Decreased functional brain activation in Friedreich ataxia using the Simon effect task

Nellie Georgiou-Karistianis, Hamed Akhlaghi, Louise Anne Corben, Martin Delatycki, Elsdon Storey, John Lockyer Bradshaw, Gary Francis Egan

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29 Citations (Scopus)


The present study applied the Simon effect task to examine the pattern of functional brain reorganization in individuals with Friedreich ataxia (FRDA), using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Thirteen individuals with FRDA and 14 age and sex matched controls participated, and were required to respond to either congruent or incongruent arrow stimuli, presented either to the left or right of a screen, via laterally-located button press responses. Although the Simon effect (incongruent minus congruent stimuli) showed common regions of activation in both groups, including the superior and middle prefrontal cortices, insulae, superior and inferior parietal lobules (LPs, LPi), occipital cortex and cerebellum, there was reduced functional activation across a range of brain regions (cortical, subcortical and cerebellar) in individuals with FRDA. The greater Simon effect behaviourally in individuals with FRDA, compared with controls, together with concomitant reductions in functional brain activation and reduced functional connectivity between cortical and sub-cortical regions, implies a likely disruption of cortico-cerebellar loops and ineffective engagement of cognitive/attention regions required for response suppression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200 - 208
Number of pages9
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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