Neuroplasticity of Cognitive Control Networks Following Cognitive Training for Chronic Traumatic Brain Injury



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Elsevier Sci Ltd


Cognitive control is the ability to coordinate thoughts and actions to achieve goals. Cognitive control impairments are one of the most persistent and devastating sequalae of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). There have been efforts to improve cognitive control in individuals with post-acute TBI. Several studies have reported changes in neuropsychological measures suggesting the efficacy of cognitive training in improving cognitive control. Yet, the neural substrates of improved cognitive control after training remains poorly understood. In the current study, we identified neural plasticity induced by cognitive control training for TBI using resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC). Fifty-six individuals with chronic mild TBI (9 years post- injury on average) were randomized into either a strategy-based cognitive training group (N = 26) or a knowledge-based training group (active control condition; N = 30) for 8 weeks. We acquired a total of 109 resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging from 45 individuals before training, immediately post-training, and 3 months post- training. Relative to the controls, the strategy-based cognitive training group showed monotonic increases in connectivity in two cognitive control networks (i.e., cingulo-opercular and fronto-parietal networks) across time points in multiple brain regions (p(voxel) < 0.001, p(cluster) < 0.05). Analyses of brain-behavior relationships revealed that frontoparietal network connectivity over three time points within the strategy-based cognitive training group was positively associated with the trail making scores (p(voxel) < 0.001, p(cluster) < 0.05). These findings suggest that training-induced neuroplasticity continues through chronic phases of TBI and that rsFC can serve as a neuroimaging biomarker of evaluating the efficacy of cognitive training for TBI.


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Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cerebral Cortex, Short-term memory-, Brain Injuries, Traumatic, Rehabilitation, Neuroplasticity, Executive Function


CC BY 4.0 (Attribution), ©2018 The Authors