Developmental event-related gamma oscillations: effects of auditory attention.

The European journal of neuroscience

PubMedID: 12473089

Yordanova J, Kolev V, Heinrich H, Woerner W, Banaschewski T, Rothenberger A. Developmental event-related gamma oscillations: effects of auditory attention. Eur J Neurosci. 2002;16(11):2214-24.
This study describes maturational changes in topographical patterns, stability, and functional reactivity of auditory gamma band (31-63 Hz) responses (GBRs) as brain electrical correlates relevant for cognitive development during childhood. GBRs of 114 healthy children from 9 to 16 years were elicited in an auditory focused attention task requiring motor responding to targets, and analyzed by means of the wavelet transform (WT). The effects of age and task variables (attended side and stimulus type relevance) were examined for GBR power and phase-locking within 120 ms after stimulation. Similar to the spontaneous gamma band power, the power and phase-synchronization of GBRs did not depend on the age. However, the functional reactivity of GBRs at specific locations changed in the course of development. In 9-12-year-old children, GBRs at frontal locations were larger and better synchronized to target than to nontarget stimulus type, and were larger over the left hemisphere (contralateral to the responding hand), thus manifesting sensitivity to external stimulus features and motor task. In 13-16-year-old adolescents, GBRs at parietal sites were enhanced by active attending to the side of stimulation, thus being associated with a maintenance of attentional focus to stimulus location. The results indicate that (i) specific aspects of task-stimulus processing engage distinct spatially localized gamma networks at functionally relevant areas, and (ii) the neuronal substrates of gamma band networks and the ability to synchronize them in relation to task-specific processes are available in all age groups from 9 to 16 years. However, the mode and efficiency with which gamma networks can be entrained depends on the age. This age-dependent reactivity of GBRs to different task variables may reflect a transition in processing strategies emerging at approximately 12-13 years in relation to the maturation of cognitive and executive brain functions.