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Front Aging Neurosci. 2018 Oct 9;10:316. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2018.00316. eCollection 2018.

Increased Functional Brain Network Efficiency During Audiovisual Temporal Asynchrony Integration Task in Aging.

Wang B1,2, Li P1, Li D1, Niu Y1, Yan T3, Li T1, Cao R1, Yan P1, Guo Y1, Yang W4, Ren Y5, Li X6, Wang F7, Yan T8,9,10, Wu J10,11, Zhang H2, Xiang J1.

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College of Computer Science and Technology, Taiyuan University of Technology, Taiyuan, China.
Department of Radiology, First Hospital of Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan, China.
Translational Medicine Research Center, Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan, China.
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education, Hubei University, Wuhan, China.
Medical Humanities College, Guiyang University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guiyang, China.
Suzhou North America High School, Suzhou, China.
Hefei No. 8 Senior High School, Hefei, China.
School of Life Science, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China.
Key Laboratory of Convergence Medical Engineering System and Healthcare Technology, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China.
Key Laboratory of Biomimetic Robots and Systems, Ministry of Education, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China.
Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan.


Audiovisual integration significantly changes over the lifespan, but age-related functional connectivity in audiovisual temporal asynchrony integration tasks remains underexplored. In the present study, electroencephalograms (EEGs) of 27 young adults (22-25 years) and 25 old adults (61-76 years) were recorded during an audiovisual temporal asynchrony integration task with seven conditions [auditory (A), visual (V), AV, A50V, A100V, V50A and V100A]. We calculated the phase lag index (PLI)-weighted connectivity networks modulated by the audiovisual tasks and found that the PLI connections showed obvious dynamic changes after stimulus onset. In the theta (4-7 Hz) and alpha (8-13 Hz) bands, the AV and V50A conditions induced stronger functional connections and higher global and local efficiencies, reflecting a stronger audiovisual integration effect, which was attributed to the auditory information arriving at the primary auditory cortex earlier than the visual information reaching the primary visual cortex. Importantly, the functional connectivity and network efficiencies of old adults revealed higher global and local efficiencies and higher degree in both the theta and alpha bands. These larger network efficiencies indicated that old adults might experience more difficulties in attention and cognitive control during the audiovisual integration task with temporal asynchrony than young adults. There were significant associations between network efficiencies and peak time of integration only in young adults. We propose that an audiovisual task with multiple conditions might arouse the appropriate attention in young adults but would lead to a ceiling effect in old adults. Our findings provide new insights into the network topography of old adults during audiovisual integration and highlight higher functional connectivity and network efficiencies due to greater cognitive demand.


EEG; aging; audiovisual integration; functional connectivity; theta and alpha bands

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