The association between cognitive reserve and performance-related brain activity during episodic encoding and retrieval across the adult lifespan.

TitleThe association between cognitive reserve and performance-related brain activity during episodic encoding and retrieval across the adult lifespan.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsElshiekh A, Subramaniapillai S, Rajagopal S, Pasvanis S, Ankudowich E, M Rajah N
JournalCortex
Volume129
Pagination296-313
Date Published2020 Aug
ISSN1973-8102
Abstract

Remembering associations between encoded items and their contextual setting is a feature of episodic memory. Although this ability generally deteriorates with age, there is substantial variability in how older individuals perform on episodic memory tasks. A current topic of debate in the cognitive neuroscience of aging literature revolves around whether this variability may stem from genetic and/or environmental factors related to reserve, allowing some individuals to compensate for age-related decline through differential recruitment of brain regions. In this fMRI study spanning a large adult lifespan sample (N = 154), we tested whether higher cognitive reserve was associated with better task-fMRI context memory performance, and functional compensatory activity patterns in the aging brain. We used multivariate Behaviour Partial Least Squares (B-PLS) analysis to examine how age, retrieval accuracy, and a proxy measure of cognitive reserve [i.e., a composite score consisting of years of education (EDU) and crystallized IQ], impacted brain activity during the encoding and retrieval of spatial and temporal contextual details. The results indicated that age-related increases in encoding activity within anterior and lateral frontal, inferior parietal, occipito-temporal and medial temporal cortices, was correlated with better subsequent memory performance; and may be indicative of age-related functional compensation at encoding. Interestingly this compensatory pattern was not correlated with our proxy measure of cognitive reserve but was associated with total brain volume (a measure of brain reserve). However, cognitive reserve was associated with age-invariant and task-general activity in superior temporal, occipital, and left inferior frontal regions. We conclude that the relationship between cognitive reserve, brain reserve and age-related functional compensation is complex, and that EDU and IQ may not fully account for individual differences in cognitive reserve when studying well educated, healthy aging cohorts.

DOI10.1016/j.cortex.2020.05.003
Alternate JournalCortex
PubMed ID32535380