Prefrontal activation may predict working-memory training gain in normal aging and mild cognitive impairment

Anouk Vermeij, Roy P. C. Kessels, Linda Heskamp, Esther M. F. Simons, Paul L. J. Dautzenberg, Jurgen A. H. R. Claassen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Cognitive training has been shown to result in improved behavioral performance in normal aging and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), yet little is known about the neural correlates of cognitive plasticity, or about individual differences in responsiveness to cognitive training. In this study, 21 healthy older adults and 14 patients with MCI received five weeks of adaptive computerized working-memory (WM) training. Before and after training, functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) was used to assess the hemodynamic response in left and right prefrontal cortex during performance of a verbal n-back task with varying levels of WM load. After training, healthy older adults demonstrated decreased prefrontal activation at high WM load, which may indicate increased processing efficiency. Although MCI patients showed improved behavioral performance at low WM load after training, no evidence was found for training-related changes in prefrontal activation. Whole-group analyses showed that a relatively strong hemodynamic response at low WM load was related to worse behavioral performance, while a relatively strong hemodynamic response at high WM load was related to higher training gain. Therefore, a 'youth-like' prefrontal activation pattern at older age may be associated with better behavioral outcome and cognitive plasticity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-154
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cognitive training
  • Neuroimaging
  • Optical imaging
  • Plasticity
  • Working memory
  • NEAR-INFRARED SPECTROSCOPY
  • CEREBRAL BLOOD-VOLUME
  • MINI-MENTAL-STATE
  • OLDER-ADULTS
  • ALZHEIMERS-DISEASE
  • BRAIN ACTIVATION
  • HEMISPHERIC-ASYMMETRY
  • AGE-DIFFERENCES
  • PLASTICITY
  • MAINTENANCE

Cite this

Vermeij, A., Kessels, R. P. C., Heskamp, L., Simons, E. M. F., Dautzenberg, P. L. J., & Claassen, J. A. H. R. (2017). Prefrontal activation may predict working-memory training gain in normal aging and mild cognitive impairment. Brain Imaging and Behavior, 11(1), 141-154. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11682-016-9508-7
Vermeij, Anouk ; Kessels, Roy P. C. ; Heskamp, Linda ; Simons, Esther M. F. ; Dautzenberg, Paul L. J. ; Claassen, Jurgen A. H. R. / Prefrontal activation may predict working-memory training gain in normal aging and mild cognitive impairment. In: Brain Imaging and Behavior. 2017 ; Vol. 11, No. 1. pp. 141-154.
@article{05893b0f86494ff39018c67d451b0e99,
title = "Prefrontal activation may predict working-memory training gain in normal aging and mild cognitive impairment",
abstract = "Cognitive training has been shown to result in improved behavioral performance in normal aging and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), yet little is known about the neural correlates of cognitive plasticity, or about individual differences in responsiveness to cognitive training. In this study, 21 healthy older adults and 14 patients with MCI received five weeks of adaptive computerized working-memory (WM) training. Before and after training, functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) was used to assess the hemodynamic response in left and right prefrontal cortex during performance of a verbal n-back task with varying levels of WM load. After training, healthy older adults demonstrated decreased prefrontal activation at high WM load, which may indicate increased processing efficiency. Although MCI patients showed improved behavioral performance at low WM load after training, no evidence was found for training-related changes in prefrontal activation. Whole-group analyses showed that a relatively strong hemodynamic response at low WM load was related to worse behavioral performance, while a relatively strong hemodynamic response at high WM load was related to higher training gain. Therefore, a 'youth-like' prefrontal activation pattern at older age may be associated with better behavioral outcome and cognitive plasticity.",
keywords = "Alzheimer's disease, Cognitive training, Neuroimaging, Optical imaging, Plasticity, Working memory, NEAR-INFRARED SPECTROSCOPY, CEREBRAL BLOOD-VOLUME, MINI-MENTAL-STATE, OLDER-ADULTS, ALZHEIMERS-DISEASE, BRAIN ACTIVATION, HEMISPHERIC-ASYMMETRY, AGE-DIFFERENCES, PLASTICITY, MAINTENANCE",
author = "Anouk Vermeij and Kessels, {Roy P. C.} and Linda Heskamp and Simons, {Esther M. F.} and Dautzenberg, {Paul L. J.} and Claassen, {Jurgen A. H. R.}",
year = "2017",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1007/s11682-016-9508-7",
language = "English",
volume = "11",
pages = "141--154",
journal = "Brain Imaging and Behavior",
issn = "1931-7557",
publisher = "Springer",
number = "1",

