Jeehye Seo1, Seong-Uk Jin1, Hee-Kyung Kim1, Jang Woo Park1, Moon Han1, Jong Su Baeck1, Yongmin Chang1, 2, Young-Hwan Lee3
1Medical & Biological Engineering, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea; 2Radiology and Molecular Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea; 3Radiology, Daegu Catholic University Medical Center, Daegu, Korea
Occupational lead exposure in adults are associated with decreases in cognitive performance including working memory. The aim of this study is to elucidate the differences in neural activation related to working memory between lead exposure subjects and healthy subjects. Thirty-one lead exposure subjects and 34 healthy subjects performed an n-back memory task. We found that healthy subjects showed better performance in terms of accuracy and reaction times during the task. In between-group analyses, lead exposure subjects showed reduced activation in the dorsolateral, dorsomedial and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, and inferior parietal cortex. Our findings suggest that functional abnormalities in the frontoparietal working memory network might contribute to impairments in maintenance and manipulation of working memory in lead exposure subjects.