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It is often suggested that sleep-dependent consolidation of motor learning is impaired in older adults. The current study challenges this view and suggests that the degree of motor consolidation seen with sleep in older age groups depends on the kinematic demands of the task. We show that, when tested with a classic sequence learning task, requiring individuated finger movements, older adults did not show sleep-dependent consolidation. By contrast, when tested with an adapted sequence learning task, in which movements were performed with the whole hand, sleep-dependent motor improvement was observed in older adults. We suggest that age-related decline in fine motor dexterity may in part be responsible for the previously described deficit in sleep-dependent motor consolidation with aging.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.12.014

Type

Journal article

Journal

Neurobiol Aging

Publication Date

03/2015

Volume

36

Pages

1409 - 1416

Keywords

Aging, Consolidation, Fine motor skill, Motor memory, Sequence learning, Sleep, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Aging, Female, Fingers, Hand, Humans, Learning, Male, Middle Aged, Motor Activity, Movement, Sleep, Young Adult