}

Prefrontal activation may predict working-memory training gain in normal aging and mild cognitive impairment. / Vermeij, Anouk; Kessels, Roy P. C.; Heskamp, Linda; Simons, Esther M. F.; Dautzenberg, Paul L. J.; Claassen, Jurgen A. H. R.

In: Brain Imaging and Behavior, Vol. 11, No. 1, 02.2017, p. 141-154.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Prefrontal activation may predict working-memory training gain in normal aging and mild cognitive impairment

AU - Vermeij, Anouk

AU - Kessels, Roy P. C.

AU - Heskamp, Linda

AU - Simons, Esther M. F.

AU - Dautzenberg, Paul L. J.

AU - Claassen, Jurgen A. H. R.

PY - 2017/2

Y1 - 2017/2

N2 - Cognitive training has been shown to result in improved behavioral performance in normal aging and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), yet little is known about the neural correlates of cognitive plasticity, or about individual differences in responsiveness to cognitive training. In this study, 21 healthy older adults and 14 patients with MCI received five weeks of adaptive computerized working-memory (WM) training. Before and after training, functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) was used to assess the hemodynamic response in left and right prefrontal cortex during performance of a verbal n-back task with varying levels of WM load. After training, healthy older adults demonstrated decreased prefrontal activation at high WM load, which may indicate increased processing efficiency. Although MCI patients showed improved behavioral performance at low WM load after training, no evidence was found for training-related changes in prefrontal activation. Whole-group analyses showed that a relatively strong hemodynamic response at low WM load was related to worse behavioral performance, while a relatively strong hemodynamic response at high WM load was related to higher training gain. Therefore, a 'youth-like' prefrontal activation pattern at older age may be associated with better behavioral outcome and cognitive plasticity.

AB - Cognitive training has been shown to result in improved behavioral performance in normal aging and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), yet little is known about the neural correlates of cognitive plasticity, or about individual differences in responsiveness to cognitive training. In this study, 21 healthy older adults and 14 patients with MCI received five weeks of adaptive computerized working-memory (WM) training. Before and after training, functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) was used to assess the hemodynamic response in left and right prefrontal cortex during performance of a verbal n-back task with varying levels of WM load. After training, healthy older adults demonstrated decreased prefrontal activation at high WM load, which may indicate increased processing efficiency. Although MCI patients showed improved behavioral performance at low WM load after training, no evidence was found for training-related changes in prefrontal activation. Whole-group analyses showed that a relatively strong hemodynamic response at low WM load was related to worse behavioral performance, while a relatively strong hemodynamic response at high WM load was related to higher training gain. Therefore, a 'youth-like' prefrontal activation pattern at older age may be associated with better behavioral outcome and cognitive plasticity.

KW - Alzheimer's disease

KW - Cognitive training

KW - Neuroimaging

KW - Optical imaging

KW - Plasticity

KW - Working memory

KW - NEAR-INFRARED SPECTROSCOPY

KW - CEREBRAL BLOOD-VOLUME

KW - MINI-MENTAL-STATE

KW - OLDER-ADULTS

KW - ALZHEIMERS-DISEASE

KW - BRAIN ACTIVATION

KW - HEMISPHERIC-ASYMMETRY

KW - AGE-DIFFERENCES

KW - PLASTICITY

KW - MAINTENANCE

U2 - 10.1007/s11682-016-9508-7

DO - 10.1007/s11682-016-9508-7

M3 - Article

VL - 11

SP - 141

EP - 154

JO - Brain Imaging and Behavior

JF - Brain Imaging and Behavior

SN - 1931-7557

IS - 1

ER -