Age-related declines in motor performance are associated with decreased segregation of large-scale resting state brain networks

B R King, P van Ruitenbeek, I Leunissen, K Cuypers, K-F Heise, T Santos Monteiro, L Hermans, O Levin, G Albouy, D Mantini, S P Swinnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aging is typically associated with substantial declines in motor functioning as well as robust changes in the functional organization of brain networks. Previous research has investigated the link between these 2 age-varying factors but examinations were predominantly limited to the functional organization within motor-related brain networks. Little is known about the relationship between age-related behavioral impairments and changes in functional organization at the whole brain (i.e., multiple network) level. This knowledge gap is surprising given that the decreased segregation of brain networks (i.e., increased internetwork connectivity) can be considered a hallmark of the aging process. Accordingly, we investigated the association between declines in motor performance across the adult lifespan (20-75 years) and age-related modulations of functional connectivity within and between resting state networks. Results indicated that stronger internetwork resting state connectivity observed as a function of age was significantly related to worse motor performance. Moreover, performance had a significantly stronger association with the strength of internetwork as compared with intranetwork connectivity, including connectivity within motor networks. These findings suggest that age-related declines in motor performance may be attributed to a breakdown in the functional organization of large-scale brain networks rather than simply age-related connectivity changes within motor-related networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4390–4402
Number of pages13
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number12
Early online date9 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • aging
  • bimanual
  • functional connectivity
  • motor performance
  • resting state
  • TASK

Cite this

King, B. R., van Ruitenbeek, P., Leunissen, I., Cuypers, K., Heise, K-F., Santos Monteiro, T., Hermans, L., Levin, O., Albouy, G., Mantini, D., & Swinnen, S. P. (2018). Age-related declines in motor performance are associated with decreased segregation of large-scale resting state brain networks. Cerebral Cortex, 28(12), 4390–4402.