Top-down Suppression Deficit Underlies Working Memory Impairment in Normal Aging

Nat Neurosci. 2005 Oct;8(10):1298-300. doi: 10.1038/nn1543. Epub 2005 Sep 11.

Abstract

In this study, we assess the impact of normal aging on top-down modulation, a cognitive control mechanism that supports both attention and memory by the suppression and enhancement of sensory processing in accordance with task goals. Using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), we show that healthy older adults demonstrated a prominent deficit in the suppression of cortical activity associated with task-irrelevant representations, whereas enhancement of task-relevant activity was preserved. Moreover, this suppression-specific attention deficit correlated with impaired working memory performance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / blood supply
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Child
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Time Factors

Substances

  • Oxygen