Ageing makes the networks in our brain less specific. Linda Geerligs, one of my PhD students, used connectivity analysis of fMRI results to prove that the connections in our brain change as we grow older.
When compared with their younger counterparts, connectivity in the brain networks of older people decreases, while connectivity between brain networks increases. Linda also found evidence to suggest that the decrease in connectivity in the brain networks corresponds with slower reaction times and declining memory among the elderly. The research findings have been published online in Human Brain Mapping on Thursday 23 August.
The insights provided by this kind of fundamental research are very interesting. If we can discover exactly what changes in the brain during the ageing process and what the effects of these changes are, this will give us new leads for finding new treatments for elderly people with concentration and memory problems.