Neural alterations in working memory of mild-moderate TBI: An fMRI study in Malaysia

Wen Jia Chai, Aini Ismafairus Abd Hamid, Hazim Omar, Muhammad Riddha Abdul Rahman, Diana Noma Fitzrol, Zamzuri Idris, Abdul Rahman Izaini Ghani, Wan Nor Azlen Wan Mohamad, Faiz Mustafar, Muhammad Hafiz Hanafi, Regunath Kandasamy, Mohd Zaid Abdullah, Kannapha Amaruchkul, Pedro A. Valdes-Sosa, Maria L. Bringas-Vega, Bharat Biswal, Jitkomut Songsiri, Hamwira Yaacob, Haidi Ibrahim, Putra SumariNor Azila Noh, Kamarul Imran Musa, Asma Hayati Ahmad, Azlinda Azman, Paramjit Singh Jamir Singh, Azizah Othman, Jafri Malin Abdullah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Working memory (WM) encompasses crucial cognitive processes or abilities to retain and manipulate temporary information for immediate execution of complex cognitive tasks in daily functioning such as reasoning and decision-making. The WM of individuals sustaining traumatic brain injury (TBI) was commonly compromised, especially in the domain of WM. The current study investigated the brain responses of WM in a group of participants with mild–moderate TBI compared to their healthy counterparts employing functional magnetic resonance imaging. All consented participants (healthy: n = 26 and TBI: n = 15) performed two variations of the n-back WM task with four load conditions (0-, 1-, 2-, and 3-back). The respective within-group effects showed a right hemisphere-dominance activation and slower reaction in performance for the TBI group. Random-effects analysis revealed activation difference between the two groups in the right occipital lobe in the guided n-back with cues, and in the bilateral occipital lobe, superior parietal region, and cingulate cortices in the n-back without cues. The left middle frontal gyrus was implicated in the load-dependent processing of WM in both groups. Further group analysis identified that the notable activation changes in the frontal gyri and anterior cingulate cortex are according to low and high loads. Though relatively smaller in scale, this study was eminent as it clarified the neural alterations in WM in the mild–moderate TBI group compared to healthy controls. It confirmed the robustness of the phenomenon in TBI with the reproducibility of the results in a heterogeneous non-Western sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)915-932
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


  • cingulate cortex
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • prefrontal cortex
  • traffic accidents
  • traumatic brain injury
  • working memory


Dive into the research topics of 'Neural alterations in working memory of mild-moderate TBI: An fMRI study in Malaysia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this