, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 317-331
Date: 16 Sep 2009

Age-Related Changes in Motor Control During Unimanual Movements

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Event related fMRI was used to investigate age-related changes in BOLD activity during the execution of right hand finger movements in internally or externally guided tasks. All of the younger adults exhibited typical (positive) BOLD responses in supplementary motor areas (SMA) bilaterally, and in the left sensorimotor cortex. Negative BOLD responses were found, however, in the right sensorimotor cortex of the younger adults. In contrast, all but one of the older adults had positive BOLD responses in SMA and sensorimotor cortex of both hemispheres. Across both tasks, older adults showed increased activity (relative to younger adults) in right ventrolateral premotor and medial premotor areas, but more so during the internally guided task. Overall, these results suggest age-related changes in motor control. The younger adults’ hemispheric asymmetry and the lack thereof in older adults suggest a fundamental change in interhemispheric communication as part of the normal aging process.