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Socioeconomic status moderates age-related differences in the brain’s functional network organization and anatomy across the adult lifespan2

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General Reference
author-supplied keywords
keywords
authors
title
Socioeconomic status moderates age-related differences in the brain’s functional network organization and anatomy across the adult lifespan
type
journal
year
2018
source
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
pages
E5144-E5153
volume
115
issue
22
publisher
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Abstract

© 2018, The Institute of Navigation, Inc. All rights reserved. An individual’s environmental surroundings interact with the development and maturation of their brain. An important aspect of an individual’s environment is his or her socioeconomic status (SES), which estimates access to material resources and social prestige. Previous characterizations of the relation between SES and the brain have primarily focused on earlier or later epochs of the lifespan (i.e., childhood, older age). We broaden this work to examine the relationship between SES and the brain across a wide range of human adulthood (20–89 years), including individuals from the less studied middle-age range. SES, defined by education attainment and occupational socioeconomic characteristics, moderates previously reported age-related differences in the brain’s functional network organization and whole-brain cortical structure. Across middle age (35–64 years), lower SES is associated with reduced resting-state system segregation (a measure of effective functional network organization). A similar but less robust relationship exists between SES and age with respect to brain anatomy: Lower SES is associated with reduced cortical gray matter thickness in middle age. Conversely, younger and older adulthood do not exhibit consistent SES-related difference in the brain measures. The SES–brain relationships persist after controlling for measures of physical and mental health, cognitive ability, and participant demographics. Critically, an individual’s childhood SES cannot account for the relationship between their current SES and functional network organization. These findings provide evidence that SES relates to the brain’s functional network organization and anatomy across adult middle age, and that higher SES may be a protective factor against age-related brain decline.

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Identifiers

  • doi: 10.1073/pnas.1714021115 (Google search)
  • issn: 0027-8424
  • scopus: 2-s2.0-85048024010

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