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EEG coherence characteristics at rest and during a three-level working memory task in normal aging and mild cognitive impairment

Zheng-Yan Jiang, Lei-Lei Zheng, En-Yan Yu

Med Sci Monit 2008; 14(10): CR515-523

ID: 869414

Background: The aim was to examine and compare the characteristics of intra- and inter-hemispheric EEG coherence in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and healthy controls at rest and during a working memory (WM) task having three levels.
Material and Method: The subjects included 35 patients with MCI according to the DSM-IV criteria (mean age: 62.3+/-6.5 years) and 34 healthy controls (mean age: 57.4+/-4.0) selected from the community. All the subjects performed a simple calculation and recall task of WM with three levels of (WM1-3) while their EEG signal was recording. Inter- and intra-hemispheric EEG coherence was analyzed during the WM loads.
Results: Intra- and inter-hemispheric coherence during the WM task showed a "drop-to-rise" tendency compared with that at-rest condition. There was significantly higher coherence in MCI patients than in controls during the WM task. Intra-hemispheric ortical connectivity diminished while inter-hemispheric connectivity dominated in the MCI patients during WM with increasing task difficulty.
Conclusions: MCI patients and normal controls may have differences in cortical connection and MCI patients have a cortical connection disturbance during WM tasks. With increasing task difficulty the MCI patients mobilized more inter-hemispheric than intra-hemispheric cognitive resources.

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