Cognitive impairment after traumatic brain injury: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study using the Stroop task
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The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) plays a key role in cognition, motor function, and emotion processing. However, little is known about how traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects the ACC system. Our purpose was to compare, by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies, the patterns of cortical activation in patients with cognitive impairment after TBI and those of normal subjects. Cortical activation maps of 11 right-handed healthy control subjects and five TBI patients with cognitive impairment were recorded in response to a Stroop task during a block-designed fMRI experiment. Statistical parametric mapping (SPM99) was used for individual subjects and group analysis. In TBI patients and controls, cortical activation, found in similar regions of the frontal, occipital, and parietal lobes, resembled patterns of activation documented in previous neuroimaging studies of the Stroop task in healthy controls. However, the TBI patients showed a relative decrease in ACC activity compared with the controls. Cognitive impairment in TBI patients seems to be associated with alterations in functional cerebral activity, especially less activation of the ACC. These changes are probably the result of destruction of neural networks after diffuse axonal injury and may reflect cortical disinhibition attributable to disconnection or compensation for an inefficient cognitive process.
KeywordsCognitive function Functional MRI Brain injury Stroop task
The authors thank Mr. Naoki Hirata at GE Yokogawa Medical Systems, Ltd., and Mr. Yukinori Kasuya for technical assistance and Ms. Ursula A. Petralia for editing the manuscript. This work was supported and approved by the Gifu Prefecture Brain Research Foundation.
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