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Int J Hyperthermia. 2018 Nov;34(7):1010-1019. doi: 10.1080/02656736.2017.1392046. Epub 2017 Nov 1.

The effects of head-cooling on brain function during passive hyperthermia: an fMRI study.

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a Graduate School, Jinzhou Medical University , Jinzhou , China.
b Department of Medical Imaging , Jinan Military General Hospital , Jinan , China.
c Institute of Postgraduates, The Second Military Medical University , Shanghai , China.
d Center for MR Research, and Department of Radiology , University of Illinois at Chicago , Chicago , IL , USA.



To investigate the effect of head-cooling on resting-state spontaneous brain activity during passive hyperthermia.


An environmental heat exposure was simulated on 16 healthy men under a normal control condition (NC) at 25 °C and two hot conditions at 50 °C with hyperthermia with head-cooling condition (HHC) and without hyperthermia condition (HOT) keeping the head cool, respectively. Resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) data were acquired under each condition and the values of amplitude low frequency fluctuations (ALFF) and z functional connectivity (zFC) were computed to examine regional activity and functional integration, respectively. Pearson's correlation analysis between the ALFF value and subjective sensations scores were performed.


Brain regions with significant ALFF differences among the three conditions were found primarily in the right medial prefrontal cortex/anterior cingulate cortex (MPFC/ACC), bilateral posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus (PCC/PCu), and right fusiform gyrus. Compared to the NC or HOT condition, the HHC condition exhibited significantly increased ALFF in the bilateral PCC/PCu and decreased ALFF in the right fusiform gyrus. However, ALFF of the right MPFC/ACC showed no significant difference between the NC and HHC conditions. Positive FC between the right MPFC/ACC and bilateral PCC/PCu was significantly increased in HHC condition with respect to HOT condition. Negative FC between the right fusiform gyrus and the right MPFC/ACC, bilateral PCC/PCu was observed with a decreasing trend from the HHC condition to the HOT condition. Moreover, head-cooling also improved thermal comfort during passive hyperthermia.


Head-cooling could substantially reduce the negative effect of hyperthermia on human brain activity as well as thermal sensation.


Hyperthermia; fMRI; head-cooling; thermal sensations

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