Publication Date

2018-11-30

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2019-11-30

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2018-08-02

First Committee Member

Roger C. McIntosh

Second Committee Member

Lucina Q. Uddin

Third Committee Member

Bonnie Levin

Abstract

Successful Agers (SA) are older adults (aged > 65 years) with cognitive function comparable to healthy adults aged 20-30 years younger. These individuals demonstrate preserved volume of the hippocampus and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), cortical regions supporting episodic memory, with advancing age. Since fMRI studies reveal lower resting state functional brain connectivity (rsFC) of these structures in individuals with episodic memory loss and cardiovascular disease, it is possible lower connectivity of these episodic memory hubs may be associated with SA status and lowered risk for developing cardiovascular disease. In this study, a seed-to-seed connectivity analysis of rsFC between the left and right of the hippocampus and PCC was performed on a group of 20 SA and 18 age-matched controls in order to determine whether SA status or tenyear risk for developing cardiovascular disease, i.e. Framingham Risk Score (FRS), predict the magnitude of rsFC between these hubs. The second aim was to test the interaction of FRS and SA status on rsFC between these hubs. SA status predicted 16% of the variance in rsFC between the left hippocampus and right PCC F(2,35) = 3.16, p = 0.05) after accounting for age. FRS score accounted for 8.8% of the variance in rsFC between the left hippocampus and right PCC F(2,33) = 3.568 p = 0.05). Increased connectivity between the left hippocampus and right PCC was associated with SA status and cardiovascular risk but not by the interaction of these factors, suggesting the effect of SA status on rsFC of these episodic memory hubs is independent of Framingham Risk.

Keywords

Successful Aging, fMRI, resting-state, CVD, cognitive neuroscience

Available for download on Saturday, November 30, 2019

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