Re: Training of working memory impacts structural connectivity

48 views
Skip to first unread message
Message has been deleted

MR

unread,
Aug 16, 2010, 10:11:39 PM8/16/10
to Dual N-Back, Brain Training & Intelligence
Done.

M

On Aug 16, 12:20 am, likeprestige <plastic...@live.com.au> wrote:
> Hey,
>
> Was hoping to upload the following journal, however I don't have these
> privileges. Anyone? Thanks...
>
> http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/abstract/30/9/3297
>
> TITLE: Training of working memory impacts structural connectivity
>
> ABSTRACT:
>
> Working memory is the limited capacity storage system involved in the
> maintenance and manipulation of information over short periods of
> time. Individual capacity of working memory is associated with the
> integrity of white matter in the frontoparietal regions. It is unknown
> to what extent the integrity of white matter underlying the working
> memory system is plastic. Using voxel-based analysis (VBA) of
> fractional anisotropy (FA) measures of fiber tracts, we investigated
> the effect of working memory training on structural connectivity in an
> interventional study. The amount of working memory training correlated
> with increased FA in the white matter regions adjacent to the
> intraparietal sulcus and the anterior part of the body of the corpus
> callosum after training. These results showed training-induced
> plasticity in regions that are thought to be critical in working
> memory. As changes in myelination lead to FA changes in diffusion
> tensor imaging, a possible mechanism for the observed FA change is
> increased myelination after training. Observed structural changes may
> underlie previously reported improvement of working memory capacity,
> improvement of other cognitive functions, and altered functional
> activity following working memory training. (PsycINFO Database Record
> (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)
>
> Regards,
>
> likeprestige
Message has been deleted

Pheonoxia

unread,
Aug 17, 2010, 12:32:33 AM8/17/10
to Dual N-Back, Brain Training & Intelligence
Am I right to assume that (positively) impacted structural
connectivity more or less translates into "the brain works better"?

Or does this study only suggest that areas of the brain previously
hypothesized to be related to working memory actually change when
training working memory?

Gwern Branwen

unread,
Aug 17, 2010, 3:24:23 AM8/17/10
to brain-t...@googlegroups.com

Thanks for the cite. Reading it, I noticed that the WM training tasks
were variants on DNB, which is important - it links n-backing
specifically with physical changes, suggesting that it isn't merely
learning but capacity changing. I've mentioned it in the FAQ in the
same section as McNab's 2009 dopamine results.

--
gwern

Pontus Granström

unread,
Aug 17, 2010, 5:09:26 AM8/17/10
to brain-t...@googlegroups.com
What's even more important is that they train 25 minutes a day 5 days a week for 2 months. The first three sessions did not correlate with the highest level they reached, interesting since the Madrid study used 3 sessions. They used a variety of tasks most n-back variants. They physically saw improvements in white matter region, meaning that n-back indeed on low level changes the brain. It seems like n-backing is a litterary brain building exercise and my and others analogy with cardiotraining seems to be very valid.

I uploaded the article White matter neuroplastic changes in long-term trained players of the game of
“Baduk", which seems to hold a similar result!


--
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Dual N-Back, Brain Training & Intelligence" group.
To post to this group, send email to brain-t...@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to brain-trainin...@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/brain-training?hl=en.


Gwern Branwen

unread,
Aug 17, 2010, 6:20:39 AM8/17/10
to brain-t...@googlegroups.com
On Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 5:09 AM, Pontus Granström <lepo...@gmail.com> wrote:
> What's even more important is that they train 25 minutes a day 5 days a week
> for 2 months. The first three sessions did not correlate with the highest
> level they reached, interesting since the Madrid study used 3 sessions. They
> used a variety of tasks most n-back variants. They physically saw
> improvements in white matter region, meaning that n-back indeed on low level
> changes the brain. It seems like n-backing is a litterary brain building
> exercise and my and others analogy with cardiotraining seems to be very
> valid.

Well, we already knew about *some* physical changes, as I said, from
McNab's dopamine receptors change. But white matter changes are more
dramatic! And yes, the long-termness of the study made me much happier
about citing it when I saw it. The only way it could have been better
is if they had also administered some IQ tests and included the exact
Jaeggi 2008 DNB task instead of their variants.

> I uploaded the article White matter neuroplastic changes in long-term
> trained players of the game of
> “Baduk", which seems to hold a similar result!

