The compensatory role of the frontal cortex in mild cognitive impairment: Identifying the target for neuromodulation

  • Olga R. Dobrushina Research Center of Neurology, Moscow, Russia
  • Zukhra Sh. Gadzhieva Research Center of Neurology, Moscow, Russia
  • Sofya N Morozova Research Center of Neurology, Moscow, Russia
  • Elena I Kremneva Research Center of Neurology, Moscow, Russia
  • Marina V Krotenkova Research Center of Neurology, Moscow, Russia
  • Larisa A. Dobrynina Research Center of Neurology, Moscow, Russia
Keywords: mild cognitive impairment, executive functions, fMRI, functional connectivity


Introduction: Development of individualized neuromodulation techniques for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a feasible practical goal.  Preliminary research exploring the brain-level compensatory reserves on the base of neuroimaging is necessary.  Methods: Twenty-one older adults, representing a continuum from healthy norm to MCI, underwent functional MRI while performing two executive tasks—a modified Stroop task and selective counting.  A functional activation and connectivity analysis were conducted with the inclusion of a BRIEF–MoCA covariate.  This variable represented the difference between the real-life performance measured by Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) and the level of cognitive deficit measured by Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) Scale, an ability to compensate for impairment.  Results: Both tasks were associated with activation of areas within the frontoparietal control network, along with the supplementary motor area (SMA) and the pre-SMA, the lateral premotor cortex, and the cerebellum.  A widespread increase in the connectivity of the pre-SMA was observed during the tasks.  The BRIEF–MoCA value correlated, first, with connectivity of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (LDLPFC) and, second, with enrollment of the occipital cortex during the counting task.  Conclusion: The developed neuroimaging technique allows identification of the functionally salient target within the LDLPFC in patients with MCI.

Author Biography

Olga R. Dobrushina, Research Center of Neurology, Moscow, Russia

Olga R. Dobrushina is a Research Fellow of the Third Neurological Department. She recieved her M.D. degree from M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University in 2008 and Ph.D. degree from Gereral Reanimatology Institute in 2012. She is also employed in the International Insitute of Psychosomatic Health as Director-General and Neurologist. Her main fields of interest are neurorehabilitation, neurofeedback and functional MRI.


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