[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The authors performed this study to assess brain activation during encoding and successful recall with a declarative memory paradigm that has previously been demonstrated to be effective for teaching students about the cranial nerves.
Twenty-four students underwent functional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging during encoding and recall of the name, number, and function of the 12 cranial nerves. The students viewed mnemonic graphic and text slides related to individual nerves, as well as their respective control slides. For the recall paradigm, students were prompted with the numbers 1-12 (test condition) intermixed with the number 14 (control condition). Subjects were tested about their knowledge of cranial nerves outside the MR unit before and after functional MR imaging.
Students learned about the cranial nerves while undergoing functional MR imaging (mean post- vs preparadigm score, 8.1 +/- 3.4 [of a possible 12] vs 0.75 +/- 0.94, bilateral prefrontal cortex, left greater than right; P < 2.0 x 10(-12)) and maintained this knowledge at I week. The encoding and recall paradigms elicited distributed networks of brain activation. Encoding revealed statistically significant activation in the bilateral prefrontal cortex, left greater than right [corrected]; bilateral occipital and parietal associative cortices, parahippocampus region, fusiform gyri, and cerebellum. Successful recall activated the left much more than the right prefrontal, parietal associative, and anterior cingulate cortices; bilateral precuneus and cerebellum; and right more than the left posterior cingulate.
A predictable pattern of brain activation at functional MR imaging accompanies the encoding and successful recall of the cranial nerves with this declarative memory paradigm.