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Working memory after severe traumatic brain injury

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 August 2007

CLAIRE VALLAT-AZOUVI
Affiliation:
Antenne UEROS-UGECAM Hôpital Raymond Poincaré, Garches, France INSERM U 731, Paris, France Université Paris 6, Faculté de Médecine, Laboratoire de Physiologie et Physiopathologie de la Motricité, Paris
THOMAS WEBER
Affiliation:
Antenne UEROS-UGECAM Hôpital Raymond Poincaré, Garches, France Service de Médecine Physique et de Réadaptation, Université de Versailles Saint Quentin; AP-HP, Hôpital Raymond Poincaré, Garches, France
LUDOVIC LEGRAND
Affiliation:
Antenne UEROS-UGECAM Hôpital Raymond Poincaré, Garches, France Service de Médecine Physique et de Réadaptation, Université de Versailles Saint Quentin; AP-HP, Hôpital Raymond Poincaré, Garches, France
PHILIPPE AZOUVI
Affiliation:
INSERM U 731, Paris, France Service de Médecine Physique et de Réadaptation, Université de Versailles Saint Quentin; AP-HP, Hôpital Raymond Poincaré, Garches, France Université Paris 6, Faculté de Médecine, Laboratoire de Physiologie et Physiopathologie de la Motricité, Paris

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to assess the functioning of the different subsystems of working memory after severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). A total of 30 patients with severe chronic TBI and 28 controls received a comprehensive assessment of working memory addressing the phonological loop (forward and backward digit span; word length and phonological similarity effects), the visuospatial sketchpad (forward and backward visual spans), and the central executive (tasks requiring simultaneous storage and processing of information, dual-task processing, working memory updating). Results showed that there were only marginal group differences regarding the functioning of the two slave systems, whereas patients with severe TBI performed significantly poorer than controls on most central executive tasks, particularly on those requiring a high level of controlled processing. These results suggest that severe TBI is associated with an impairment of executive aspects of working memory. The anatomic substrate of this impairment remains to be elucidated. It might be related to a defective activation of a distributed network, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. (JINS, 2007, 13, 770–780.)

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2007 The International Neuropsychological Society

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