Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Mar 15;113(11):3066-71. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1518129113. Epub 2016 Feb 8.

Seasonality in human cognitive brain responses.

Author information

1
GIGA-Research-Cyclotron Research Centre-In Vivo Imaging, University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium; Walloon Excellence in Life Sciences and Biotechnology (WELBIO), 4000 Liège, Belgium;
2
GIGA-Research-Cyclotron Research Centre-In Vivo Imaging, University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium; Walloon Excellence in Life Sciences and Biotechnology (WELBIO), 4000 Liège, Belgium; Department of Psychology: Cognition and Behavior, University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium;
3
Surrey Sleep Research Centre, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, GU2 7XP Guildford, United Kingdom;
4
GIGA-Research-Cyclotron Research Centre-In Vivo Imaging, University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium; Walloon Excellence in Life Sciences and Biotechnology (WELBIO), 4000 Liège, Belgium; Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium;
5
GIGA-Research-Cyclotron Research Centre-In Vivo Imaging, University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium; Walloon Excellence in Life Sciences and Biotechnology (WELBIO), 4000 Liège, Belgium; Department of Neurology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium pmaquet@ulg.ac.be gilles.vandewalle@ulg.ac.be.
6
GIGA-Research-Cyclotron Research Centre-In Vivo Imaging, University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium; Walloon Excellence in Life Sciences and Biotechnology (WELBIO), 4000 Liège, Belgium; pmaquet@ulg.ac.be gilles.vandewalle@ulg.ac.be.

Abstract

Daily variations in the environment have shaped life on Earth, with circadian cycles identified in most living organisms. Likewise, seasons correspond to annual environmental fluctuations to which organisms have adapted. However, little is known about seasonal variations in human brain physiology. We investigated annual rhythms of brain activity in a cross-sectional study of healthy young participants. They were maintained in an environment free of seasonal cues for 4.5 d, after which brain responses were assessed using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they performed two different cognitive tasks. Brain responses to both tasks varied significantly across seasons, but the phase of these annual rhythms was strikingly different, speaking for a complex impact of season on human brain function. For the sustained attention task, the maximum and minimum responses were located around summer and winter solstices, respectively, whereas for the working memory task, maximum and minimum responses were observed around autumn and spring equinoxes. These findings reveal previously unappreciated process-specific seasonality in human cognitive brain function that could contribute to intraindividual cognitive changes at specific times of year and changes in affective control in vulnerable populations.

KEYWORDS:

annual; attention; cognition; fMRI; season

PMID:
26858432
PMCID:
PMC4801294
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1518129113
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center