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PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34774. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034774. Epub 2012 Apr 13.

Fatigue-associated alterations of cognitive function and electroencephalographic power densities.

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Department of Physiology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, Abeno-ku, Osaka City, Osaka, Japan.


Fatigue is a common problem in modern society. We attempted to identify moderate- to long-term fatigue-related alterations in the central nervous system using cognitive tasks and electroencephalography (EEG) measures. The study group consisted of 17 healthy male participants. After saliva samples were collected to measure copy number of human herpesvirus (HHV)-6 DNA to assess the level of moderate- to long-term fatigue, subjects were evaluated using EEG, with their eyes open for 2 min, then closed for 1 min sitting quietly. Thereafter, they completed cognitive task trials to evaluate simple selective attention for 3 min (Task 1) and conflict-controlling selective attention for 6 min (Task 2, which included Stroop trials). The percent error of Task 2 for Stroop trials was positively associated with the copy number of saliva HHV-6 DNA, although the simple selective attention measures in Task 1 did not differ significantly. EEG power densities (especially the alpha power density) during the eye-closed condition were negatively associated with the saliva HHV-6 DNA level. Impaired high-level information processing such as that required for conflict-controlling selective attention in the central nervous system may be a characteristic feature of moderate- to long-term fatigue.

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