Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury on Working Memory-Related Brain Activation in Adolescents

Mary R. Newsome, Joel L. Steinberg, Randall S. Scheibel, Maya Troyanskaya, Z. Chu, Gerri Hanten, Hanzhang Lu, Summer Lane, Xiaodi Lin, Jill V. Hunter, Carmen Vasquez, Jennifer Zientz, Xiaoqi Li, Elisabeth A. Wilde, Harvey S. Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Eight adolescents (ages 13-18 years) who sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI) and eight gender- and age-matched typically developing (TD) adolescents underwent event-related functional MRI (fMRI) while performing a Sternberg letter recognition task. Encoding, maintenance, and retrieval were examined with memory loads of one or four items during imaging. Both groups performed above a 70% accuracy criterion and did not differ in performance. TD adolescents showed greater increase in frontal and parietal activation during high-load relative to low-load maintenance than the TBI group. The TBI patients showed greater increase in activation during high-load relative to low-load encoding and retrieval than the TD group. Results from this preliminary study suggest that the capability to differentially allocate neural resources according to memory load is disrupted by TBI for the maintenance subcomponent of working memory. The overrecruitment of frontal and extrafrontal regions during encoding and retrieval following TBI may represent a compensatory process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-425
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • adolescents
  • fMRI
  • traumatic brain injury
  • working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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