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Age-related variations in evoked potentials to auditory stimuli in normal human subjects


Auditory evoked potentials were recorded from 47 subjects ranging in age from 6 to 76 years in order to assess the effects of maturation and aging on the evoked (N1 and P2) and event-related (N2 and P3) components. Because of clear differences in the effects of age on the event-related components between children (less than 15 years of age) and adults the subjects were divided into two populations for analysis. For adults there was a systematic increase in the latency and decrease in amplitude of each component with age. Also the rate of the age-related increase in latency was proportional to the latency of the component. The scalp distributions of both the stimulus-evoked and event-related components were found to vary with age yielding a more nearly equipotential distribution for older subjects. For children the latencies of the event-related components decreased with age. The stimulus-evoked components had latencies which were not significantly different from those predicted from the adult data. In contrast to the adult data, age affected the scalp distributions of the stimulus-evoked components differently than the event-related components. These results suggest an aging process is relfected in the auditory evoked potential which is not the simple inverse of maturational processes.

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