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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/11269

Title: Investigating the Impact of Diffuse Axonal Injury on Working Memory Performance following Traumatic Brain Injury Using Functional and Diffusion Neuroimaging Methods
Authors: Turner, Gary R.
Advisor: Levine, Brian
Department: Psychology
Keywords: fMRI
Working Memory
Frontal Lobe
Issue Date: 1-Aug-2008
Abstract: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of disability globally. Cognitive deficits represent the primary source of on-going disability in this population, yet the mechanisms of these deficits remain poorly understood. Here functional and diffusion-weighted imaging techniques were employed to characterize the mechanisms of neurofunctional change following TBI and their relationship to cognitive function. TBI subjects who had sustained moderate to severe brain injury, demonstrated good functional and neuropsychological recovery, and screened positive for diffuse axonal injury but negative for focal brain lesions were recruited for the project. TBI subjects and matched controls underwent structural, diffusion-weighted and functional MRI. The functional scanning paradigm consisted of a complex working memory task with both load and executive control manipulations. Study one demonstrated augmented functional engagement for TBI subjects relative to healthy controls associated with executive control processing but not maintenance operations within working memory. In study two, multivariate neuroimaging analyses demonstrated that activity within a network of bilateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) and posterior parietal regions was compensatory for task performance in the TBI sample. Functional connectivity analyses revealed that a common network of bilateral PFC regions was active in both groups during working memory performance, although this activity was behaviourally relevant at lower levels of task demand in TBI subjects relative to healthy controls. In study three, diffusion-imaging was used to characterize the impact of diffuse white matter pathology on these neurofunctional changes. Unexpectedly, decreased white matter integrity was not correlated with working memory performance following TBI. However, markers of white matter pathology did inversely correlate with the compensatory functional changes observed previously. These results implicate diffuse white matter pathology as a primary mechanism of functional brain change following TBI. Moreover, reactive neurofunctional changes appear to mediate the impact of diffuse injury following brain trauma, suggesting new avenues for neurorehabilitation in this population.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/11269
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Psychology - Doctoral theses

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