A Quantitative Study of Network Robustness in Resting-State fMRI in Young and Elder Adults

Jaime Gomez-Ramirez, Yujie Li, Qiong Wu, Jinglong Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Brain connectivity analysis has shown great promise in understanding how aging affects functional connectivity; however, an explanatory framework to study healthy aging in terms of network efficiency is still missing. Here, we study network robustness, i.e., resilience to perturbations, in resting-state functional connectivity networks (rs-fMRI) in young and elder subjects. We apply analytic measures of network communication efficiency in the human brain to investigate the compensatory mechanisms elicited in aging. Specifically, we quantify the effect of “lesioning” (node canceling) of either single regions of interest (ROI) or whole networks on global connectivity metrics (i.e., efficiency). We find that young individuals are more resilient than old ones to random “lesioning” of brain areas; global network efficiency is over 3 times lower in older subjects relative to younger subjects. On the other hand, the “lesioning” of central and limbic structures in young subjects yield a larger efficiency loss than in older individuals. Overall, our study shows a more idiosyncratic response to specific brain network “lesioning” in elder compared to young subjects, and that young adults are more resilient to random deletion of single nodes compared to old adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article number256
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - Feb 3 2016


  • network degeneration hypothesis
  • network efficiency
  • network robustness
  • normal aging
  • resting-state fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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