Scientists from Kessler Foundation and Rutgers University compared information flow in the brain in individuals with traumatic brain injury and healthy controls, using neuroimaging and a novel working memory task, CapMan, which measures both working memory capacity and the mental manipulation of information in working memory. This is the first such comparative study to show a causal relationship between these tasks of working memory and the fronto-parietal regions. "Investigation of Information Flow During a Novel Working Memory Task in Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury," (doi:10.1089/brain.2014.0283) was published in Brain Connectivity; authors are Ekaterina Dobryakova, PhD, and Glenn Wylie, DPhil, of Kessler Foundation and Olga Boukrina, PhD, of Rutgers University.
Working memory, which involves a network of fronto-parietal regions, is often impaired by the axonal shearing that characterizes TBI. Few studies have looked at the flow of information in working memory after TBI. In this study, researchers compared 11 people with chronic moderate to severe TBI with 15 healthy controls; all performed CapMan tasks during functional magnetic resonance imaging. On fMRI, the TBI group showed hyperconnectivity between the fronto-parietal regions and less organized flow of information related to working memory.
"The effective connectivity analysis used in this study revealed how the neural mechanisms of working memory differ after brain injury," said Dr. Wylie, associate director of the Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation. "Knowing the pattern of working memory deficits will help us develop effective interventions for improving rehabilitation for individuals with TBI."
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