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Publication Detail
Cortical thickness changes following spatial navigation training in adulthood and aging.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Wenger E, Schaefer S, Noack H, Kühn S, Mårtensson J, Heinze H-J, Düzel E, Bäckman L, Lindenberger U, Lövdén M
  • Publication date:
    15/02/2012
  • Pagination:
    3389, 3397
  • Journal:
    Neuroimage
  • Volume:
    59
  • Issue:
    4
  • Status:
    Published
  • Country:
    United States
  • PII:
    S1053-8119(11)01296-1
  • Language:
    eng
  • Keywords:
    Adult, Age Factors, Aged, Aging, Cerebral Cortex, Extraterrestrial Environment, Humans, Learning, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Neuronal Plasticity, Young Adult
Abstract
A widespread network involving cortical and subcortical brain structures forms the neural substrate of human spatial navigation. Most studies investigating plasticity of this network have focused on the hippocampus. Here, we investigate age differences in cortical thickness changes evoked by four months of spatial navigation training in 91 men aged 20-30 or 60-70 years. Cortical thickness was automatically measured before, immediately after, and four months after termination of training. Younger as well as older navigators evidenced large improvements in navigation performance that were partly maintained after termination of training. Importantly, training-related cortical thickening in left precuneus and paracentral lobule were observed in young navigators only. Thus, spatial navigation training appears to affect cortical brain structure of young adults, but there is reduced potential for experience-dependent cortical alterations in old age.
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