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GRAPH THEORETICAL NETWORK ANALYSIS TO EXAMINE RESTING STATE FUNCTIONAL CONNECTIVITY IN YOUNGER AND OLDER ADULTS AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH BEHAVIOR
Restricted (Penn State Only)
Gertel, Victoria Haley
Master of Science
Date of Defense:
April 19, 2018
Michele Theresa Diaz, Thesis Advisor
Nancy Anne Coulter Dennis, Committee Member
Frank Gerard Hillary, Committee Member
Older adults experience many differences in their cognition compared to younger adults. One example is more difficulties with language production, which becomes more dysfluent with age. This study aimed to compare resting state functional connectivity in younger and older adults using graph theory in three networks — the language network, the task-positive network, and the task-negative network — to examine the extent to which the underlying structure of the resting state networks predicted task performance and task-based functional activation. Results indicated some group differences in the language and task-negative networks that were predictive of behavioral performance; however, these differences become null after correcting for multiple comparisons. Additionally, this study contains exploratory analyses demonstrating the current issues pertaining to thresholding and edge definition in the field of network science and the effect this has on results.
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