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Development of a Novel fMRI Compatible Visual Perception Prototype Battery to Test Older People With and Without Dementia

Lookup NU author(s): Josh Wood, Dr Michael FirbankORCiD, Dr Urs Mosimann, Professor John-Paul TaylorORCiD, Professor John O'Brien


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Background: Visuoperceptual deficits in dementia are common and can reduce quality of life. Testing of visuoperceptual function is often confounded by impairments in other cognitive domains and motor dysfunction. We aimed to develop, pilot, and test a novel visuocognitive prototype test battery which addressed these issues, suitable for both clinical and functional imaging use. Methods: We recruited 23 participants (14 with dementia, 6 of whom had extrapyramidal motor features, and 9 age-matched controls). The novel Newcastle visual perception prototype battery (NEVIP-B-Prototype) included angle, color, face, motion and form perception tasks, and an adapted response system. It allows for individualized task difficulties. Participants were tested outside and inside the 3T functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. Functional magnetic resonance imaging data were analyzed using SPM8. Results: All participants successfully completed the task inside and outside the scanner. Functional magnetic resonance imaging analysis showed activation regions corresponding well to the regional specializations of the visual association cortex. In both groups, there was significant activity in the ventral occipital-temporal region in the face and color tasks, whereas the motion task activated the V5 region. In the control group, the angle task activated the occipitoparietal cortex. Patients and controls showed similar levels of activation, except on the angle task for which occipitoparietal activation was lower in patients than controls. Conclusion: Distinct visuoperceptual functions can be tested in patients with dementia and extrapyramidal motor features when tests use individualized thresholds, adapted tasks, and specialized response systems.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wood JS, Firbank MJ, Mosimann UP, Taylor JP, O'Brien JT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology

Year: 2011

Volume: 24

Issue: 2

Pages: 73-83

Print publication date: 06/04/2011

ISSN (print): 0891-9887

ISSN (electronic): 1552-5708

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/0891988711402348


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Funder referenceFunder name
UK NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Ageing and Age-related disease
ART/PPG2008A/4Alzheimer's Research Trust