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Boston, MA, United States

Zhuravleva T.Y.,Center for Brain Mind Medicine | Alperin B.R.,Center for Brain Mind Medicine | Haring A.E.,Center for Brain Mind Medicine | Rentz D.M.,Center for Brain Mind Medicine | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology | Year: 2014

SUMMARY:: Previous research demonstrating age-related deficits in selective attention have not included old-old adults, an increasingly important group to study. The current investigation compared event-related potentials in 15 young-old (65-79 years old) and 23 old-old (80-99 years old) subjects during a color-selective attention task. Subjects responded to target letters in a specified color (Attend) while ignoring letters in a different color (Ignore) under both low and high loads. There were no group differences in visual acuity, accuracy, reaction time, or latency of early event-related potential components. The old-old group showed a disruption in bottom-up processing, indexed by a substantially diminished posterior N1 (smaller amplitude). They also demonstrated markedly decreased modulation of bottom-up processing based on selected visual features, indexed by the posterior selection negativity (SN), with similar attenuation under both loads. In contrast, there were no group differences in frontally mediated attentional selection, measured by the anterior selection positivity (SP). There was a robust inverse relationship between the size of the SN and SP (the smaller the SN, the larger the SP), which may represent an anteriorly supported compensatory mechanism. In the absence of a decline in top-down modulation indexed by the SP, the diminished SN may reflect age-related degradation of early bottom-up visual processing in old-old adults. Copyright © 2014 by the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society.

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