Document Type


Publication Date



IOS Press

Source Publication

Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

Source ISSN




Despite advances in understanding Alzheimer’s disease (AD), prediction of AD prior to symptom onset remains severely limited, even when primary risk factors such as the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ɛ4 allele are known.


Although executive dysfunction is highly prevalent and is a primary contributor to loss of independence in those with AD, few studies have examined neural differences underlying executive functioning as indicators of risk for AD prior to symptom onset, when intervention might be effective.


This study examined event-related potential (ERP) differences during inhibitory control in 44 cognitively intact older adults (20 ɛ4+, 24 ɛ4-), relative to 41 young adults. All participants completed go/no-go and stop-signal tasks.


Overall, both older adult groups exhibited slower reaction times and longer ERP latencies compared to young adults. Older adults also had generally smaller N200 and P300 amplitudes, except at frontal electrodes and for N200 stop-signal amplitudes, which were larger in older adults. Considered with intact task accuracy, these findings suggest age-related neural compensation. Although ɛ4 did not distinguish elders during go or no-go tasks, this study uniquely showed that the more demanding stop-signal task was sensitive to ɛ4 differences, despite comparable task and neuropsychological performance with non-carriers. Specifically, ɛ4+ elders had slower frontal N200 latency and larger N200 amplitude, which was most robust at frontal sites, compared with ɛ4-.


N200 during a stop-signal task is sensitive to AD risk, prior to any evidence of cognitive dysfunction, suggesting that stop-signal ERPs may be an important protocol addition to neuropsychological testing.


Accepted version. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Vol. 80, No. 4 (April 2021): 1413-1428. DOI. © 2021 IOS Press. Used with permission.

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