Aging often results in a decline in cognitive function, related to alterations in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation. Maintenance of this function in an aging society is an important issue. Some practices/drills, moderate exercise, mastication, and a cognitive task itself could enhance cognitive function. In this validation study, before evaluating the effects of some drills on the elderly, we examined the neural substrate of blood oxygenation changes by the use of four cognitive tasks and fNIRS. Seven healthy volunteers (mean age 25.3 years) participated in this study. Each task session was designed in a block manner; 4 periods of rests (30 s) and 3 blocks of four tasks (30 s). The tasks used were: a computerized Stroop test, a Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, a Sternberg working memory paradigm, and a semantic verbal fluency task. The findings of the study are that all four tasks activated PFC to some extent, without laterality except for the verbal fluency task. The results confirm that NIRS is suitable for measurement of blood oxygenation changes in frontal brain areas that are associated with all four cognitive tasks.
Cognitive function NIRS PFC Stroop test Wisconsin Card Sorting Test
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This research was partly supported by Japan Science and Technology Agency, under Strategic Promotion of Innovative Research and Development Program, and a Grant-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Sciences and Technology of Japan (23300247, 25463025, and 25463024).
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