Detection of hypofrontality in drivers with Alzheimer's disease by near-infrared spectroscopy

Hiroi Tomioka, Bun Yamagata, Taro Takahashi, Madoka Yano, Angelica J. Isomura, Hitomi Kobayashi, Masaru Mimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


It is important to appropriately evaluate the driving performance of elderly persons. In the present study, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) was employed to investigate differences of brain function between individuals with Alzheimer's disease (n = 12) and healthy elderly controls (n = 14) while they were being tested using a driving simulator. Changes of the oxyhemoglobin level in the prefrontal areas of each subject were measured by NIRS during a driving task (collision avoidance). Compared with healthy controls, the Alzheimer's disease group showed a less prominent increase of oxyhemoglobin in the prefrontal cortex during the collision avoidance task. The correlation between delay in braking and changes of oxyhemoglobin was positive in the healthy controls and negative in the Alzheimer's disease group, suggesting that a task-related prefrontal increase of oxyhemoglobin has different implications under normal and pathological conditions. NIRS is a potentially useful tool for real-time monitoring of prefrontal activity during simulated or actual driving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-256
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Feb 27
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Dementia
  • Driving evaluation
  • Driving simulator
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy
  • Prefrontal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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