Poster B22, Sunday, March 25, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Exploring the effects of speed of processing training on brain activity and connectivity
Christina Webb1, Christine Whitaker2, Jarrod Hicks2, Erica Schmidt2, Shaadee Samimy1, Nancy Dennis1, Kristina Visscher2, Lesley Ross1; 1The Pennsylvania State University, 2The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Speed of Processing Training (SPT) is an adaptive cognitive intervention that transfers to maintained health, reduced depression, and maintained driving safety and mobility in older adults. While its efficacy is well documented, the neural mechanisms underlying this intervention are unknown. This study used fMRI to explore neural changes following SPT. Task-based and resting-state fMRI were used to examine changes in brain activity and connectivity in healthy older adults randomized to 10 hours of SPT (n=13), 10 hours of cognitively stimulating activities (CSA; n=11), or a no contact control (n=10). SPT, but not CSA, resulted in improved performance on the speed of processing task. Relative to no-contact controls, SPT resulted in reduced activity in the anterior insula and supplementary motor area, two areas shown to be involved in effortful processing of sensory inputs. Furthermore, resting-state functional connectivity between brain regions involved in executive function and visual attention were strengthened following SPT. These results suggest that SPT enhances neuronal connections needed for task performance, thus decreasing the effort needed to process visual stimuli and execute the task. Together with prior behavioral, neural, and physiological work, this study provides evidence that one mechanism of SPT is to improve the brain’s efficiency for processing visual stimuli.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Development & aging