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Haupt, Marleen; Jödecke, Steffen; Srowig, Annie; Napiorkowski, Natan; Preul, Christoph; Witte, Otto W.; Finke, Kathrin ORCID: 0000-0001-8546-7141 (June 2021): Phasic alerting increases visual processing speed in amnestic mild cognitive impairment. In: Neurobiology of Aging, Vol. 102: pp. 23-31
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External warning cues temporarily increase the brain's sensitivity for upcoming events, helping individuals to flexibly adapt their reactions to the requirements of complex visual environments. Previous studies reported that younger and cognitively normal older adults profit from phasic alerting cues. Such an intact phasic alerting mechanism could be even more relevant in individuals with Alzheimer's disease who are characterized by reduced processing capacities. The present study employed a theory of visual attention based verbal whole report paradigm with auditory cues in order to investigate phasic alerting effects in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). Patients with aMCI were also compared to a previously reported sample of cognitively normal older adults. In patients with aMCI, visual processing speed was higher in the cue compared to the no-cue condition. Further, visual processing speed was reduced in patients with aMCI compared to cognitively normal older adults. Taken together, the results suggest that the processing system of patients with aMCI exhibits general declines but can still integrate auditory warning signals on a perceptual level.