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Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 21;7(1):8973. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-08846-6.

Cognitive fatigue in individuals with traumatic brain injury is associated with caudate activation.

Author information

1
Kessler Foundation, 120 Eagle Rock Avenue, Suite 100, East Hanover, New Jersey, 07936, USA. gwylie@kesslerfoundation.org.
2
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rutgers University, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, 07101, USA. gwylie@kesslerfoundation.org.
3
The War Related Illness and Injury Study Center, The Department of Veterans' Affairs, New Jersey Healthcare System, East Orange Campus, East Orange, NJ, 07018, USA. gwylie@kesslerfoundation.org.
4
Kessler Foundation, 120 Eagle Rock Avenue, Suite 100, East Hanover, New Jersey, 07936, USA.
5
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rutgers University, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, 07101, USA.
6
Department of Neurology, Rutgers University, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, 07101, USA.
7
Dartmouth College, Dartmouth College Medical School, Hanover, NH, 03755, USA.

Abstract

We investigated differences in brain activation associated with cognitive fatigue between persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and healthy controls (HCs). Twenty-two participants with moderate-severe TBI and 20 HCs performed four blocks of a difficult working memory task and four blocks of a control task during fMRI imaging. Cognitive fatigue, assessed before and after each block, was used as a covariate to assess fatigue-related brain activation. The TBI group reported more fatigue than the HCs, though their performance was comparable. Regarding brain activation, the TBI group showed a Task X Fatigue interaction in the caudate tail resulting from a positive correlation between fatigue and brain activation for the difficult task and a negative relationship for the control task. The HC group showed the same Task X Fatigue interaction in the caudate head. Because we had prior hypotheses about the caudate, we performed a confirmatory analysis of a separate dataset in which the same subjects performed a processing speed task. A relationship between Fatigue and brain activation was evident in the caudate for this task as well. These results underscore the importance of the caudate nucleus in relation to cognitive fatigue.

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