Enriching activities during childhood are associated with variations in functional connectivity patterns later in life

Timothy P. Morris, Laura Chaddock-Heyman, Meishan Ai, Sheeba Arnold Anteraper, Alfonso Nieto Castañon, Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli, Charles H. Hillman, Edward McAuley, Arthur F. Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Enriching early life experiences (e.g., sport, art, music, volunteering, language learning) during a critical period of brain development may promote structural and functional brain changes that are still present decades later (>60 years). We assessed whether a greater variety of enriching early life activities (EELA) before age 13 years were associated with individual differences in cortical and subcortical (hippocampus and amygdala) structure and function later in life (older adults aged 60–80 years). Results indicated no association between EELA and amygdala and hippocampus volumes, but higher functional connectivity between the amygdala and the insula was associated with more variety of EELA. EELA was not associated with cortical thickness controlling for sex, but sex-specific associations with the right pars opercularis were found. EELA was further associated with variations in functional connectivity patterns of the orbitofrontal cortex, driven by connecitivty to regions within the visual, somatosensory and limbic networks. Early life enriching activities appear to contribute to potential mechanisms of cognitive reserve (functional processes) more so than brain reserve (structure) later in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-101
Number of pages10
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Volume104
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Enrichment
  • Functional connectivity
  • Multivoxel pattern analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Developmental Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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