Increased Frontal Lobe Activation After Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

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Abstract

Background and Purpose—

Neurocognitive deficits are common among survivors of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, even among those with good outcomes and no structural lesions. This study aims to probe the neurophysiological underpinnings of cognitive dysfunction among patients with ruptured intracranial aneurysms using magnetoencephalography (MEG).

Methods—

Thirteen patients who had undergone uncomplicated coiling for aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage and 13 matched controls were enrolled. Neuropsychological tests were done before magnetoencephalography scans. Magnetoencephalography data were acquired in a 151-channel, whole-head magnetoencephalography system for resting state and 2 cognitive tasks (go-no-go and set-shifting). Mean time from treatment to test was 18.8 months.

Results—

Cognitive tasks of inhibition (go-no-go) indicated greater activation in the right anterior cingulate and inferior frontal gyrus, and cognitive set-shifting tasks (mental flexibility) indicated greater activity in the bilateral anterior cingulate cortex and right medial frontal gyrus among aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage patients, with significantly different timing of activation between groups. Resting-state, beta-band connectivity of the anterior cingulate correlated negatively with Montreal Cognitive Assessment scores (left: r=−0.56; P<0.01 and right: r=−0.55; P<0.01): higher connectivity of this region was linked to poorer cognitive test performance.

Conclusions—

We have shown increased activation in areas of the anterior cingulate gyrus and frontobasal regions during the execution of more demanding tasks in good grade. The degree of activation in the anterior cingulate gyrus has a negative correlation with cognitive (Montreal Cognitive Assessment) scores. These subtle differences may be related to the common neurocognitive and behavioral complaints seen in this patient population.

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