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Hippocampal activity during the transverse patterning task declines with cognitive competence but not with age.

Leirer VM, Wienbruch C, Paul-Jordanov I, Kolassa S, Elbert T, Kolassa IT - BMC Neurosci (2010)

Bottom Line: Better performance in several tests of verbal memory, verbal fluency and executive function was indeed associated with higher hippocampal neural activity.Age, however, was not related to the strength of hippocampal neural activity: elderly participants responded slower than younger individuals but on average produced the same neural mass activity.Our results suggest that in non-pathological aging, hippocampal neural activity does not decrease with age but is rather related to cognitive competence.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Clinical Psychology & Neuropsychology, University of Konstanz, Universitätsstr, 10, Konstanz, Germany. vera.leirer@uni-konstanz.de

ABSTRACT

Background: The hippocampus is a brain region that is particularly affected by age-related morphological changes. It is generally assumed that a loss in hippocampal volume results in functional deficits that contribute to age-related cognitive decline. In a combined cross-sectional behavioural and magnetoencephalography (MEG) study we investigated whether hippocampal-associated neural current flow during a transverse patterning task - which requires learning relational associations between stimuli - correlates with age and whether it is modulated by cognitive competence.

Results: Better performance in several tests of verbal memory, verbal fluency and executive function was indeed associated with higher hippocampal neural activity. Age, however, was not related to the strength of hippocampal neural activity: elderly participants responded slower than younger individuals but on average produced the same neural mass activity.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that in non-pathological aging, hippocampal neural activity does not decrease with age but is rather related to cognitive competence.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Stimuli of the Rock, Paper, Scissors (S+P-, P+R-, R+S-) and the Transverse Patterning (B+Y-, Y+R-, R+B-) task.
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Figure 1: Stimuli of the Rock, Paper, Scissors (S+P-, P+R-, R+S-) and the Transverse Patterning (B+Y-, Y+R-, R+B-) task.

Mentions: The two tasks and the basic design that were used in this experiment were adapted from the study of Hanlon and colleagues [50,51]: the Rock, Paper, Scissors task (RPS) and the Transverse Patterning task (TP) (Figure 1). The well-known childhood game "Rock, Paper, Scissors" is an analogous task to the TP task with meaningful stimuli and relations. It was chosen as a training task to familiarize subjects with the underlying logic of transverse patterning designs.


Hippocampal activity during the transverse patterning task declines with cognitive competence but not with age.

Leirer VM, Wienbruch C, Paul-Jordanov I, Kolassa S, Elbert T, Kolassa IT - BMC Neurosci (2010)

Stimuli of the Rock, Paper, Scissors (S+P-, P+R-, R+S-) and the Transverse Patterning (B+Y-, Y+R-, R+B-) task.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2944355&req=5

Figure 1: Stimuli of the Rock, Paper, Scissors (S+P-, P+R-, R+S-) and the Transverse Patterning (B+Y-, Y+R-, R+B-) task.
Mentions: The two tasks and the basic design that were used in this experiment were adapted from the study of Hanlon and colleagues [50,51]: the Rock, Paper, Scissors task (RPS) and the Transverse Patterning task (TP) (Figure 1). The well-known childhood game "Rock, Paper, Scissors" is an analogous task to the TP task with meaningful stimuli and relations. It was chosen as a training task to familiarize subjects with the underlying logic of transverse patterning designs.

Bottom Line: Better performance in several tests of verbal memory, verbal fluency and executive function was indeed associated with higher hippocampal neural activity.Age, however, was not related to the strength of hippocampal neural activity: elderly participants responded slower than younger individuals but on average produced the same neural mass activity.Our results suggest that in non-pathological aging, hippocampal neural activity does not decrease with age but is rather related to cognitive competence.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Clinical Psychology & Neuropsychology, University of Konstanz, Universitätsstr, 10, Konstanz, Germany. vera.leirer@uni-konstanz.de

ABSTRACT

Background: The hippocampus is a brain region that is particularly affected by age-related morphological changes. It is generally assumed that a loss in hippocampal volume results in functional deficits that contribute to age-related cognitive decline. In a combined cross-sectional behavioural and magnetoencephalography (MEG) study we investigated whether hippocampal-associated neural current flow during a transverse patterning task - which requires learning relational associations between stimuli - correlates with age and whether it is modulated by cognitive competence.

Results: Better performance in several tests of verbal memory, verbal fluency and executive function was indeed associated with higher hippocampal neural activity. Age, however, was not related to the strength of hippocampal neural activity: elderly participants responded slower than younger individuals but on average produced the same neural mass activity.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that in non-pathological aging, hippocampal neural activity does not decrease with age but is rather related to cognitive competence.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus