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Leinsinger, G.; Born, C.; Meindl, T.; Bokde, A. L. W.; Britsch, S.; Lopez-Bayo, P.; Teipel, S. J.; Möller, Hans-Jürgen; Hampel, H.; Reiser, Maximilian F. (2007): Age-dependent differences in human brain activity using a face- and location-matching task: An fMRI study. In: Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, No. 4: pp. 235-246


Purpose: To evaluate the differences of cortical activation patterns in young and elderly healthy subjects for object and spatial visual processing using a face- and location-matching task. Materials and Methods: We performed a face- and a location-matching task in 15 young (mean age: 28 +/- 9 years) and 19 elderly (mean age: 71 +/- 6 years) subjects. Each experiment consisted of 7 blocks alternating between activation and control condition. For face matching, the subjects had to indicate whether two displayed faces were identical or different. For location matching, the subjects had to press a button whenever two objects had an identical position. For control condition, we used a perception task with abstract images. Functional imaging was performed on a 1.5-tesla scanner using an EPI sequence. Results: In the face-matching task, the young subjects showed bilateral (right 1 left) activation in the occipito-temporal pathway (occipital gyrus, inferior and middle temporal gyrus). Predominantly right hemispheric activations were found in the fusiform gyrus, the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (inferior and middle frontal gyrus) and the superior parietal gyrus. In the elderly subjects, the activated areas in the right fronto-lateral cortex increased. An additional activated area could be found in the medial frontal gyrus (right > left). In the location-matching task, young subjects presented increased bilateral (right > left) activation in the superior parietal lobe and precuneus compared with face matching. The activations in the occipito-temporal pathway, in the right fronto-lateral cortex and the fusiform gyrus were similar to the activations found in the face-matching task. In the elderly subjects, we detected similar activation patterns compared to the young subjects with additional activations in the medial frontal gyrus. Conclusion: Activation patterns for object-based and spatial visual processing were established in the young and elderly healthy subjects. Differences between the elderly and young subjects could be evaluated, especially by using a face-matching task. Copyright (c) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.