Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 16 pp 19996—20015
Stress-induced aberrations in sensory processing predict worse cognitive outcomes in healthy aging adults
- 1 Institute for Human Neuroscience, Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, NE 68010, USA
- 2 College of Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198, USA
- 3 Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198, USA
- 4 Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92161, USA
Received: May 21, 2021 Accepted: August 3, 2021 Published: August 18, 2021https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.203433
How to Cite
Copyright: © 2021 Spooner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
It is well recognized that not all individuals age equivalently, with functional dependence attributable, at least in part, to stress accumulated across the lifespan. Amongst these dependencies are age-related declines in cognitive function, which may be the result of impaired inhibitory processing (e.g., sensory gating). Herein, we examined the unique roles of life and biological stress on somatosensory gating dynamics in 74 adults (22-72 years old). Participants completed a sensory gating paired-pulse electrical stimulation paradigm of the right median nerve during magnetoencephalography (MEG) and data were subjected to advanced oscillatory and time-domain analysis methods. We observed separable mechanisms by which increasing levels of life and biological stress predicted higher oscillatory gating ratios, indicative of age-related impairments in inhibitory function. Specifically, elevations in life stress significantly modulated the neural response to the first stimulation in the pair, while elevations in biological stress significantly modulated the neural response to the second stimulation in the pair. In contrast, neither elevations in life nor biological stress significantly predicted the gating of time-domain neural activity in the somatosensory cortex. Finally, our study is the first to link stress-induced decline in sensory gating to cognitive dysfunction, suggesting that gating paradigms may hold promise for detecting discrepant functional trajectories in age-related pathologies in the future.