Data_Sheet_1_Impoverished Inhibitory Control Exacerbates Multisensory Impairments in Older Fallers.docx
Impaired temporal perception of multisensory cues is a common phenomenon observed in older adults that can lead to unreliable percepts of the external world. For instance, the sound induced flash illusion (SIFI) can induce an illusory percept of a second flash by presenting a beep close in time to an initial flash-beep pair. Older adults that have enhanced susceptibility to a fall demonstrate significantly stronger illusion percepts during the SIFI task compared to those older adults without any history of falling. We hypothesize that a global inhibitory deficit may be driving the impairments across both postural stability and multisensory function in older adults with a fall history (FH). We investigated oscillatory activity and perceptual performance during the SIFI task, to understand how active sensory processing, measured by gamma (30–80 Hz) power, was regulated by alpha activity (8–13 Hz), oscillations that reflect inhibitory control. Compared to young adults (YA), the FH and non-faller (NF) groups demonstrated enhanced susceptibility to the SIFI. Further, the FH group had significantly greater illusion strength compared to the NF group. The FH group also showed significantly impaired performance relative to YA during congruent trials (2 flash-beep pairs resulting in veridical perception of 2 flashes). In illusion compared to non-illusion trials, the NF group demonstrated reduced alpha power (or diminished inhibitory control). Relative to YA and NF, the FH group showed reduced phase-amplitude coupling between alpha and gamma activity in non-illusion trials. This loss of inhibitory capacity over sensory processing in FH compared to NF suggests a more severe change than that consequent of natural aging.