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Ruiz-Rizzo, Adriana L. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1467-0745; Sorg, Christian; Napiorkowski, Natan; Neitzel, Julia; Menegaux, Aurore; Müller, Hermann J. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4774-5654; Vangkilde, Signe and Finke, Kathrin ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8546-7141 (January 2019): Decreased cingulo-opercular network functional connectivity mediates the impact of aging on visual processing speed. In: Neurobiology of Aging, Vol. 73: pp. 50-60 [PDF, 1MB]

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The neural factors that account for the visual processing-speed reduction in aging are incompletely understood. Based on previous reports of age-related decreases in the intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC) within the cingulo-opercular network and its relevance for processing speed, we hypothesized that these decreases are associated with age-related reductions in visual processing speed. We used a whole-report task and modeling based on Bundesen’s ‘theory of visual attention’ to parameterize visual processing speed in 91 healthy participants from 20 to 77 years old. iFC was estimated using independent-component analysis of resting-state fMRI data. From the clusters within the cingulo-opercular network exhibiting age-related decreased iFC, we found a cluster in the left insula to be particularly associated with visual processing speed and to mediate the age effect on visual speed. This mediation was not observed for age-related decreased iFC in other networks or for other attentional parameters. Our results point to the iFC in the cingulo-opercular network, represented by the left insula, as being a relevant marker for visual processing-speed changes in aging.

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