Impaired Processing of 3D Motion-Defined Faces in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Healthy Aging: An fMRI Study.
ABSTRACT Mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which shows high risk for conversion to Alzheimer's disease (AD), is accompanied by progressive visual deteriorations that so far are poorly understood. Here, we compared dorsal and ventral visual stream functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activity among amnestic MCI, healthy elderly, and young participants during structure-from-motion (SFM) face categorization performance. Task performance varied with stimulus depth and duration levels and differences among groups were highly correlated with face-related fMRI activation patterns. Young participants showed larger activation to faces than scrambled faces (face sensitivity) in the right fusiform face area (FFA) and right occipital face area (OFA) whereas in elderly, this difference was reduced. Surprisingly, in MCI, scrambled faces elicited larger activation in right FFA/OFA than faces. The latter observation may be related to the additional finding of elevated depth sensitivity in left FFA/OFA of MCI, suggesting that an increased representation of low-level stimulus aspects may impair face perception in MCI. Discriminant function analysis using face and depth sensitivity indices in FFA/OFA classified MCI and healthy elderly with 88.2% accuracy, marking a fundamental distinction between groups. Potentially related findings include altered activation patterns in dorsal-ventral stream integration regions and attention-related networks of MCI patients. Our results highlight aberrant visual and additional potentially compensatory processes that identify dispositions of (preclinical) AD.
- SourceAvailable from: Miguel Castelo-Branco[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The influence of normal aging in early, intermediate and high-level visual processing is still poorly understood. We have addressed this important issue in a large cohort of 653 subjects divided into five distinct age groups, [20;30[, [30;40[, [40;50[, [50;60[and [60;[. We applied a broad range of psychophysical tests, testing distinct levels of the visual hierarchy, from local processing to global integration, using simple gratings (spatial contrast sensitivity -CS- using high temporal/low spatial frequency or intermediate spatial frequency static gratings), color CS using Landolt patches, moving dot stimuli (Local Speed Discrimination) and dot patterns defining 3D objects (3D Structure from Motion, 3D SFM). Aging data were fitted with linear or quadratic regression models, using the adjusted coefficient of determination (R(2) (a)) to quantify the effect of aging. A significant effect of age was found on all visual channels tested, except for the red-green chromatic channel. The high temporal low spatial frequency contrast sensitivity channel showed a mean sensitivity loss of 0.75 dB per decade (R(2) (a) = 0.17, p<0.001), while the lower intermediate spatial frequency channel showed a more pronounced decrease, around 2.35 dB (R(2) (a) = 0.55, p<0.001). Concerning low-level motion perception, speed discrimination decreased 2.71°/s (R(2) (a) = 0.18, p<0.001) and 3.15°/s (R(2) (a) = 0.13, p<0.001) only for short presentations for horizontal and oblique meridians, respectively. The 3D SFM task, requiring high-level integration across dorsal and ventral streams, showed the strongest (quadratic) decrease of motion coherence perception with age, especially when the task was temporally constrained (R(2) (a) = 0.54, p<0.001). These findings show that visual channels are influenced by aging into different extent, with time presenting a critical role, and high-level dorso-ventral dominance of deterioration, which accelerates with aging, in contrast to the other channels that show a linear pattern of deterioration.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e55348. · 3.73 Impact Factor