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Brain Topogr. 2017 Jul;30(4):539-547. doi: 10.1007/s10548-017-0561-3. Epub 2017 Apr 10.

Electroencephalographic Evidence of Altered Top-Down Attentional Modulation in Fibromyalgia Patients During a Working Memory Task.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. albertojac.gonzalez@gmail.com.
2
Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
3
Department of Neurology, Complexo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Abstract

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic syndrome involving widespread pain of unclear pathophysiology. FM patients frequently complain about cognitive symptoms that interfere with their daily life activities. Several studies have reported attentional deficits and working memory impairment in FM patients. Nevertheless, the mechanisms involved in these alterations are still poorly understood. In this study we recorded electroencephalographic activity in 32 women with FM and 30 matched controls while they performed a 2-back working memory task. We analyzed behavioural data, posterior alpha and midfrontal theta frequency power, and theta phase synchronization between midfrontal locations and the remaining scalp-recorded areas. Task performance was similar in patients and controls; however, time-frequency analysis showed a smaller decrease in the amplitude of the posterior alpha (related to attentional processing) and a smaller increase in midfrontal theta power (related to mental effort) in FM patients than in healthy controls. The FM patients also showed lower functional connectivity between midfrontal locations and rest of the scalp-recorded areas in the theta band (related to information transfer across distant brain regions when top-down control is required). To our knowledge, this is the first study relating alterations in oscillatory activity and impaired connectivity to attentional working memory complaints in FM patients. Reduced power in the theta band during performance of the task suggests that the medial frontal cortex may play an important role in the attentional deficits reported in FM.

KEYWORDS:

Alpha; Attention; Fibromyalgia; Theta; Working memory; n-Back

PMID:
28397030
DOI:
10.1007/s10548-017-0561-3

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