PFC activation during working memory task

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Prefrontal cortex activation during working memory task in schizophrenia: A fNIRS study.

Abstract
Neurocognitive cognitive deficits including working memory (WM) impairment is a key component of schizophrenia (SCZ). Though a prefrontal cortex (PFC) abnormality is recognised to contribute to WM impairment, the exact nature of its neurobiological basis in SCZ is not well established. Functional near infra-red spectroscopy (fNIRS) is an emerging low-cost neuroimaging tool to study neuro-hemodynamics. In this background, we examined the hemodynamic activity during a WM task in schizophrenia using fNIRS. fNIRS was acquired during computerised N-back (zero-, one- & two-back) task in 15 SCZ patients and compared with 22 healthy controls. Performance in N-back test were calculated using signal detection theory alongside the mean reaction times. Concentration and latencies of oxy-, deoxy-, and totalhaemoglobin, and oxygen saturation were computed from 8*8 optodes positioned over bilateral PFC. SCZ performed poorly as measured by most of the WM parameters (p < 0.05). Lesser deoxyhemoglobin concentration (two > zero, at right BA10, p = 0.006) was noted in the right frontopolar cortex in SCZ surviving multiple-comparison correction. In addition, olanzapine equivalent doses correlated negatively with right frontopolar cortex activation (two > zero back, BA10, ρ = 0.70, p = 0.004) and better performance in two back (false alarm rate, ρ = 0.61, p = 0.015). A delayed but compensatory hyperactivation of right frontopolar cortex noted in SCZ may underlie the WM deficit in SCZ. Future studies are recommended to replicate the role of right frontopolar cortex in WM using larger samples and systematically explore the effect of antipsychotics on them.

PMID: 33388563 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Asian J Psychiatr. 2020 Dec 20;56:102507

Authors: Kumar V, Nichenmetla S, Chhabra H, Sreeraj VS, Rao NP, Kesavan M, Varambally S, Venkatasubramanian G, Gangadhar BN

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