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Kochi, Japan

Nakano K.,University of Tokyo | Park K.,Kochi University of Technology | Park K.,Brain Checkup Center | Zheng R.,University of Tokyo | And 10 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Background: Leukoaraiosis is defined as extracellular space caused mainly by atherosclerotic or demyelinated changes in the brain tissue and is commonly found in the brains of healthy older people. A significant association between leukoaraiosis and traffic crashes was reported in our previous study; however, the reason for this is still unclear. Copyright:Method: This paper presents a comprehensive evaluation of driving performance in ordinary older drivers with leukoaraiosis. First, the degree of leukoaraiosis was examined in 33 participants, who underwent an actual-vehicle driving examination on a standard driving course, and a driver skill rating was also collected while the driver carried out a paced auditory serial addition test, which is a calculating task given verbally. At the same time, a steering entropy method was used to estimate steering operation performance.Results: The experimental results indicated that a normal older driver with leukoaraiosis was readily affected by external disturbances and made more operation errors and steered less smoothly than one without leukoaraiosis during driving; at the same time, their steering skill significantly deteriorated.Conclusions: Leukoaraiosis worsens the driving performance of older drivers because of their increased vulnerability to distraction. © 2014 Nakano et al.

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