Lasting deficit in inhibitory control with mild traumatic brain injury

Benjamin Xu, Marco Sandrini, Sarah Levy, Rita Volochayev, Oluwole Awosika, John A Butman, Dzung L. Pham, Leonardo G. Cohen

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Abstract

Being able to focus on a complex task and inhibit unwanted actions or interfering information (i.e., inhibitory control) are essential human cognitive abilities. However, it remains unknown the extent to which mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) may impact these critical functions. In this study, seventeen patients and age-matched healthy controls (HC) performed a variant of the Stroop task and attention-demanding 4-choice response tasks (4CRT) with identical stimuli but two contexts: one required only routine responses and the other with occasional response conflicts. The results showed that mTBI patients performed equally well as the HC when the 4CRT required only routine responses. However, when the task conditions included occasional response conflicts, mTBI patients with even a single concussion showed a significant slow-down in all responses and higher error rates relative to the HC. Results from event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (efMRI) revealed altered
neural activity in the mTBI patients in the cerebellum-thalamo-cortical and the fronto-basal-ganglia networks regulating inhibitory control. These results suggest that even without apparent difficulties in performing complex attention-demanding but routine tasks, patients with mTBI may experience longlasting
deficits in regulating inhibitory control when situations call for rapid conflict resolutions.

© 2017 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Original languageEnglish
Article number14902
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2017

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