The effects of sleep deprivation on brain functioning in older adults

Erin L Almklov, Sean P. A. Drummond, Henry J Orff, Omar M Alhassoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Few studies have examined the effects of total sleep deprivation (TSD) on cognitive performance and brain activation using functional MRI (fMRI) in older adults. The current study examines blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) activation in older adults and younger adults during the sustained attention (GO) and response inhibition (NOGO) portions of a GO-NOGO cognitive task following 36 hr of total sleep deprivation. No significant performance differences were observed between the groups on the behavioral outcome measures of total hits and false alarms. Neuroimaging results, however, revealed a significant interaction between age-group and sleep-deprivation status. Specifically, older adults showed greater BOLD activation as compared to younger adults after 36 hours total sleep deprivation in brain regions typically associated with attention and inhibitory processes. These results suggest in order for older adults to perform the GO-NOGO task effectively after sleep deprivation, they rely on compensatory recruitment of brain regions that aide in the maintenance of cognitive performance
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-345
Number of pages22
JournalBehavioral Sleep Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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