Power and distribution of evoked gamma oscillations in brain aging and cognitive performance

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

AIMS: Gamma oscillations (≈25-100 Hz) are believed to play an essential role in cognition, and aberrant gamma oscillations occur in brain aging and neurodegeneration. This study examined age-related changes in visually evoked gamma oscillations at two different time points 5 years apart and tested the hypothesis that the power of gamma oscillations correlated to cognitive skills.

METHODS: The cohort consists of elderly males belonging to the Metropolit 1953 Danish Male Birth Cohort (first visit, N=124; second visit, N=88) over a 5-year period from 63 to 68 years of age. Cognitive functions were assessed using a neuropsychological test battery measuring global cognition, intelligence, memory, and processing speed. The power of steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEP) was measured at 8 Hz (alpha) and 36 Hz (gamma) frequencies using EEG scalp electrodes.

RESULTS: Over the 5-year period cognitive performance remained relatively stable while the power of visually evoked gamma oscillations shifted from posterior to anterior brain regions with increasing age. A higher-than-average cognitive score was correlated with higher gamma power in parieto-occipital areas and lower in frontocentral areas, i.e., preserved distribution of the evoked activity.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data reveal that the distribution of visually evoked gamma activity becomes distributed with age. Preserved posterior-occipital gamma power in participants with a high level of cognitive performance is consistent with a close association between the ability to produce gamma oscillations and cognition. The data may contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms that link evoked gamma activity and cognition in the aging brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1523–1538
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to American Aging Association.

ID: 335680005