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Portable brain-mapping device allows UT Arlington researchers to 'see' where memory fails
Date:6/18/2014

UT Arlington researchers have successfully used a portable brain-mapping device to show limited prefrontal cortex activity among student veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder when they were asked to recall information from simple memorization tasks.

The study by bioengineering professor Hanli Liu and Alexa Smith-Osborne, an associate professor of social work, and two other collaborators was published in the May 2014 edition of NeuroImage: Clinical. The team used functional near infrared spectroscopy to map brain activity responses during cognitive activities related to digit learning and memory retrial.

Smith-Osborne has used the findings to guide treatment recommendations for some veterans through her work as principal investigator for UT Arlington's Student Veteran Project, which offers free services to veterans who are undergraduates or who are considering returning to college.

"When we retest those student veterans after we've provided therapy and interventions, they've shown marked improvement," Smith-Osborne said. "The fNIRS data have shown improvement in brain functions and responses after the student veterans have undergone treatment."

Liu said this type of brain imaging allows us to "see" which brain region or regions fail to memorize or recall learned knowledge in student veterans with PTSD.

"It also shows how PTSD can affect the way we learn and our ability to recall information, so this new way of brain imaging advances our understanding of PTSD." Liu said.

This study is multi-disciplinary, associating objective brain imaging with neurological disorders and social work.

While UT Arlington bioengineering faculty associate Fenghua Tian is the primary author assisted by bioengineering graduate research assistant Amarnath Yennu, collaborators of the study include UT Austin psychology professor Francisco Gonzalez-Lima and psychology professor Carol North with UT Southwestern Medical Center and the Veteran
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Contact: Herb Booth
hbooth@uta.edu
817-272-7075
University of Texas at Arlington
Source:Eurekalert  

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