Sustained attention in a counting task: normal performance and functional neuroanatomy
Ortuño F, Ojeda N, Arbizu J, López P, Martí-Climent JM, Peñuelas I, Cervera S.
Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, University Hospital, School of Medicine, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Navarre, Spain.
We examined changes in relative cerebral flood flow (relCBF) using PET during a sustained attention paradigm which included auditory stimulation and different tasks of mental counting.
Ten normal volunteers underwent PET (15O water) during a baseline state and under experimental conditions which included listening to clicks, serial counting with auditory stimulation, counting with no auditory stimulation, and an additional component of working memory and time estimation. All subjects performed within normal limits in a battery of neurocognitive tests, which included measures of attention and working memory. Both counting with auditory stimulation and counting with no auditory stimulation engaged motor cortex, putamen, cerebellum, and anterior cingulate. Furthermore, counting with no auditory stimulation relative to counting while listening resulted in significantly increased relCBF in the inferior parietal, dorsolateral prefrontal, and anterior cingulate.
The findings obtained in this study support the notion that the parietal and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex are involved when time estimation and working memory are taking part in a task requiring sustained attention.
CITATION Neuroimage. 2002 Sep;17(1):411-20