Quantifying the heritability of task-related brain activation and performance during the N-back working memory task: A twin fMRI study

Blokland, G. A. M., McMahon, K. L., Hoffman, J., Zhu, G., Meredith, M., Martin, N. G., Thompson, P. M., de Zubicaray, Greig I., & Wright, M. J. (2008) Quantifying the heritability of task-related brain activation and performance during the N-back working memory task: A twin fMRI study. Biological Psychology, 79(1), pp. 70-79.

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Working memory-related brain activation has been widely studied, and impaired activation patterns have been reported for several psychiatric disorders. We investigated whether variation in N-back working memory brain activation is genetically influenced in 60 pairs of twins, (29 monozygotic (MZ), 31 dizygotic (DZ); mean age 24.4 ± 1.7S.D.). Task-related brain response (BOLD percent signal difference of 2 minus 0-back) was measured in three regions of interest. Although statistical power was low due to the small sample size, for middle frontal gyrus, angular gyrus, and supramarginal gyrus, the MZ correlations were, in general, approximately twice those of the DZ pairs, with non-significant heritability estimates (14-30%) in the low-moderate range. Task performance was strongly influenced by genes (57-73%) and highly correlated with cognitive ability (0.44-0.55). This study, which will be expanded over the next 3 years, provides the first support that individual variation in working memory-related brain activation is to some extent influenced by genes.

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71 citations in Scopus
60 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 85682
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: No
Keywords: Dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex, fMRI, Heritability, Individual differences, Multivariate genetic modelling, Twin study, Working memory
DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2008.03.006
ISSN: 1873-6246
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Elsevier
Deposited On: 07 Sep 2015 07:05
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2017 04:01

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