Visual steady state in relation to age and cognitive function

Anna Horwitz, Mia Dyhr Thomsen, Iris Wiegand, Henrik Horwitz, Marc Klemp, Miki Nikolic, Lene Rask, Martin Lauritzen, Krisztina Benedek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Neocortical gamma activity is crucial for sensory perception and cognition. This study examines the value of using non-task stimulation-induced EEG oscillations to predict cognitive status in a birth cohort of healthy Danish males (Metropolit) with varying cognitive ability. In particular, we examine the steady-state VEP power response (SSVEP-PR) in the alpha (8Hz) and gamma (36Hz) bands in 54 males (avg. age: 62.0 years) and compare these with 10 young healthy participants (avg. age 27.6 years). Furthermore, we correlate the individual alpha-to-gamma difference in relative visual-area power (?RV) with cognitive scores for the older adults. We find that ΔRV decrease with age by just over one standard deviation when comparing young with old participants (p<0.01). Furthermore, intelligence is significantly negatively correlated with ΔRV in the older adult cohort, even when processing speed, global cognition, executive function, memory, and education (p<0.05). In our preferred specification, an increase in ΔRV of one standard deviation is associated with a reduction in intelligence of 48% of a standard deviation (p<0.01). Finally, we conclude that the difference in cerebral rhythmic activity between the alpha and gamma bands is associated with age and cognitive status, and that ΔRV therefore provide a non-subjective clinical tool with which to examine cognitive status in old age.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0171859
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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    Horwitz, A., Thomsen, M. D., Wiegand, I., Horwitz, H., Klemp, M., Nikolic, M., Rask, L., Lauritzen, M., & Benedek, K. (2017). Visual steady state in relation to age and cognitive function. PloS one, 12(2), [e0171859].