Review

Language in the aging brain: The network dynamics of cognitive decline and preservation

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Science  31 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6209, pp. 583-587
DOI: 10.1126/science.1254404

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Abstract

Language is a crucial and complex lifelong faculty, underpinned by dynamic interactions within and between specialized brain networks. Whereas normal aging impairs specific aspects of language production, most core language processes are robust to brain aging. We review recent behavioral and neuroimaging evidence showing that language systems remain largely stable across the life span and that both younger and older adults depend on dynamic neural responses to linguistic demands. Although some aspects of network dynamics change with age, there is no consistent evidence that core language processes are underpinned by different neural networks in younger and older adults.

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