Poster A121, Saturday, March 24, 1:30–3:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Socioeconomic status moderates age-related differences in brain anatomy and functional network organization across the adult lifespan
Micaela Chan1, Jinkyung Na2, Phillip Agres1, Neil Savalia1, Denise Park1,3, Gagan Wig1,3; 1University of Texas at Dallas, 2Sogang University, 3University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
An individual’s environmental surroundings interact with the development and maturation of their brain structure and function. An important feature of an individual’s environment is his or her socioeconomic status (SES), which estimates material resources and social prestige. Previous characterizations of the relation between SES and the brain have primarily focused on the earliest or latest epochs of an individual’s lifespan (e.g., during childhood or older age). We broaden this work to examine how SES impacts brain anatomy and function across the adult lifespan, including individuals from the often-ignored middle-age range (20-89y; N=323). SES, as defined by education and occupation prestige, moderated age-related differences in whole brain structure and functional network organization defined at rest. Controlling for gender, race, physical health (e.g., smoking, alcohol usage, hypertension), depression and well-being, participants with lower SES exhibited reduced cortical gray matter thickness and lower resting-state system segregation (a measure of effective functional network organization) compared to higher SES participants in middle adulthood (35-64y). Interestingly, SES-related brain differences were minimal in younger and older adulthood, the latter of which may be due to selection effects. The SES-related brain observations were absent when participants were stratified using measures of their parental-SES. These findings provide evidence that SES relates to brain anatomy and function beyond the earliest years of life, and that higher SES may serve as a protective factor against early development of age-related brain decline.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Development & aging