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Geriatrics 2018, 3(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/geriatrics3020020

Altered Functional Brain Connectivity in Mild Cognitive Impairment during a Cognitively Complex Car Following Task

1
Neuroscience Research Program, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, ON M5B 1T8, Canada
2
Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 1A8, Canada
3
Department of Psychiatry, Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5B 1W8, Canada
4
Department of Medicine and Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Science, Toronto, ON M6A 2E1, Canada
5
Department of Medicine and Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 1A8, Canada
6
Department of Research, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, ON M5G 2A2, Canada
7
Physical Sciences Platform, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, ON M4N 3M5, Canada
8
Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5G 1L7, Canada
9
Department of Surgery, Neurosurgery Division, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M52 3H7, Canada
10
Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3G9, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 March 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 19 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Driving)
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Abstract

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) can affect multiple cognitive abilities, leading to difficulty in performing complex, cognitively demanding daily tasks, such as driving. This study combined driving simulation and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate brain function in individuals with MCI while they performed a car-following task. The behavioral driving performance of 24 patients with MCI and 20 healthy age-matched controls was compared during a simulated car-following task. Functional brain connectivity during driving was analyzed for a separate cohort of 15 patients with MCI and 15 controls. Individuals with MCI had minor difficulty with lane maintenance, exhibiting significantly increased variability in steering compared to controls. Patients with MCI also exhibited reduced connectivity between fronto-parietal regions, as well as between regions involved in cognitive control (medial frontal cortex) and regions important for visual processing (cuneus, angular gyrus, superior occipital cortex, inferior and superior parietal cortex). Greater difficulty in lane maintenance (i.e., increased steering variability and lane deviations) among individuals with MCI was further associated with increased connectivity between the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and inferior frontal gyrus, as well as increased intra-cerebellar connectivity. Thus, compared to cognitively healthy controls, patients with MCI showed reduced connectivity between regions involved in visual attention, visual processing, cognitive control, and performance monitoring. Greater difficulty with lane maintenance among patients with MCI may reflect failure to inhibit components of the default-mode network (PCC), leading to interference with task-relevant networks as well as alterations in cerebellum connectivity. View Full-Text
Keywords: mild cognitive impairment; driving; fMRI; functional connectivity mild cognitive impairment; driving; fMRI; functional connectivity
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hird, M.A.; Churchill, N.W.; Fischer, C.E.; Naglie, G.; Graham, S.J.; Schweizer, T.A. Altered Functional Brain Connectivity in Mild Cognitive Impairment during a Cognitively Complex Car Following Task. Geriatrics 2018, 3, 20.

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