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Age-related memory impairment associated with loss of parietal deactivation but preserved hippocampal activation.

The neural underpinnings of age-related memory impairment remain to be fully elucidated. Using a subsequent memory face-name functional MRI (fMRI) paradigm, young and old adults showed a similar magnitude and extent of hippocampal activation during successful associative encoding. Young adults demonstrated greater deactivation (task-induced decrease in BOLD signal) in medial parietal regions during successful compared with failed encoding, whereas old adults as a group did not demonstrate a differential pattern of deactivation between trial types. The failure of deactivation was particularly evident in old adults who performed poorly on the memory task. These low-performing old adults demonstrated greater hippocampal and prefrontal activation to achieve successful encoding trials, possibly as a compensatory response. Findings suggest that successful encoding requires the coordination of neural activity in hippocampal, prefrontal, and parietal regions, and that age-related memory impairment may be primarily related to a loss of deactivation in medial parietal regions.

Pubmed ID: 18238903


  • Miller SL
  • Celone K
  • DePeau K
  • Diamond E
  • Dickerson BC
  • Rentz D
  • Pihlajam√§ki M
  • Sperling RA


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Publication Data

February 12, 2008

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NIA NIH HHS, Id: P50-AG00513421
  • Agency: NIA NIH HHS, Id: R01 AG027435
  • Agency: NIA NIH HHS, Id: R01 AG027435-03
  • Agency: NIA NIH HHS, Id: R01-AG027435

Mesh Terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Female
  • Hippocampus
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders
  • Middle Aged
  • Parietal Lobe