Brain Activation While Thinking About the Self From Another Person's Perspective After Traumatic Brain Injury in Adolescents

Newsome, Baylor College of Medicine, Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, 1709 Dryden Road, Suite 725, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
Neuropsychology (Impact Factor: 3.27). 03/2010; 24(2):139-47. DOI: 10.1037/a0017432
Source: PubMed


Deficits in self awareness and taking the perspective of others are often observed following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Nine adolescents (ages 12-19 years) who had sustained moderate to severe TBI after an average interval of 2.6 years and nine typically developing (TD) adolescents underwent functional MRI (fMRI) while performing a perspective taking task (D'Argembeau et al., 2007). Participants made trait attributions either from their own perspective or from that of the significant other. The groups did not differ in reaction time or on a consistency criterion. When thinking of the self from a third-person perspective, adolescents with TBI demonstrated greater activation in posterior brain regions implicated in social cognition, the left lingual gyrus (BA 18) and posterior cingulate (BA 31), extending into neighboring regions not generally associated with social cognition, that is, cuneus (BA 31) and parahippocampal gyrus, relative to TD adolescents. We postulate that adolescents with moderate to severe TBI recruited alternative neural pathways during perspective-taking because traumatic axonal injury disrupted their fronto-parietal networks mediating social cognition.

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    • "Thus, a similar proposal might not be as legitimate for social cognition, especially as previous studies have shown that neural compensation for damage to the brain network related to social cognitive tasks is possible. For instance, Newsome et al. demonstrated that a group of adolescents who had traumatic brain injuries (TBI) recruit alternative neural pathways to compensate for theory of mind impairments related to the affected areas by TBI, and hence had similar processing speeds as healthy controls [73]. This evidence may provide a clue to the interpretation of the result that we did not find any correlation between social cognition and oxidative stress, even though the NT4/5 levels that were negatively associated with NO predicted some variance in executive functioning. "
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    • "The robust and long-lasting effect on neurogenic upregulation suggests that this may help play an important role in recovery. Indeed, inducing neurogenesis pharmacologically has been explored as a therapeutic approach following brain trauma following TBI [89], [90]. However, it is worth nothing that in the case of neurogenesis, more is not always better. "
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    • "This contrast revealed significant activation within the pACC, dACC, and Cuneus. Such a pattern of activation is in line with the literature on differences between stimuli processing concerning oneself and stimuli processing concerning others, which is suggested to reflect self-related processes [37,38]; (cf. supporting information file S1, Table S4). "
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