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Sci Rep. 2018 Feb 16;8(1):3175. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-21428-4.

Working Memory And Brain Tissue Microstructure: White Matter Tract Integrity Based On Multi-Shell Diffusion MRI.

Author information

1
Department of Radiology, Center for Advanced Imaging Innovation and Research (CAI2R), New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, 10016, USA.
2
Department of Radiology, Bernard and Irene Schwartz Center for Biomedical Imaging, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, 10016, USA.
3
Kessler Foundation, East Hanover, NJ, 07936, USA.
4
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, 10016, USA.
5
Department of Radiology, Center for Advanced Imaging Innovation and Research (CAI2R), New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, 10016, USA. Yvonne.Lui@nyumc.org.
6
Department of Radiology, Bernard and Irene Schwartz Center for Biomedical Imaging, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, 10016, USA. Yvonne.Lui@nyumc.org.

Abstract

Working memory is a complex cognitive process at the intersection of sensory processing, learning, and short-term memory and also has a general executive attention component. Impaired working memory is associated with a range of neurological and psychiatric disorders, but very little is known about how working memory relates to underlying white matter (WM) microstructure. In this study, we investigate the association between WM microstructure and performance on working memory tasks in healthy adults (right-handed, native English speakers). We combine compartment specific WM tract integrity (WMTI) metrics derived from multi-shell diffusion MRI as well as diffusion tensor/kurtosis imaging (DTI/DKI) metrics with Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV) subtests tapping auditory working memory. WMTI is a novel tool that helps us describe the microstructural characteristics in both the intra- and extra-axonal environments of WM such as axonal water fraction (AWF), intra-axonal diffusivity, extra-axonal axial and radial diffusivities, allowing a more biophysical interpretation of WM changes. We demonstrate significant positive correlations between AWF and letter-number sequencing (LNS), suggesting that higher AWF with better performance on complex, more demanding auditory working memory tasks goes along with greater axonal volume and greater myelination in specific regions, causing efficient and faster information process.

PMID:
29453439
PMCID:
PMC5816650
DOI:
10.1038/s41598-018-21428-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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