Features of interregional interaction in the brain of military men with traumatic brain injuries during testing visual working memory on complex stimuli

N. Filimonova, M. Makarchuk, I. Zyma, V. Kalnysh, A. Cheburkova, E. Torgalo


Introduction. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) cause a variety of cognitive impairments, which consist in degradation of memory, attention, problems with the perception and understanding of information, a decrease in control and the adoption of impulsive decisions, and much more.  A key motivation for exploring the capacity of visual working memory (VWM) is that it is a predictor of intelligence and correlates with the ability to suppress unwanted, obsessive thoughts and recollections.

Purpose. The purpose of the work was to determine the effectiveness of visual working memory on complex stimuli (VWMc) and to determine the neural networks and the corresponding brain structures that are involved during the testing of the VWMc in the brain of the military men of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who took part in the operations in the east of Ukraine and have TBI, later – military men with TBI.

Methods. This study involved 16 male volunteers, right-handed, aged 18-21, without complaints of health - students of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (control group) and 17 male volunteers, right-handed, aged 27-43, military men with TBI - patients of the Institute for Occupational Health of the NAMS of Ukraine, SI, Kyiv. EEG studies, coherent analysis and analysis of brain dipoles of brain activity using the Loreta program during testing of VWMc.

Results. When testing VWMc in a group of military men with TBI and the accuracy and time of reaction were significantly worse compared with the control group: 0.44 [0.32; 0.48] relative error vs.  0.28 [0.23; 0.36] relative error *; reaction time 1326 [1056; 1588] ms vs.  921 [767; 999] ms **. 

Conclusion. It was showed that mnemonic and executive functions in the control group at increase cognitive load were dependent on a common front-parietal neural network in which integration, coordination, prognostications and control of the relevant processes were carried out (strategic  decision-making system), while the military men with TBI discovered an occipital-parietal system for storing information based on distinguished features and imaginary planning of motor answer (associative decision-making system).


visual working memory; increased complexity stimuli; traumatic brain injuries; concussion; EEG; coherence; LORETA


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