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Brain metabolism patterns are sensitive to attentional effort associated with a tone recognition task

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      Using positron emission tomography with the tracer 18-fluoro-D-deoxyglucose, we assessed regional cerebral glucose utilization patterns (rCMRglu) associated with three performance levels in a forced choice, tone recognition task. Four normal subjects responded with one hand when they heard a high-frequency tone (1500 Hz), and with the other hand when they recognized a low-frequency tone (750 Hz). The EASY (EAS) condition accuracy average was 96%, the INTERMEDIATE level accuracy averaged 89%, and the DIFFICULT (DIF) recognition task accuracy average was 77%. Statistical parametric mapping (SPM94) analysis revealed that the DIF minus EAS contrast is associated with a marked metabolic elevation in the right middle and inferior temporal gyri and the gyrus fusiformis. The EAS minus DIF contrast revealed greater rCMRglu in the right medial geniculate body. Enhanced activity in right temporal lobe structures may reflect a role in auditory memory and “image” visualization. The medial geniculate enhancement may reflect tone frequency assessment.

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