Biological Systems Engineering
Date of this Version
NeuroImage 271 (2023) 120020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2023.120020 .
For decades, visual entrainment paradigms have been widely used to investigate basic visual processing in healthy individuals and those with neurological disorders. While healthy aging is known to be associated with alterations in visual processing, whether this extends to visual entrainment responses and the precise cortical regions involved is not fully understood. Such knowledge is imperative given the recent surge in interest surrounding the use of flicker stimulation and entrainment in the context of identifying and treating Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In the current study, we examined visual entrainment in eighty healthy aging adults using magnetoencephalography (MEG) and a 15 Hz entrainment paradigm, while controlling for age-related cortical thinning. MEG data were imaged using a time-frequency resolved beamformer and peak voxel time series were extracted to quantify the oscillatory dynamics underlying the processing of the visual flicker stimuli. We found that, as age increased, the mean amplitude of entrainment responses decreased and the latency of these responses increased. However, there was no effect of age on the trial-to-trial consistency in phase (i.e., inter-trial phase locking) nor amplitude (i.e., coefficient of variation) of these visual responses. Importantly, we discovered that the relationship between age and response amplitude was fully mediated by the latency of visual processing. These results indicate that aging is associated with robust changes in the latency and amplitude of visual entrainment responses within regions surrounding the calcarine fissure, which should be considered in studies examining neurological disorders such as AD and other conditions associated with increased age.
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