Mental Stress Tasks & the Prefrontal Cortex

Research Paper Title

Relationship Between Cerebral Blood Oxygenation and Electrical Activity During Mental Stress Tasks: Simultaneous Measurements of NIRS and EEG.

Background

The incidence of stress-induced psychological and somatic diseases has been increasing rapidly, and it is important to clarify the neurophysiological mechanisms of stress response in order to establish effective stress management methods.

The researchers previously reported that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays an important role in stress response.

Methods

In the present study, the researchers employed near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and electroencephalography (EEG) to investigate the characteristics of PFC activity during mental arithmetic tasks.

A two-channel NIRS device was used to measure haemoglobin (Hb) concentration changes in the bilateral PFC during a mental arithmetic task (2 min) in normal adults.

Simultaneously, EEG was used to also measure bilateral PFC activity during the same task.

They evaluated concentration changes of oxy-Hb induced by the task while analysing α wave changes using power spectrum analysis.

Results

It was observed that oxy-Hb in the bilateral PFC increased significantly during the task (p < 0.05), while α wave power in the PFC decreased significantly (p < 0.01).

Conclusions

The present results indicate that mental stress tasks caused the activation of the bilateral PFC.

Simultaneous measurements of NIRS and EEG are useful for evaluating the neurophysiological mechanism of stress responses in the brain.

Reference

Nagasawa, Y., Ishida, M., Komuro, Y., Ushioda, S., Hu, L. & Sakatani, K. (2020) Relationship Between Cerebral Blood Oxygenation and Electrical Activity During Mental Stress Tasks: Simultaneous Measurements of NIRS and EEG. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. 1232:99-104. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-34461-0_14.

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