Event-Related Neural Oscillation Changes Following Reasoning Training in Individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment
Emerging evidence suggests cognitive training programs targeting higher-order reasoning may strengthen not only cognitive, but also neural functions in individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). However, research on direct measures of training-induced neural changes, derivable from electroencephalography (EEG), is limited. The current pilot study examined effects of Gist Reasoning training (n = 16) compared to New Learning training (n = 16) in older adults with amnestic MCI on measures of event-related neural oscillations (theta and alpha band power) corresponding to Go/NoGo tasks during basic and superordinate semantic categorization. EEG data were recorded while participants performed the Go/NoGo task pre- and post-training, and power in theta and alpha frequency bands was examined. Both groups were comparable at pre-training on all measures and both groups showed greater event-related theta synchronization post-training. Furthermore, the Gist Reasoning group had enhanced event-related desynchronization in low-frequency alpha band (8-10 Hz)on response inhibition (NoGo) trials and high-frequency alpha band (11-13 Hz) on response execution (Go) trials during superordinate categorization, relative to the New Learning group. These findings suggest that Gist Reasoning training in MCI impacted neural processing linked to strategic processing of Go and NoGo trials during the more complex superordinate categorization task. Targeting higher-order top-down cognitive processing seems to better harness residual neuroplastic potential in MCI.