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Neuroimage. 2013 Jan 15;65:466-75. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.10.004. Epub 2012 Oct 11.

Cerebellum and integration of neural networks in dual-task processing.

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Department of Neurobiology, Key Laboratory on Neurodegenerative Disorders of Ministry of Education, Beijing Institute of Geriatrics, Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.


Performing two tasks simultaneously (dual-task) is common in human daily life. The neural correlates of dual-task processing remain unclear. In the current study, we used a dual motor and counting task with functional MRI (fMRI) to determine whether there are any areas additionally activated for dual-task performance. Moreover, we investigated the functional connectivity of these added activated areas, as well as the training effect on brain activity and connectivity. We found that the right cerebellar vermis, left lobule V of the cerebellar anterior lobe and precuneus are additionally activated for this type of dual-tasking. These cerebellar regions had functional connectivity with extensive motor- and cognitive-related regions. Dual-task training induced less activation in several areas, but increased the functional connectivity between these cerebellar regions and numbers of motor- and cognitive-related areas. Our findings demonstrate that some regions within the cerebellum can be additionally activated with dual-task performance. Their role in dual motor and cognitive task processes is likely to integrate motor and cognitive networks, and may be involved in adjusting these networks to be more efficient in order to perform dual-tasking properly. The connectivity of the precuneus differs from the cerebellar regions. A possible role of the precuneus in dual-tasks may be to monitor the operation of active brain networks.

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