Background/Purpose: Event-related potentials (ERPs) reflect higher cortical function and the P3 (P300) wave has been associated with various sensory, cognitive, and attention processes. The aims of this study were to understand the age-related change in ERPs in children between the ages of 6 and 13 years and to establish a normal reference value for Taiwanese children for use in future study of neurocognitive dysfunction in children. Methods: Using an auditory oddball paradigm, ERPs were recorded in 63 mentally and physically normal children ages 6 to 13 years. Parietal, central, and frontal ERP long-latency components (N1, P2, N2, P3) were measured in each test participant. Results: Linear regression analysis demonstrated a significant linear decrease in P3, P2, N2, and N1 latencies and a significant linear increase in P3, P2, and N1 amplitudes in children between the ages of 6 and 13 years. P3 latency was significantly longer in children ages 6-7 years than in older children. The parietal P3 latency decreases 6.7. msec per year from ages 6 to 13 years. A wide variation in P3 latency in the children ages 6-7 years and a significant increase in P3 amplitude in those ages 12-13 years were observed from our data. A significant increase in P2 amplitude was also observed in children older than 10 years. Conclusion: The authors conclude that there exists an age-related change in ERP latency and amplitude during childhood. A negative correlation between ERP latencies and age and a positive correlation between ERP amplitude and age were found in this study. The authors emphasize that the auditory ERP value in children is not equal to that of adults. A normative auditory ERP value in children should be established prior to clinical application.
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