ISSN 1305-3825 | E-ISSN 1305-3612
Neuroradiology - Original Article
Learning of serial digits leads to frontal activation in functional MR imaging
1 Department of Radiology, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Training and Research Hospital, İstanbul, Turkey  
2 Department of Psychology, Cyprus International University, Nicosia, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus  
Diagn Interv Radiol 2006; 12: 9-13

Key Words: sequencing, temporal ordering, frontal lobe, prefrontal area, functional magnetic resonance imagin serial digit learning test
Abstract

PURPOSE
Clinical studies have shown that performance on the serial digit learning test (SDLT) is dependent upon the mesial temporal lobes, which are responsible for learning and its consolidation. However, an effective SDLT performance is also dependent upon sequencing, temporal ordering, and the utilization of mnemonic strategies. All of these processes are among the functions of the frontal lobes; in spite of this, the relationship between SDLT performance and the frontal lobes has not been demonstrated with previously used mapping techniques. The aim of this study was to investigate the areas of the brain that are activated by SDLT performance.

 

MATERIALS AND METHODS
Ten healthy, right handed volunteers (mean age, 20.1 years; SD: 3.3) who had 12 years of education were studied with a 1.0 T MR imaging scanner. BOLD (blood oxygen level dependent) contrast and a modified SDLT were used. Activated loci were automatically mapped using a proportional grid.

 

RESULTS
In learning, the most consistent activation was observed in B-a-7 of the right (80%) and the left hemispheres (50%). In recall, the most consistent activation was observed in B-a-7 of the right hemisphere (60%). Activations were observed in 2.5±0.97 Talairach volumes in learning, whereas they encompassed 1.7±0.95 volumes in recall. The difference between both phases (learning and recall) regarding total activated volume was significant (p<0.05).

 

CONCLUSION
The prefrontal activation during SDLT performance was not related to learning or to recall, but to a function that is common to both of these cognitive processes. A candidate for this common factor may be the executive functions, which also include serial position processing and temporal ordering.

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