Whole-cortical graphical networks at wakeful rest in young and older adults revealed by functional near-infrared spectroscopy

Lin Li, Olajide Babawale, Amarnath Yennu, Cynthia Trowbridge, Ryan Hulla, Robert J. Gatchel, Hanli Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A good understanding of age-dependent changes and modifications in brain networks is crucial for fully exploring the effects of aging on the human brain. Few reports have been found in studies of functional brain networks using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Moreover, little is known about the feasibility of using fNIRS to assess age-related changes in brain connectomes. This study applied whole brain fNIRS measurement, combined with graph theory analysis, to assess the age-dependent changes in resting-state brain networks. Five to eight minutes of resting-state brain hemodynamic signals were recorded from 48 participants (18 young adults and 30 older adults) with 133 optical channels covering the majority of the cortical regions. Both local and global graph metrics were computed to identify the age-related changes of topographical brain networks. Older adults showed an overall decline of both global and local efficiency compared to young adults, as well as the decline of small-worldness. In addition, young adults showed the abundance of hubs in the prefrontal cortex, whereas older adults revealed the hub shifts to the sensorimotor cortex. These obvious shifts of hubs may potentially indicate decreases of the decision-making, memory, and other high-order functions as people age. Our results showed consistent findings with published literature and also demonstrated the feasibility of whole-head fNIRS measurements to assess age-dependent changes in resting-state brain networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number035004
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • aging
  • functional brain networks
  • graph theory
  • young and older adults


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