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Inhibitory control deficits in vascular cognitive impairment revealed using the MILO task

Richards, Emma, Thornton, Ian M., Bayer, Antony and Tales, Andrea 2021. Inhibitory control deficits in vascular cognitive impairment revealed using the MILO task. Neuropsychologia 155 , 107794. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.107794

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We used the MILO (Multi-Item Localization) task to characterise the performance of a group of older adults diagnosed with mild to moderate vascular cognitive impairment (VCI). The MILO task is designed to explore the temporal context of visual search and in addition to measuring overall completion time, provides a profile of serial reaction time (SRT) patterns across all items in a sequence. Of particular interest here is the Vanish/Remain MILO manipulation that can identify problems with inhibitory control during search. Typically, SRT functions closely overlap, regardless of whether items Vanish or Remain visible when selected, indicating an ability to ignore previously selected targets. Based on the distributed nature of VCI-related pathology and previous visual search studies from our group, we speculated that MILO performance would be compromised in this group of participants when items remained visible after being selected relative to when they vanished. Compared to cognitively healthy, age-matched control participants, the performance of VCI participants was characterised by overall slowing, increased error rates, and crucially, a compromised ability to ignore past locations. As predicted, the Vanish versus Remain SRT functions of VCI participants significantly diverged towards the end of the sequence, which was not the case for control groups. Overall, our findings suggest that the MILO task could be a useful tool for identifying non-age-related changes in behaviour with patient populations, and more generally hints at a possible inhibitory deficit in VCI.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0028-3932
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 December 2021
Date of Acceptance: 15 February 2021
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2022 16:32

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