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Title: Impaired visual working memory and reduced connectivity in undergraduates with a history of mild traumatic brain injury
Abstract Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), or concussion, accounts for 85% of all TBIs. Yet survivors anticipate full cognitive recovery within several months of injury, if not sooner, dependent upon the specific outcome/measure. Recovery is variable and deficits in executive function, e.g., working memory (WM) can persist years post-mTBI. We tested whether cognitive deficits persist in otherwise healthy undergraduates, as a conservative indicator for mTBI survivors at large. We collected WM performance (change detection, n-back tasks) using various stimuli (shapes, locations, letters; aurally presented numbers and letters), and wide-ranging cognitive assessments (e.g., RBANS). We replicated the observation of a general visual WM deficit, with preserved auditory WM. Surprisingly, visual WM deficits were equivalent in participants with a history of mTBI (mean 4.3 years post-injury) and in undergraduates with recent sports-related mTBI (mean 17 days post-injury). In seeking the underlying mechanism of these behavioral deficits, we collected resting state fMRI (rsfMRI) and EEG (rsEEG). RsfMRI revealed significantly reduced connectivity within WM-relevant networks (default mode, central executive, dorsal attention, salience), whereas rsEEG identified no differences (modularity, global efficiency, local efficiency). In summary, otherwise healthy current undergraduates with a history of mTBI present behavioral deficits with evidence of persistent disconnection long after full recovery is more » expected. « less
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Award ID(s):
1632849 1632738
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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