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Brain Cogn. 2019 Jun;132:22-32. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2019.02.004. Epub 2019 Feb 22.

Practice-induced functional plasticity in inhibitory control interacts with aging.

Author information

1
Neurology Unit, Medicine Section, Faculty of Sciences and Medicine, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland.
2
Laboratoire de Recherche en Neuroimagerie (LREN), Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Lausanne University Hospital and University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.
3
Neurology Unit, Medicine Section, Faculty of Sciences and Medicine, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland. Electronic address: lucas.spierer@unifr.ch.

Abstract

Inhibitory control deficits represent a key aspect of the cognitive declines associated with aging. Practicing inhibitory control has thus been advanced as a potential approach to compensate for age-induced neurocognitive impairments. Yet, the functional brain changes associated with practicing inhibitory control tasks in older adults and whether they differ from those observed in young populations remains unresolved. We compared electrical neuroimaging analyses of ERPs recorded during a Go/NoGo practice session with a Group (Young; Older adults) by Session (Beginning; End of the practice) design to identify whether the practice of an inhibition task in older adults reinforces already implemented compensatory activity or reduce it by enhancing the functioning of the brain networks primarily involved in the tasks. We observed an equivalent small effect of practice on performance in the two age-groups. The topographic ERP analyses and source estimations revealed qualitatively different effects of the practice over the N2 and P3 ERP components, respectively driven by a decrease in supplementary motor area activity and an increase in left ventrolateral prefrontal activity in the older but not in the young adults with practice. Our results thus indicate that inhibition task practice in older adults increases age-related divergences in the underlying functional processes.

KEYWORDS:

Aging; ERP; Inhibitory control; Plasticity; Source estimations; Topography

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