Elderly adults can improve their vision with perceptual training, according to a study from the University of California, Riverside and Boston University that has implications for the health and mobility of senior citizens.
The study, “Perceptual learning, aging, and improved visual performance in early stages of visual processing,” appears in the current online issue of the Journal of Vision. It was funded by a $3.5 million grant from the National Institute on Aging.
UCR researchers G. John Andersen, professor of psychology; Rui Ni, formerly a postdoctoral researcher; graduate student Jeffrey D. Bower; and Boston University psychology professor Takeo Watanabe conducted a series of experiments to determine whether repeated performance of certain visual tasks that are at the limits that one can see can improve the vision of adults older than 65.
“We found that with just two days of training, in one-hour sessions, with difficult stimuli resulted in older subjects seeing as well as younger college-age subjects,” Andersen said. “The improvement was maintained for up to three months and the results were dependent on the location in the visual field where the stimuli were located – suggesting that the brain changed in early levels of visual cortex.” The visual cortex is the part of the brain that processes visual information.
Age-related changes in vision – such as contrast sensitivity, dark adaptation, visual acuity, spatial vision, orientation, depth perception and motion perception – have been substantiated in numerous previous studies. This is the first study that demonstrates that perceptual training can be used to improve vision among the elderly in the earliest levels of visual processing.
The researchers used a texture discrimination test in which the participants were presented with stimuli consisting of a letter embedded in the center of a field of horizontally oriented lines. In addition to the letter, an array of peripherally located lines was oriented diagonally and formed either a vertical or horizontal object, always presented in the same quadrant. That was followed quickly with the display of a masking pattern. The task was to identify the central letter and the peripheral object.
Improvements in vision were not due to practice or familiarity with the task, the researchers determined. And, the improved performance from perceptual training was maintained for at least three months. These results show a high degree of brain plasticity among the elderly and suggest that this technique is useful for recovering from declines in vision due to normal aging.
“Given the clear impact of age-related declines in vision on driving, mobility, and falls, the present study suggests that perceptual learning may be a useful tool for improving the health and well-being of an older population,” the researchers concluded.
After age 60 there is a steady increase in the incidence of falls and automobile crashes that are associated with changes in visual processing. This research indicates that behavioral interventions are likely to be very useful for improving safety and quality of life as we get older, Andersen said.
Bettye Miller | EurekAlert!
Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)
Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.06.2018 | Life Sciences