Disrupted Neural Synchrony Mediates the Relationship between White Matter Integrity and Cognitive Performance in Older Adultsedit
Our main goal was to determine the influence of white matter integrity on the dynamic coupling between brain regions and the individual variability of cognitive performance in older adults. Electroencephalography was recorded while participants performed a task specifically designed to engage working memory and inhibitory processes, and the associations among functional activity, structural integrity, and cognitive performance were assessed. We found that the association between white matter microstructural integrity and cognitive functioning with aging is mediated by time-varying alpha and gamma phase-locking value. Specifically, better preservation of the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus in older individuals drives faster task-related modulations of alpha and gamma long-range phase-locking value between the inferior frontal gyrus and occipital lobe and lower local phase-amplitude coupling in occipital lobes, which in turn drives better cognitive control performance. Our results help delineate the role of individual variability of white matter microstructure in dynamic synchrony and cognitive performance during normal aging.