Hm, haven't we discussed Go before? This is interesting, yes, but I
think kind of off-topic. The abstract discusses that some of the
increased white matter is Go-specific, and there are some other
indications that Go is mostly domain-specific:

"the authors had initially hypothesized that both
games would involve a high degree of frontal lobe function, especially
in the so-called general intelligence domain, corresponding to the
lateral prefrontal cortex (Duncan et al., 2000; Sternberg, 2000).
However, the results indicated that neither game activated the g-
intelligence area; the games primarily activated spatial mechanisms
rather than logical and computational skills."

I found this bit rather odd; so did they:

"However, Baduk experts demonstrated slightly lower IQs than did
controls (mean ± SD, 93.19 ± 10.42 for Baduk experts, 101.21 ± 13.11
for controls; t = -2.016, df = 32.910, p = 0.052) as estimated by the
Korean version of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (K-WAIS)
(Kim and Lee, 1995), and a significant difference appeared between
the two groups for level of education"

Can't be explained by appeal to Korea's history - these are all 17-21
year olds or thereabouts.

"Baduk players might tend to
concentrate on their training rather than on formal education, even as
early as childhood. The relatively shorter period of formal education
might be partially responsible for the fact that Baduk players tended to
score somewhat lower on IQ scores than did the control group (Pearson's
correlation coefficient between IQ and education was 0.285, with
p= 0.097). However, more importantly, several studies have investigat-
ed the association between superior expertise and neuropsychological
factors. Many studies have reported on the relationship between autistic
traits (including impairments in social cognition and executive functions)
and savant skills (Happé and Vital, 2009). In addition, one interesting
study investigated the cognitive costs associated with the expertise
which was acquired in adulthood. According to Woollett et al. (2009)
London taxi drivers with navigational expertise obtained from extensive
training during adulthood performed more poorly in spatial memory and
anterograde associative memory tests, in spite of increased posterior
hippocampal volumes. They also asserted that cognitive factors improved
and posterior hippocampal volumes decreased in the retried taxi drivers.
Nonetheless, it seems that their study was not able to completely exclude
genetic effects. Taken together, the lower levels of IQ among Baduk
experts than among controls may have been influenced by the
assumptive innate neuropsychological traits of the selected group or
may be related to the neurocognitive deficits caused during extensive
training in this area of expertise. However, additional comprehensive and
multi-dimensional analyses, including neuropsychological tests and
longitudinal studies, must be performed to completely understand the
complex neuro-developmental course and cognitive evolution involved
in long-term Baduk training."

--
gwern

Pontus Granström

unread,
Aug 17, 2010, 6:36:07 AM8/17/10
to brain-t...@googlegroups.com
Perhaps the Baduk isn't such a good case in g-tasks but more indicative of the brains potential to change. However  in distributed neural system for general intelligence we find:

We found a significant effect on g with lesions
in left hemispheric white matter sectors including the arcuate
and superior longitudinal fasciculus that connect the frontal and
parietal lobe. In addition, we found a sector in the left anterior
frontal pole (BA 10) that is uniquely related to g and not shared
with any other cognitive test.
It is striking that, despite its distributed nature, the neural substrate
of g reported here is remarkably circumscribed, concentrated
in the core of white matter, and essentially always
comprises a narrow subset of the regions associated with performance
on individual WAIS subtests. The largest overlap
between WAIS subtests and g was found for Arithmetic, Similarities,
Information, and Digit Span; the former two tests also
exhibited the greatest conjunction with g.

gwern

Pontus Granström

unread,
Aug 17, 2010, 6:38:03 AM8/17/10
to brain-t...@googlegroups.com
Our results emphasize the important role of white matter tracts in
binding the proposed regions together into a unified system subserving
g, in line with a recent study relating white matter integrity to
intellectual performance (28): the study reported significant correlations
between integrity of the superior fronto-occipital fasciculus
and full-scale intelligence quotient (IQ) (a measure related, but not
identical, to g).
Working memory, which seems to be left lateralized when
tested in the verbal domain (29), is considered a key cognitive
ability strongly related to g (2, 3, 30). The white matter tracts
identified in our analysis connect ventrolateral prefrontal cortex
(VLPFC) and DLPFC with the inferior parietal cortex and terminate
in the superior parietal lobule. In general, VLPFC is
associated with processing intentions and switches between cognitive
sets, which—in the context of working memory—could
correspond to stimulus–response mappings underlying successful
performance (31). By contrast, the DLPFC is thought to be
involved in the manipulation of items in working memory (31).
Finally, the left posterior parietal cortex has been associated with
the storage of verbal material in working memory (32).
Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages