Poster A118, Saturday, March 24, 1:30–3:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Impaired sustained attention ability is associated with metabolic syndrome
Thomas Wooten1,2, Michael Esterman2,3, Joe DeGutis1,2, Victoria Poole1,2, Elizabeth Leritz1,2; 1Harvard Medical School, 2VA Boston Healthcare System, 3Boston University School of Medicine
Metabolic syndrome has been associated with subtle and diffuse neural compromise, but has not been consistently correlated with cognitive dysfunction. Sustained attention is a fundamental cognitive operation that relies on multiple brain networks and is sensitive to a broad array of psychiatric/neurologic dysfunction. We hypothesized that sustained attention would correlate with vascular risk, more so than executive function neuropsychological measures. We assessed metabolic function in 56 older adults based on standard guidelines. Participants also performed the gradual onset continuous performance task (gradCPT) to measure sustained attention. During the gradCPT, participants are instructed to respond via button press to each of the city images (90%) and to withhold response to rare mountains (10%) as the scenes gradually transition from one to the next. We focused our analyses on two measures of sustained attention ability: d’, the ability to discriminate between targets (i.e., mountain scenes) and non-targets (i.e., city scenes), and reaction time variability (CV). Participants with no metabolic risk factors had more accurate performance and were less variable in their reaction time compared to participants who met criteria for metabolic syndrome (three or more risk factors). Furthermore, there was a linear correlation between number of risk factors and sustained attention ability. In contrast, no effect of metabolic syndrome was detected on standard neuropsychological tests. Our results demonstrate that the gradCPT is a sensitive diagnostic tool for assessing attention-related deficits in metabolic syndrome. This work also substantiates previous findings regarding metabolic syndrome’s subtle negative effect on cognitive functioning.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Other