Neural mechanisms underlying state mental fatigue in multiple sclerosis: a pilot study.
Neuroimaging underpinnings of state (in the moment, transient) mental fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS) are not well understood. The current pilot study examined the effect of state mental fatigue on brain activation (measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI]) during conditions of varying cognitive loads of rapid information processing in persons with MS relative to healthy controls. Nineteen persons with MS and 17 healthy controls underwent fMRI scanning while performing a modified version of the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, which consisted of high and low cognitive load conditions with comparable visual stimulation. State mental fatigue was assessed using the Visual Analog Scale of Fatigue before and after each run of the behavioral task. Results indicated that the healthy control group recruited significantly more anterior brain regions (superior and middle frontal gyri, insula, and superior temporal gyrus) to meet increased task demands during the high cognitive load condition as fatigue level increased (p