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<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:sec><jats:title>Background</jats:title><jats:p>Cortical slow oscillations (SOs) and thalamo-cortical sleep spindles hallmark slow wave sleep and facilitate sleep-dependent memory consolidation. Experiments utilising auditory closed-loop stimulation to enhance these oscillations have shown great potential in young and older subjects. However, the magnitude of responses has yet to be compared between these age groups.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Objective</jats:title><jats:p>We examined the possibility of enhancing SOs and performance on different memory tasks in a healthy older population using auditory closed-loop stimulation and contrast effects to a young adult cohort.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Methods</jats:title><jats:p>In a within-subject design, subjects (n = 17, 55.7 ± 1.0 years, 9 female) received auditory click stimulation in synchrony with SO up-states, which was compared to a no-stimulation sham condition. Overnight memory consolidation was assessed for declarative word-pairs and procedural finger-tapping skill. Post-sleep encoding capabilities were tested with a picture recognition task. Electrophysiological effects of stimulation were compared to those reported previously in a younger cohort (n = 11, 24.2 ± 0.9 years, 8 female).</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Results</jats:title><jats:p>Overnight retention and post-sleep encoding performance of the older cohort revealed no beneficial effect of stimulation, which contrasts with the enhancing effect the same stimulation protocol had in our younger cohort. Auditory stimulation prolonged endogenous SO trains and induced sleep spindles phase-locked to SO up-states in the older population. However, responses were markedly reduced compared to younger subjects. Additionally, the temporal dynamics of stimulation effects on SOs and spindles differed between age groups.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Conclusions</jats:title><jats:p>Our findings suggest that the susceptibility to auditory stimulation during sleep drastically changes with age and reveal the difficulties of translating a functional protocol from younger to older populations.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Highlights</jats:title><jats:p><jats:list list-type="bullet"><jats:list-item><jats:p>Auditory closed-loop stimulation induced SOs and sleep spindles in older subjects</jats:p></jats:list-item><jats:list-item><jats:p>Stimulation effects were reduced and overall susceptibility diminished with age</jats:p></jats:list-item><jats:list-item><jats:p>Slow oscillation and sleep spindle dynamics deviated from those in younger subjects</jats:p></jats:list-item><jats:list-item><jats:p>Stimulation shows no evidence for memory effect in older subjects</jats:p></jats:list-item></jats:list></jats:p></jats:sec>

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Journal article


Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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