect on motor performance. (R-11613)

Normal aging is associated with a decline in motor functions, impacting quality of life and the ability to live independently. These functional changes are partly caused by age-related changes in the brain. However, it remains unclear how age-related changes in brain structure, function, and connectivity affect motor performance. Here, we study how age-related alterations in structural and functional brain interactions may account for deficits in motor behavior. On the one hand, we focus on the interaction between dedicated brain areas constituting the motor network involved in movement control. These interactions will be investigated within as well as across both hemispheres of the brain. On the other hand, we adopt a more global perspective by looking into age-related changes in the interactions among the different resting-state networks to arrive at a measure of neural dedifferentiation. Finally, we embark on training-induced neuroplasticity in the aging brain and study (a) which structural and functional brain measures predict future learning and (b) how both behavioral and brain measures are altered as a result of learning. This research project requires deployment of a combination of noninvasive brain stimulation and multimodal imaging techniques. We aim at contributing to the fundamental motor neuroscience of aging and to a body of knowledge that may inspire future training programs that alleviate or counteract functional decline with advancing age.
Date:1 Jan 2021  →  Today
Keywords:Aging, Motor coordination, Neuroplasticity (human)
Disciplines:Neurophysiology, Neurosciences not elsewhere classified