Testing associations between peri-adolescent differences in declarative memory abilities, intrinsic brain networks, and regional cortical thickness in a cross-sectional sample
David Warren1, Nicholas Christopher-Hayes1, Anthony Rangel1, Julia Stephen2, Vince Calhoun2, Yu-Ping Wang3, Tony Wilson1; 1University of Nebraska Medical Center, 2Mind Research Network, 3Tulane University
Childhood and adolescent development are associated with cognitive changes including improvements in declarative memory abilities, but the brain changes supporting memory development are not well understood. Brain variables potentially related to memory development include structural measures (cortical thickness) and functional measures (resting-state functional connectivity [rs-FC]). To address whether these brain variables are associated with age-related changes in memory abilities, we drew on cross-sectional data from the Developmental Chronnecto-Genomics project (Dev-CoG). This project is currently collecting longitudinal cognitive and neuroimaging data from approximately 230 children and adolescents. Here, we used Dev-CoG Year 1 data from children and adolescents (n=109, age=9-15) in a cross-sectional analysis to test whether measures of intrinsic brain function (rs-FC) and brain structure (cortical thickness) were related to age, memory performance, and their interaction. Measures of rs-FC were based on ten minutes of resting-state fMRI data and a hippocampal seed region; cortical thickness was estimated from structural MRI data with FreeSurfer; and memory was assessed with the NIH Toolbox Picture Sequence Memory Test. For rs-FC measures, we observed an overall pattern that broadly resembled the default mode network with significant local differences related to age (widespread), memory performance (lateral parietal), and their interaction (cuneus). Similarly, cortical thickness showed robust, widespread differences with age and some evidence for local differences related to memory performance. Our results support the hypothesis that age-related differences in peri-adolescent memory abilities are related to unique changes in brain structure and brain function.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Development & aging