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Assessment of Prefrontal Cortex Activity in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Patients with Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy

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Cognitive impairment in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is associated with cortical changes beyond the motor cortex. The overall goal of this project is to determine if task induced hemodynamic changes detected by functional near infrared (fNIR) spectroscopy from the anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) has discriminant validity across ALS (n = 17) patients and matching healthy (n = 17) controls. The experimental protocol was composed of the King-Devick Test, the Number Interference Test and a Continuous Performance Test targeting a range of cognitive domains including sustained attention and executive function. Results indicate that fNIR measures provided significant differences between ALS and healthy controls in all three tasks providing an additional metric for the assessment of cognitive decline. Although this is a pilot study, given the safe, wearable and realworld validity of fNIR, these results may set the foundation for the use of fNIR as a clinical tool in monitoring progression of neurocognitive decline in a simple, less invasive and objective manner than allowed by current imaging technology.
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Keywords: ALS; AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS; EXECUTIVE FUNCTION; FNIR; FUNCTIONAL NEAR INFRARED SPECTROSCOPY; NIRS; OPTICAL BRAIN IMAGING; PREFRONTAL CORTEX; SUSTAINED ATTENTION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2014-02-01

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  • Journal of Neuroscience and Neuroengineering (JNSNE) is an international peer- reviewed journal that covers all aspects of neuroscience and neuroengineering. The journal publishes original full-length research papers, letters, tutorials and review papers in all interdisciplinary disciplines that bridge the gaps between neuroscience, neuroengineering, neurotechnology, neurobiology, brain disorders and diseases, novel medicine, neurotoxicology, biomedical engineering and nanotechnology.
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