Social networks are known to protect cognitive function in old age. For the first time, this study examines how social network size and social network embeddedness measured by k-core score are associated with functional connectivity in the brain using the complete social network of an entire village. According to the results, social network size has both positive and negative associations with functional connectivity; showing no meaningful pattern relative to distance among brain regions. However, older adults deeply embedded in the complete network tend to maintain functional connectivity between long-distance regions even after controlling for other covariates such as age, gender, education, and Mini-Mental State Examination score. Network Based Statistics (NBS) also revealed strong and consistent evidence that social network embeddedness has component-level associations with functional connectivity among brain regions, especially between inferior prefrontal and occipital/parietal lobes.
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© 2017 The Author(s).
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