ABSTRACT: An important question in healthcare for older patients is whether age-related changes in cortical reorganization can be measured with advancing age. This study investigated the factors behind such age-related changes, using time-frequency analysis of event-related potentials (ERPs). We hypothesized that brain rhythms was affected by age-related changes, which could be reflected in the ERP indices. An oddball task was conducted in two experimental groups, namely young participants (N=15; mean age 23.7±2.8 years) and older participants (N=15; mean age 70.1±7.9 years). Two types of stimuli were used: the target (1 kHz frequency) and standard (2 kHz frequency). We scrutinized three ERP indices: event-related spectral power (ERPSP), inter-trial phase-locking (ITPL), and event-related cross-phase coherence (ERPCOH). Both groups performed equally well for correct response rate. However, the results revealed a statistically significant age difference for inter-trial comparison. Compared with the young, the older participants showed the following age-related changes: (a) power activity decreased; however, an increase was found only in the late (P3, 280-450 ms) theta (4-7 Hz) component over the bilateral frontal and temporo-frontal areas; (b) low phase-locking in the early (N1, 80-140 ms) theta band over the parietal/frontal (right) regions appeared; (c) the functional connections decreased in the alpha (7-13 Hz) and beta (13-30 Hz) bands, but no difference emerged in the theta band between the two groups. These results indicate that age-related changes in task-specific brain activity for a normal aging population can be depicted using the three ERP indices.
Neuroscience Letters 12/2011; 507(1):78-83. · 2.11 Impact Factor