The goal of this study is to define anatomic and functional changes in the visual system that have a significant negative effect on the visual cognition of healthy elders. These age-related changes are potentially remediable so the daily activities requiring visual cognitive function can be improved. It is hypothesized that the presence of ocular pathology and changes in elemental visual functions such as contrast sensitivity contribute to the age-related decline in visual cognition. We propose to study 150 functionally independent healthy subjects including 50 subjects over age 85 years who are part of a longitudinal aging study, the Oregon Brain Aging Study. This study group is uniquely suited to this proposed research in that they have been selected for optimal health and do not use any CNS-acting drugs, factors which may significantly confound most aging studies of visual processing. A standardized ophthalmologic exam will be performed to grade the presence of common ocular pathologies (cataracts and age- related macular degeneration), contrast sensitivity, and visual acuity. Visual cognituve cognition tasks that evaluate aspects of spatial and temporal processing. Temporally dependent cognitive processing will be assessed on a backward masking test, visual search tests and by analyzing fixations during recording of scanpaths. Spatially dependent cognitive processing will be assessed using a global-local figures task and a line orientation task. This research is extremely critical to better understand and ultimately improve ivisual cognitive function among elders, especially those over 85 years whose sensory deficits may be contributing significantly to their cognitive decline. Additionally, it is critical for all cognitive research in aging to determine the degree to which vision contributesto the intersubject variability in cognitive function amoung elders. This information is also needed to be able to relate age-associated changes in visual cognitive function to the underlying anantomy and physiology.
|Effective start/end date||7/15/97 → 6/30/99|
- National Institutes of Health