Functional near infrared spectroscopy detects cortical activation changes concurrent with memory loss in postmenopausal women with Type II Diabetes

Stacey L. Gorniak, Victoria E. Wagner, Kelly Vaughn, Jonathan Perry, Lauren Gulley Cox, Hidetaka Hibino, Samuel A. Montero-Hernandez, Arturo E. Hernandez, Luca Pollonini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Older adults with Type II Diabetes Mellitus (DM) experience mild cognitive impairment, specifically in the domain of recall/working memory. No consistent causative structural cortical deficits have been identified in persons with DM (PwDM). Memory deficits may be exacerbated in older adult females, who are at the highest risk of cardiovascular decline due to DM. The focus of the current study was to evaluate functional cortical hemodynamic activity during memory tasks in postmenopausal PwDM. Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) was used to monitor oxyhemoglobin (HbO) and deoxyhemoglobin (HbR) during memory-based tasks in a cross-sectional sample of postmenopausal women with DM. Twenty-one community-dwelling DM females (age = 65 ± 6 years) and twenty-one age- and sex-matched healthy controls (age = 66 ± 6 years) were evaluated. Working memory performance (via N-back) was evaluated while study participants donned cortical fNIRS. Health state, metabolic data, and menopausal status data were also collected. Deficits in working memory accuracy were found in the DM group as compared to controls. Differences in HbO responses emerged in the DM group. The DM group exhibited altered PFC activity magnitudes and increased functional cortical activity across ROIs compared to controls. HbO and HbR responses were not associated with worsened health state measures. These data indicate a shift in cortical activity patterns with memory deficits in postmenopausal PwDM. This DM-specific shift of HbO is a novel finding that is unlikely to be detected by fMRI. This underscores the value of using non-MRI-based neuroimaging techniques to evaluate cortical hemodynamic function to detect early mild cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1555-1567
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Brain
  • Cognition
  • Cortical oxygenation
  • Dementia
  • Neuroimaging
  • fNIRS
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared/methods
  • Memory Disorders/diagnostic imaging
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Memory, Short-Term/physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/complications
  • Postmenopause
  • Female
  • Aged

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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