Applying the Neuroeconomics Paradigm for the Assessment of Central Fatigability in the Aging Population (R21)

Dates: 8/1/2016 - 4/30/2019


Principal Investigator: Feng Vankee Lin, PhD, RN

Aging brings about a marked increase in the likelihood of becoming tired, or tiring faster during an activity with mental load. This common aging phenomenon is called central fatigability (CF), which has many adverse consequences, including cognitive decline, degraded performance in daily tasks (e.g., driving), reduced participation in intellectually beneficial activities, poor quality of life, or mobility restriction. CF can occur in almost any older adult and is distinct from the fatigue symptoms that often occur in individuals with certain neurologic or cardiac diseases. Accurately assessing CF is the first step in the development and assessment of efficacy of treatments to mitigate CF in the aging population. In this R21 application, we propose to develop laboratory tasks that can efficiently induce and precisely capture CF (i.e., CF-manipulation task) in older adults. A robust CF-manipulation task will need to address issues related to temporary neuroplasticity, the fronto-basal ganglia circuit, and executive load. However, these prerequisites have not been sufficiently addressed by existing traditional CF-manipulation tasks (e.g., n-back, stroop). We propose to make use of a neuroeconomics paradigm – specifically, gambling tasks – to induce and capture CF in older adults to address the shortcomings of existing CF operationalizations.