Author(s): Dustman RE, Emmerson RY, Ruhling RO, Shearer DE, Steinhaus LA,
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Abstract Measures of EEG, event-related potentials (ERPs), visual sensitivity, and cognition were obtained from 30 young (20-31 years) and 30 older (50-62 years) healthy men. Age groups were evenly divided between subjects with low and high fitness levels documented by VO2max during a maximal exercise test. Age comparisons revealed that, compared to young adults, the older men had reduced visual sensitivity, delayed ERP latencies, greater homogeneity of EEG activity across recording sites, more positive visual-evoked potential (VEP) amplitude-intensity (A/I) slope, and poorer performance on a battery of neurocognitive tests. The EEG and VEP A/I slope findings are believed to reflect weakened central inhibition for the older men. In general, the measures that differentiated groups on the basis of age were also sensitive to differences in aerobic fitness. Compared to low fit men, the physically active men had shorter ERP latencies, stronger central inhibition, better neurocognitive performance, and better visual sensitivity. We speculate the performance superiority of the physically active men was, at least in part, the result of more oxygen being available for cerebral metabolism.
This article was published in Neurobiol Aging
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research