White matter hyperintensities are associated with visual search behavior independent of generalized slowing in aging

Samuel N. Lockhart, Alexandra E. Roach, Steven J. Luck, Joy Geng, Laurel A Beckett, Owen Carmichael, Charles DeCarli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

A fundamental controversy is whether cognitive decline with advancing age can be entirely explained by decreased processing speed, or whether specific neural changes can elicit cognitive decline, independent of slowing. These hypotheses are anchored by studies of healthy older individuals where age is presumed the sole influence. Unfortunately, advancing age is also associated with asymptomatic brain white matter injury. We hypothesized that differences in white matter injury extent, manifest by MRI white matter hyperintensities (WMH), mediate differences in visual attentional control in healthy aging, beyond processing speed differences. We tested young and cognitively healthy older adults on search tasks indexing speed and attentional control. Increasing age was associated with generally slowed performance. WMH were also associated with slowed search times independent of processing speed differences. Consistent with evidence attributing reduced network connectivity to WMH, these results conclusively demonstrate that clinically silent white matter injury contributes to slower search performance indicative of compromised cognitive control, independent of generalized slowing of processing speed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume52
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Cognitive control
  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Neuroimaging
  • Visual attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'White matter hyperintensities are associated with visual search behavior independent of generalized slowing in aging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this