Episodic memory performance varies in older subjects but underlying biological correlates remain as yet ambiguous. We investigated episodic memory in healthy older individuals ( n =24; mean age: 64.4±6.7 years) without subjective memory complaints or objective cognitive impairment. Episodic memory was assessed with repetitive learning and recall of abstract geometric patterns during fMRI. Group analysis of brain activity during initial learning and maximum recall revealed hippocampal activation. Correlation analysis of brain activation and task performance demonstrated significant hippocampal activity during initial learning and maximum recall in a success-dependent manner. Neither age nor gray matter densities correlated with hippocampal activation. Functional imaging of episodic memory thus permits to detect objectively variability in hippocampal recruitment in healthy aged individuals without subjective memory complaints. Correlation analysis of brain activation and performance during an episodic memory task may be used to determine and follow-up hippocampal malfunction in a very sensitive manner.
Neurobiology of Aging – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2003
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