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Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2009 Jun;23(5):468-77. doi: 10.1177/1545968308328728. Epub 2008 Dec 31.

Plasticity of the attentional network after brain injury and cognitive rehabilitation.

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  • 1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Division for Neurorehabilitation, Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea. yunkim@skku.edu



This study aimed to delineate the cerebral attentional network in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and assess for adaptations in this network in response to a rehabilitation intervention.


Seventeen patients with TBI and 15 healthy subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) using a visuospatial attention task. Ten TBI patients who successfully completed attentional training had a follow-up fMRI.


In the TBI patients, fMRI analysis showed more activation in the frontal and temporoparietal lobes, as well as less activation in the anterior cingulated gyrus, SMA, and temporooccipital regions compared to the healthy subjects. Following cognitive training, the TBI patients improved performance of attention tasks accompanied by changes in attentional network activation; the activity of the frontal lobe decreased, whereas activation of the anterior cingulate cortices and precuneus increased.


These findings demonstrate the plasticity and training induced redistribution of the visuospatial attentional network in TBI patients.

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