Beta Oscillatory Responses in Healthy Subjects and Subjects with Mild Cognitive Impairment Upon Application of Stimuli with Cognitive Load
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The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of beta oscillatory responses upon cognitive load in healthy subjects and in subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The role of beta oscillations upon cognitive stimulation is least studied in comparison to other frequency bands. The study included 17 consecutive patients with MCI (mean age = 70.8 ± 5.6 years) according to Petersen's criteria, and 17 age- and education-matched normal elderly controls (mean age = 68.5 ± 5.5 years). The experiments used a visual oddball paradigm. EEG was recorded at 30 cortical locations. EEG-evoked power, inter-trial phase synchronization, and event-related beta responses filtered in 15–20 Hz were obtained in response to target and non-target stimuli for both groups of subjects. In healthy subjects, EEG-evoked beta power, inter-trial phase synchronization of beta responses and event-related filtered beta responses were significantly higher in responses to target than non-target stimuli (p < 0.05). In MCI patients, there were no differences in evoked beta power between target and non-target stimuli. Furthermore, upon presentation of visual oddball paradigm, occipital electrodes depict higher beta response in comparison to other electrode sites. The increased beta response upon presentation of target stimuli in healthy subjects implies that beta oscillations could shift the system to an attention state, and had important function in cognitive activity. This may, in future, open the way to consider beta activity as an important operator in brain cognitive processes.