Children surviving certain cancers have a high incidence of cognitive deficits caused by central nervous system (CNS) disease or treatments directed at the CNS. To establish the feasibility of using blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study cognitive deficits in survivors of childhood cancer, we tested the hypothesis that this population has the same BOLD response to visual stimulation as healthy subjects. We used BOLD fMRI to measure spatial and temporal patterns of brain activity after brief visual stimulation in 16 survivors of childhood cancer, 11 age-similar healthy siblings of survivors, and 16 healthy adults. Functional data for the survivors were analyzed with two general linear models, one used a canonical hemodynamic response function (HRF) and the other used a Fourier set as basis functions. The measured BOLD signal and brain activation patterns were similar in the survivors with both models. The BOLD signal for survivors was qualitatively similar in timing and shape, but there were significant quantitative differences as compared with healthy subjects. The activation was normally located in the primary visual cortex in 13 survivors, but the activation volume was significantly smaller in brain tumor survivors than in other groups. These findings demonstrate the feasibility of using BOLD fMRI to investigate brain function in survivors of childhood cancer. However, fMRI studies in this population must take into account effects of quantitative differences in their BOLD responses as compared to healthy subjects.
- Blood oxygen level-dependent contrast
- Cerebral vasculature
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging
- Primary visual cortex
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience