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Brain Connect. 2015 Sep;5(7):433-41. doi: 10.1089/brain.2014.0283. Epub 2015 Jan 28.

Investigation of Information Flow During a Novel Working Memory Task in Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury.

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1 Kessler Foundation , West Orange, New Jersey.
2 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School , Newark, New Jersey.
3 Department of Psychology, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School , Newark, New Jersey.
4 Department of Veteran's Affairs, War Related Illness & Injury Study Center , East Orange, New Jersey.


Working memory (WM) is often compromised after traumatic brain injury (TBI). A number of functional and effective connectivity studies investigated the interaction between brain regions during WM task performance. However, previously used WM tasks did not allow differentiation of WM subprocesses such as capacity and manipulation. We used a novel WM paradigm, CapMan, to investigate effective connectivity associated with the capacity and manipulation subprocesses of WM in individuals with TBI relative to healthy controls (HCs). CapMan allows independent investigation of brain regions associated with capacity and manipulation, while minimizing the influence of other WM-related subprocesses. Areas of the fronto-parietal WM network, previously identified in healthy individuals as engaged in capacity and manipulation during CapMan, were analyzed with the Independent Multiple-sample Greedy Equivalence Search (IMaGES) method to investigate the differences in information flow between healthy individuals and individuals with TBI. We predicted that diffuse axonal injury that often occurs after TBI might lead to changes in task-based effective connectivity and result in hyperconnectivity between the regions engaged in task performance. In accordance with this hypothesis, TBI participants showed greater inter-hemispheric connectivity and less coherent information flow from posterior to anterior brain regions compared with HC participants. Thus, this study provides much needed evidence about the potential mechanism of neurocognitive impairments in individuals affected by TBI.


TBI; attention; capacity; effective connectivity; fMRI; fronto-parietal network; manipulation; working memory

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