Very early brain damage leads to remodeling of the working memory system in adulthood: A combined fMRI/ tractography study

S. Froudist-Walsh, V. Karolis, C. Caldinelli, P. J. Brittain, J. Kroll, E. Rodriguez-Toscano, M. Tesse, M. Colquhoun, O. Howes, F. Dell'Acqua, M. Thiebaut de Schotten, R. M. Murray, S. C. R. Williams, C. Nosarti
Journal of Neuroscience. 2015-12-02; 35(48): 15787-15799
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4769-14.2015

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1. J Neurosci. 2015 Dec 2;35(48):15787-99. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4769-14.2015.

Very Early Brain Damage Leads to Remodeling of the Working Memory System in
Adulthood: A Combined fMRI/Tractography Study.

Froudist-Walsh S(1), Karolis V(2), Caldinelli C(2), Brittain PJ(2), Kroll J(2),
Rodríguez-Toscano E(3), Tesse M(2), Colquhoun M(2), Howes O(4), Dell’Acqua F(5),
Thiebaut de Schotten M(6), Murray RM(2), Williams SC(5), Nosarti C(7).

Author information:
(1)Department of Psychosis Studies, .
(2)Department of Psychosis Studies.
(3)Department of Psychosis Studies, Department of Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Centro de
Investigación Biomédica En Red de Salud Mental, El Instituto de Investigación
Sanitaria del Hospital Gregoria Marañón, School of Medicine, Universidad
Complutense, 28009 Madrid, Spain.
(4)Department of Psychosis Studies, Medical Research Council, Clinical Sciences
Centre, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Hammersmith Hospital Campus, Imperial
College London, London W12 0HS, United Kingdom.
(5)Department of Neuroimaging, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and
Neuroscience, King’s Health Partners, King’s College London, London WC2R 2LS,
United Kingdom.
(6)Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 7225,
Inserm, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, UMR_S 1127, Centre de Recherche
de l’Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière, GH Pitié-Salpêtrière, 75013
Paris, France, Natbrainlab, Brain and Spine Institute, 75013 Paris, France, and.
(7)Department of Psychosis Studies, Centre for the Developing Brain, Division of
Imaging Sciences and Biomedical Engineering, King’s Health Partners, King’s
College London, St. Thomas’ Hospital, London WC2R 2LS, United Kingdom.

The human brain can adapt to overcome injury even years after an initial insult.
One hypothesis states that early brain injury survivors, by taking advantage of
critical periods of high plasticity during childhood, should recover more
successfully than those who suffer injury later in life. This hypothesis has been
challenged by recent studies showing worse cognitive outcome in individuals with
early brain injury, compared with individuals with later brain injury, with
working memory particularly affected. We invited individuals who suffered
perinatal brain injury (PBI) for an fMRI/diffusion MRI tractography study of
working memory and hypothesized that, 30 years after the initial injury, working
memory deficits in the PBI group would remain, despite compensatory activation in
areas outside the typical working memory network. Furthermore we hypothesized
that the amount of functional reorganization would be related to the level of
injury to the dorsal cingulum tract, which connects medial frontal and parietal
working memory structures. We found that adults who suffered PBI did not
significantly differ from controls in working memory performance. They exhibited
less activation in classic frontoparietal working memory areas and a relative
overactivation of bilateral perisylvian cortex compared with controls.
Structurally, the dorsal cingulum volume and hindrance-modulated orientational
anisotropy was significantly reduced in the PBI group. Furthermore there was
uniquely in the PBI group a significant negative correlation between the volume
of this tract and activation in the bilateral perisylvian cortex and a positive
correlation between this activation and task performance. This provides the first
evidence of compensatory plasticity of the working memory network following PBI.

Copyright © 2015 Froudist-Walsh et al.

DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4769-14.2015
PMCID: PMC4666909
PMID: 26631462 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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