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Neurology. 2007 May 1;68(18):1515-23.

Regional frontal injuries cause distinct impairments in cognitive control.

Author information

  • 1Behavioral Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. malexand@bidmc.harvard.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Lesions of the frontal lobes may impair the capacity of patients to control otherwise intact cognitive operations in the face of ambiguous sensory input or conflicting possible responses.

OBJECTIVE:

To address the question of whether focal lesions in different regions of the frontal lobes produced specific impairments in cognitive control.

METHODS:

We evaluated 42 patients with chronic frontal lesions and 38 control subjects on a modified Stroop test that allowed measurement of reaction times and errors. Planned, stratified analyses permitted identification of discrete frontal lesions that are critical for impaired performance.

RESULTS:

Lesions of the left ventrolateral region produced an increased number of incorrect responses to distractors. Lesions of a large portion of the right superior medial region, including anterior cingulate, supplementary motor area (SMA), pre-SMA, and dorsolateral areas, caused a slow reaction time and a decreased number of correct responses to targets.

CONCLUSION:

Lesions in two distinct frontal regions impair cognitive control for a Stroop task, and the mechanisms of impairment are specific to the region of injury. This is support for a general proposal that the supervisory system is constructed of distinct subsystems.

Comment in

PMID:
17470755
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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