Anagh Pathak, Vivek Sharma, Dipanjan Roy
Oct 26, 2021
We propose that preservation of functional integration, estimated from measures of neural synchrony, is a key neurocompensatory mechanism associated with healthy human ageing. To support this proposal, we demonstrate how phase-locking at peak alpha frequency from Magnetoencephalography (MEG) data is invariant over lifespan in a large cohort of human participants, aged 18-88 years. Using empirically derived connection topologies from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data, we create an in-silico model of whole-brain alpha dynamics. We show that enhancing inter-areal coupling can cancel the effect of increased axonal transmission delay associated with age-related degeneration of white matter tracts and thus, preserve neural synchrony. Together with analytical solutions for non-biological all-to-all connection scenarios, our model establishes the theoretical principles by which frequency slowing with age, frequently observed in the alpha band in diverse populations, can be viewed as an epiphenomenon of the underlying neurocompensatory mechanisms.