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Behavioral and Neural Correlates of Cognitive-Motor Interference during Multitasking in Young and Old Adults

  • The concurrent performance of cognitive and postural tasks is particularly impaired in old adults and associated with an increased risk of falls. Biological aging of the cognitive and postural control system appears to be responsible for increased cognitive-motor interference effects. We examined neural and behavioral markers of motor-cognitive dual-task performance in young and old adults performing spatial one-back working memory single and dual tasks during semitandem stance. On the neural level, we used EEG to test for age-related modulations in the frequency domain related to cognitive-postural task load. Twenty-eight healthy young and 30 old adults participated in this study. The tasks included a postural single task, a cognitive-postural dual task, and a cognitive-postural triple task (cognitive dual-task with postural demands). Postural sway (i.e., total center of pressure displacements) was recorded in semistance position on an unstable surface that was placed on top of a force plate while performing cognitive tasks. NeuralThe concurrent performance of cognitive and postural tasks is particularly impaired in old adults and associated with an increased risk of falls. Biological aging of the cognitive and postural control system appears to be responsible for increased cognitive-motor interference effects. We examined neural and behavioral markers of motor-cognitive dual-task performance in young and old adults performing spatial one-back working memory single and dual tasks during semitandem stance. On the neural level, we used EEG to test for age-related modulations in the frequency domain related to cognitive-postural task load. Twenty-eight healthy young and 30 old adults participated in this study. The tasks included a postural single task, a cognitive-postural dual task, and a cognitive-postural triple task (cognitive dual-task with postural demands). Postural sway (i.e., total center of pressure displacements) was recorded in semistance position on an unstable surface that was placed on top of a force plate while performing cognitive tasks. Neural activation was recorded using a 64-channel mobile EEG system. EEG frequencies were attenuated by the baseline postural single-task condition and demarcated in nine Regions-of-Interest (ROIs), i.e., anterior, central, posterior, over the cortical midline, and both hemispheres. Our findings revealed impaired cognitive dual-task performance in old compared to young participants in the form of significantly lower cognitive performance in the triple-task condition. Furthermore, old adults compared with young adults showed significantly larger postural sway, especially in cognitive-postural task conditions. With respect to EEG frequencies, young compared to old participants showed significantly lower alpha-band activity in cognitive-cognitive-postural triple-task conditions compared with cognitive-postural dual tasks. In addition, with increasing task difficulty, we observed synchronized theta and delta frequencies, irrespective of age. Taskdependent alterations of the alpha frequency band were most pronounced over frontal and central ROIs, while alterations of the theta and delta frequency bands were found in frontal, central, and posterior ROIs. Theta and delta synchronization exhibited a decrease from anterior to posterior regions. For old adults, task difficulty was reflected by theta synchronization in the posterior ROI. For young adults, it was reflected by alpha desynchronization in bilateral anterior ROIs. In addition, we could not identify any effects of task difficulty and age on the beta frequency band. Our results shed light on age-related cognitive and postural declines and how they interact. Modulated alpha frequencies during high cognitive-postural task demands in young but not old adults might be reflective of a constrained neural adaptive potential in old adults. Future studies are needed to elucidate associations between the identified age-related performance decrements with task difficulty and changes in brain activity.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Hannah BohleORCiDGND, Jérôme Rimpel, Gesche Schauenburg, Arnd GebelORCiD, Christine StelzelORCiDGND, Stephan HeinzelORCiDGND, Michael RappORCiDGND, Urs GranacherORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/9478656
ISSN:2090-5904
ISSN:1687-5443
Parent Title (English):Neural Plasticity
Publisher:Hindawi
Place of publication:New York
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Date of first Publication:2019/07/01
Year of Completion:2019
Release Date:2019/10/10
Pagenumber:20
Funder:Universität Potsdam
Grant Number:PA 2019_53
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Strukturbereich Kognitionswissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Peer Review:Referiert
Grantor:Publikationsfonds der Universität Potsdam
Publication Way:Open Access
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung, 4.0 International
Notes extern:Zweitveröffentlichung in der Schriftenreihe Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Humanwissenschaftliche Reihe ; 563