Primary objective: To review the neural circuitry and neurochemistry of working memory and outline the evidence for working memory deficits after traumatic brain injury, and the evidence for the use of catecholaminergic agents in the amelioration of these deficits. Current knowledge gaps and research needs are identified. Main outcomes and results: Impairments in working memory are a core component of the cognitive deficits associated with traumatic brain injury. Recent progress in understanding the neural circuitry and neurochemistry of working memory suggests that catecholamines play a central role in the activation and regulation of working memory and thus lays a framework in which to consider the use of catecholaminergic agents (dopaminergic and alpha-2 adrenergic agonists) in the treatment of specific cognitive deficits after traumatic brain injury. Conclusions: The combined methods of cognitive neuroscience, functional brain imaging and neuropharmacology are proposed as an excellent method for studying working memory deficits. A strong rationale exists for the targeted use of catecholaminergic agonists in the treatment of working memory deficits after traumatic brain injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Neurology