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Cognition’s dependence on functional network integrity with age is conditional on structural network integrity



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Liu, Xulin 
Tyler, Lorraine 


Maintaining good cognitive function is crucial for well-being across the lifespan. We proposed that the degree of cognitive maintenance is determined by the functional interactions within and between large-scale brain networks. Such connectivity can be represented by the white matter architecture of structural brain networks that shape intrinsic neuronal activity into integrated and distributed functional networks. We explored how the function-structure connectivity convergence, and the divergence of functional connectivity from structural connectivity, contribute to the maintenance of cognitive function across the adult lifespan. Multivariate analyses were used to investigate the relationship between function-structure connectivity convergence and divergence with multivariate cognitive profiles, respectively. Cognitive function was increasingly dependent on function-structure connectivity convergence as age increased. The dependency of cognitive function on connectivity was particularly strong for high-order cortical networks and subcortical networks. The results suggest that brain functional network integrity sustains cognitive functions in old age, as a function of the integrity of the brain’s structural connectivity.




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Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/H008217/1)
Wellcome Trust (103838/Z/14/Z)
European Commission (732592)
National Institute for Health and Care Research (IS-BRC-1215-20014)