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Improving quality of life for brain tumor patients
Date:4/21/2008

ological Institute's Brain Tumour Research Centre and a lead investigator in the study. Cognitive functions are essential for daily life. For instance, a correct response at a traffic light depends on the selection of possible actions based on previously acquired information and rules. In this situation, for example, green means go and red means stop. Damage to brain areas responsible for this cognitive ability can have a profound affect on the ability of the patient to lead a normal life. Other higher-order cognitive functions include keeping track of information in working memory, or selectively retrieving information from memory - these abilities are associated with the frontal cortex, and are incredibly important for normal functioning in many activities in basic life.

While in the fMRI scanner, pre-operative brain tumour patients are asked to complete a task which assesses the function of the dorsal premotor cortex by requiring them to select between competing actions based on conditional rules. This preoperative fMRI data is then integrated into an image-guided neuronavigation system, which guides neurosurgeons during surgery optimizing the approach for tumour removal in patients and preserving relevant functional regions in the premotor cortical region of the brain.

Patients then undergo post-operative structural MR imaging to show that the resection of the tumour was optimal and that the functional region within the brain's premotor cortex that was involved in the performance of the cognitive task was preserved. Patients in this study showed no deficits in their performance of the task postoperatively, further demonstrating that this specific cognitive function was not altered.

"These preliminary results are promising and suggest that preoperative fMRI is an important tool to assist neurosurgeons in preserving cognitive function in patients who are undergoing brain tumour surgery", stated Dr. Del Maestro. Dr. Del Maestro and his co
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Contact: Anita Kar
anita.kar@mcgill.ca
514-398-3376
Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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