Submitted to: Society for Neuroscience Abstracts and Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/7/2005
Publication Date: 11/12/2006
Citation: Pivik, R.T. 2006. Effects of morning nutrition on phasic modulation of EEG alpha activity during an attentional task in preadolescents. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Washington, D.C., November 12-16, 2005. Program No. 876.10.
Interpretive Summary: This study looked at whether eating breakfast would change brain activity and behavior related to learning. On an attentional task healthy 8- to 11-year-old boys and girls who ate breakfast had faster reaction times and brain activity, indicating more attention than those who skipped breakfast. These findings show that eating breakfast has brain effects that help children learn and that skipping even one meal can impair these abilities.
Technical Abstract: Variations in EEG alpha activity have been related to specific aspects of information processing (e.g., attention, memory functions, performance) by examining stimulus-locked increases (event-related synchronization: ERS) and decreases in synchronization (ERD) relative to the immediately preceding priming period. This study examines ERS and ERD for 8-10 and 10-12 Hz activity at frontal, central and occipital cortical sites in a cued visual go/no-go task. Healthy, right-handed children (8-11 yrs. old; IQ > 80) were tested after overnight fasting (Phase 1), and again (Phase 2) after eating a standardized breakfast (n = 30;15 ') or while continuing to fast (n = 30; 15 '). Performance measures—accuracy and reaction time (RT)—were obtained. Sleep (actigraphy, night before testing) and blood glucose (finger sticks, morning of testing) were also monitored. Data were analyzed using ANOVA procedures with post-hoc t-tests. Groups were similar in sleep amount and blood glucose increased in fed children (p<.01). Response accuracy was similar across groups. Relative to Phase 1, RT slowed in Phase 2 for both groups, but significantly only for fasting subjects (p<.01). Compared with responses to non-targets (no-go), those to targets (go) were associated with greater early (initial 500 ms post-stimulus) frontal and central ERS and late (500-1000 ms post-stimulus) ERD. Occipital early ERD and late ERS occurred to both stimulus types. These modulations were generally similar for both alpha bands. Between-group treatment effects were limited to the 8-10 Hz frequency band where, in Phase 2, ERD was greater in fed than in fasting children (p<.05). This effect was most prominent in late frontal and central ERD target responses. These data indicate that eating breakfast effects an enhancement of brain processes relevant to attention and performance in preadolescents.