Electrophysiological correlates of semantic memory retrieval in Gulf War Syndrome 2 patients

Gail D. Tillman, Clifford S. Calley, Virginia I. Buhl, Hsueh Sheng Chiang, Robert W. Haley, John Hart, Michael A. Kraut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Gulf War veterans meeting criteria for Haley Syndrome 2 of Gulf War illness endorse a particular constellation of symptoms that include difficulty with processing information, word-finding, and confusion. To explore the neural basis of their word-finding difficulty, we assessed event-related potentials (ERPs) associated with semantic memory retrieval in 22 veterans classified as Syndrome 2 and 28 veterans who served as controls. We recorded EEGs while subjects judged whether pairs of words that represented object features combined to elicit a retrieval of an object memory or no retrieval. Syndrome 2 subjects' responses were significantly slower, and those participants were less accurate than controls on the retrieval trials, but they performed similarly on the nonretrieval trials. Analysis of the ERPs revealed a difference between retrievals and nonretrievals that has previously been detected around 750 ms at the left temporal region was present in both the Syndrome 2 patients and controls. However, the Syndrome 2 patients also showed an ERP difference between retrievals and nonretrievals at the midline parietal region that had a scalp voltage polarity opposite from that recorded at the left temporal area. We hypothesize that the similarities between task performance and ERP patterns in Syndrome 2 veterans and in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment reflect disordered thalamic cholinergic neural activity, possibly in the dorsomedial nucleus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-72
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Volume373
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 15 2017

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Persian Gulf Syndrome
Semantics
Veterans
Evoked Potentials
Gulf War
Word Processing
Mediodorsal Thalamic Nucleus
Confusion
Parietal Lobe
Task Performance and Analysis
Temporal Lobe
Scalp
Automatic Data Processing
Cholinergic Agents
Electroencephalography

Keywords

  • Cholinergic
  • EEG
  • ERP
  • Gulf War illness
  • Semantic memory
  • Word-finding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this

Electrophysiological correlates of semantic memory retrieval in Gulf War Syndrome 2 patients. / Tillman, Gail D.; Calley, Clifford S.; Buhl, Virginia I.; Chiang, Hsueh Sheng; Haley, Robert W.; Hart, John; Kraut, Michael A.

In: Journal of the Neurological Sciences, Vol. 373, 15.02.2017, p. 66-72.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tillman, Gail D. ; Calley, Clifford S. ; Buhl, Virginia I. ; Chiang, Hsueh Sheng ; Haley, Robert W. ; Hart, John ; Kraut, Michael A. / Electrophysiological correlates of semantic memory retrieval in Gulf War Syndrome 2 patients. In: Journal of the Neurological Sciences. 2017 ; Vol. 373. pp. 66-72.
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