Presumably then, lower volume of the left PFC and integrity of the CC leads to impaired trans-callosal inhibition and additional recruitment of the right PFC found in functional MRI (fMRI) studies. We shall refer to this as the inhibitory hypothesis. However, another possible interpretation
is that of partial compensation ( Duverne et al., 2009 and Rossi et al., 2004), which suggests that whatever auxiliary processing is facilitated by the additional activation found in some older people is not sufficient to fully replicate a normally-functioning network, but would lead to much poorer performance if this alternative cognitive route were not available. We shall find more refer to this as the partial compensation hypothesis. Predictions from these two hypotheses can be formalised and usefully tested by examining the neurostructural correlates of verbal memory performance in older age. We address this question from the following viewpoint: Disruption
to one or more components of the large-scale brain network involved in memory may disrupt the state of normal parallel processing necessary to support unhindered performance (Bressler and Menon, 2010 and Mesulam, 1990). Accumulated brain insults over the life course may well be such a mechanism of disruption. For each component of the large-scale memory network, such insults can be broadly indexed by individual differences in diffusion and structural MRI measures (white matter tract integrity parameters
and regional brain volumes controlled for intracranial volume). We shall therefore use structural brain measures of an Daporinad in vivo a priori selection of memory network components (hippocampus, CC and lateral frontal lobe) to test competing accounts of frontal lobe involvement in verbal memory performance among Bay 11-7085 a group of healthy older adults in their early 70s. We first aim to verify that left frontal lobe, hippocampus and CC constitute parts of a memory network and that each contributes unique variance to memory performance (Bressler and Menon, 2010 and Mesulam, 1990). The inhibitory hypothesis would predict positive associations between memory ability and indices of left lateral frontal lobe and anterior CC (genu; Buckner and Logan, 2002, Logan et al., 2002 and Persson et al., 2006; Sullivan & Pfefferbaum, 2007). Furthermore, a significant positive relationship between right frontal volume and memory ability would be incompatible with the inhibitory hypothesis, which suggests no benefit to verbal memory performance from a larger right frontal lobe. Conversely, the partial compensation hypothesis (Duverne et al., 2009 and Rossi et al., 2004) would assert that larger volume of the area providing auxiliary processing (in this case, the right frontal lobe) would positively associate with memory score, but only for poorer performers, who putatively rely on its compensatory function.