Objective The primary purpose of the current study was to investigate the clinical applicability of Brain Network Activation (BNA), a novel event-related-potential (ERP)-based brain imaging technology, to assess cognitive changes following scopolamine-induced impairment.
Design In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study subjects received scopolamine to induce cognitive impairment. An auditory oddball task was performed while high density EEG data was recorded before, during and 1 week after impairment reversal.
Settings Research center (CRO). Clinical care not applicable.
Participants Healthy volunteers of both genders aged 18–45 years. Fifteen participants were enrolled, 13 completed the study.
Interventions 0.4 mg of scopolamine was administered subcutaneously.
Main Outcome Measurements Brain network activity of subjects was evaluated and quantified using the BNA technology. Significant change in BNA scores across visits for each subject was identified by a Minimal Important Difference (MID) measure. MID defines the range of normal variability between scores from two repeated visits, based on an external control database (N=75). Changes in BNA scores which cross the MID indicate a significant level of cognitive impairment.
Results A significant decline (p<0.01) in BNA scores was observed as a result of scopolamine induced impairment, followed by a significant recovery (p<0.001). At recovery, scores returned to baseline (p=0.58). MID analysis showed that the effect of scopolamine was significantly larger than that of placebo in individual subjects (p<0.05).
Conclusions Pharmacologically induced cognitive impairment was successfully identified utilising the BNA technology. The technology could potentially be used clinically to provide functional information regarding network-based cognitive impairment associated with concussion.
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