Heterogeneity in Recovery: Impact of Genetic Risk Factors on Working Memory Performance in Traumatic Brain Injury

Open Access
Peechatka, Alyssa Leigh
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Frank Gerard Hillary, Thesis Supervisor
  • William Ray, Honors Advisor
  • TBI
  • Working Memory
  • fMRI
There is a growing body of literature using BOLD response and functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the effect of neurological brain disorders, such as traumatic brain injury, on neurological systems including working memory. Although much work has contributed to the understanding of the injured brain, little research has been conducted on possible predictors of outcome and recovery following traumatic brain injury. In neuroscientific literature the genetic characteristics Apolipoprotein E (APOE), specifically APOE4, and the val66met single neurcleotide polymorphism of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), have been shown to reduce overall brain plasticity. The present study examined if the presence either of these genetic risk factors may act as a predictor of performance or BOLD signal change in subjects with traumatic brain injury. Findings reveal important laterality effects and areas of increased BOLD signal activation that suggest genetic risk factors may play a significant role in inhibiting plasticity following neurological insult such as traumatic brain injury.