The normal ageing of people leads to alterations in the functional connectivity of various neural networks to the brain that can cause cognitive impairment. This is the conclusion of research in which the University of Lleida (UdL) and the Institute for Biomedical Research of Lleida (IRBLleida) have participated and which has been published in the journal Cerebral Cortex. In the study, led by researchers from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), experts from the Institute of Biomedical Research of Girona (IDIGBI) and the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg (Canada) have also given birth.

Reinald Pamplona, professor at the UdL and researcher in charge of the Metabolic Physiopathology research group at IRBLleida, has participated in this work, linked to the Aging Imageomics Study project, which focuses on identifying biomarkers of human aging through image analysis. They apply computational / theoretical measurements of the whole brain in combination with neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) and diffusion imaging (DTI).

Using phase synchronisation of blood oxygen level-dependent signals and functional magnetic resonance imaging data at rest, scientists have analysed the activity of higher brain functions in 620 people who were in turn divided into two age groups (50-64 and 65-91). They have shown that the brains of the older subjects had more problems in their neural networks to transport certain stimuli to other regions, a fact that can be translated into a deterioration of the capacities to build and reason.

"These findings suggest that the functional dynamics of the whole brain are altered with ageing probably due to a deficiency in a metastable substate which is the key to global and efficient communication in the brain," they say to the conclusions.

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