Exhaustion disorder and altered brain activity in frontal cortex detected with fNIRS.
Patients with stress-related Exhaustion Disorder (ED) have problems with memory and executive function. These problems have been associated with deviant activity in prefrontal cortex (PFC). We investigated cognitive performance and functional activity in the PFC during prolonged mental activity in patients with ED (n = 20, 16 women) with a mean duration since diagnosisof 46 ± 23 months in comparison tohealthy individuals (n = 20, 12 women). A block of six neuropsychological tests was performed in a sequence, that was repeated once. The brain imaging technique, functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) was used for all tests. There were no differences between the groups in terms of changes over time, i.e., difference between first and second test block.In the Stroop-Simon test, the controls showedhigher functional activity in the frontal cortex.In the left ventrolateral PFCwe observedanincreased activity in controls in the incongruent compared to the congruent trials, whereas no changes were detected in the ED patient group. During processing speed tasks,only ED patients showed higher functional activity in right dorsolateral PFC.The ED patientsreported lower subjective energy level and theyalso performed less well on a mental control task compared to healthy individuals.In conclusion, ED patients showed altered functional activity compared to controls, indicating that ED patients process information differently in the prefrontal cortex, but the functional activity did not change during the 2 ½hr procedure, as revealed by the test-retest design.Lay summary: In this paper we show that patient with exhaustion disorder have a reduced functional activity in the prefrontal cortex, which was associated with the level of mental fatigue. This functional activity was not affected by 2.5 hours mental activity.
PMID: 32510268 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]
Stress. 2020 Jun 08;:1-33
Authors: Skau S, Jonsdottir IH, Sjörs Dahlman A, Johansson B, Kuhn HG