Latencies and peak-to-peak amplitudes of pattern-reversal evoked-potential (PREP) components of active and inactive community-dwelling healthy 61- to 77-year-olds were compared with those of active and inactive 18- to 31-year-olds to determine whether long-term physical activity involvement was associated with attenuation of age-related changes in sensory processes. Binocular PREPs were derived for each of 2 check sizes (22 × 15 ft and 41 × 30 ft of visual angle) to provide increasing challenge of spatial resolution. Analyses of the latencies revealed significant effects for age, gender, and check size such that latencies were longer for older than for young participants, men than for women, and small than for larger check sizes. Amplitudes were larger in older adults for the P100-N150 peak-to-peak difference, but physical activity history was not associated with reduction of the observed age-related increases in component latencies and amplitude. As such, physical activity does not appear to attenuate age-related decline in visual sensory processing.
Hatfield, Apparies, Haufler, and Santa Maria are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-2611. Spalding is with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA 91768.