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Brain Inj. 2009 May;23(5):420-32. doi: 10.1080/02699050902788519.

The neural correlates of cognitive fatigue in traumatic brain injury using functional MRI.

Author information

1
Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey, Newark, NJ, USA.

Abstract

PRIMARY OBJECTIVE:

The present study used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to objectively assess cognitive fatigue in persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI). It was hypothesized that while performing a cognitive task, TBI participants would show increased brain activity over time, indicative of increased cerebral 'effort' which might manifest as the subjective feeling of cognitive fatigue.

METHODS AND PROCEDURES:

Functional MRI was used to track brain activity across time while 11 TBI patients with moderate-severe injury and 11 age-matched healthy controls (HCs) performed a modified Symbol Digit Modalities Task (mSDMT). Cognitive fatigue was operationally defined as a relative increase in cerebral activation across time compared to that seen in HCs. ROIs were derived from the Chauduri and Behan model of cognitive fatigue.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND RESULTS:

While performing the mSDMT, participants with a TBI showed increased activity, while HCs subsequently showed decreased activity in several regions including the middle frontal gyrus, superior parietal cortex, basal ganglia and anterior cingulate.

CONCLUSIONS:

Increased brain activity exhibited by participants with a TBI might represent increased cerebral effort which may be manifested as cognitive fatigue. Functional MRI appears to be a potentially useful tool for understanding the neural mechanisms associated with cognitive fatigue in TBI.

PMID:
19408165
DOI:
10.1080/02699050902788519
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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