Chapter

BOLD Functional MRI and Cognitive Aging

Adam H. Gazzaley and Mark D’Esposito

in Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780195156744
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199864171 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195156744.003.0005
 							BOLD Functional MRI and Cognitive Aging

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This chapter focuses on potential confounding factors in the interpretation of the blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal in fMRI studies of cognitive aging. Studies generally attribute age-related changes in BOLD signal to age-related changes in neural activity, thereby assuming that the coupling between BOLD signal and neural activity is the same for young and older adults. However, this coupling may be altered by age-related changes in the neurovascular system and by comorbidities associated with aging. Age-related changes of the neurovascular system likely to affect the BOLD signal include changes in ultrastructure (e.g., sclerosis), resting cerebral blood flow (CBF), vascular reactivity, and cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen consumption. The BOLD signal may also be affected by comorbidities associated with aging, such as leukoariosis and small strokes, and by medications.

Keywords: BOLD; fMRI; aging brain; cognition; CBF; vascular reactivity; oxygen consumption

Chapter.  10996 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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