Age-related delay in visual and auditory evoked responses is mediated by white- and grey-matter differences

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Abstract

Slowing is a common feature of ageing, yet a direct relationship between neural slowing and brain atrophy is yet to be established in healthy humans. We combine magnetoencephalo-graphic (MEG) measures of neural processing speed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures of white and grey matter in a large population-derived cohort to investigate the relationship between age-related structural differences and visual evoked field (VEF) and auditory evoked field (AEF) delay across two different tasks. Here we use a novel technique to show that VEFs exhibit a constant delay, whereas AEFs exhibit delay that accumulates over time. White-matter (WM) microstructure in the optic radiation partially mediates visual delay, suggesting increased transmission time, whereas grey matter (GM) in auditory cortex partially mediates auditory delay, suggesting less efficient local processing. Our results demonstrate that age has dissociable effects on neural processing speed, and that these effects relate to different types of brain atrophy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15671
Number of pages12
JournalNature Communications
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • COGNITIVE PROCESSING SPEED
  • GAUSSIAN WATER DIFFUSION
  • PATTERN
  • LATENCY
  • MYELIN
  • FACES
  • INFORMATION
  • PLASTICITY
  • SYSTEM

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