Till startsida
University of Gothenburg
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Our research

Our research focuses on mental fatigue after mild traumatic brain injuries and mild stroke.

Mechanisms underlying mental fatigue

We focus on gaining knowledge of pathophysiological mechanisms underlying mental fatigue. We study the involvement of microglial cells and astrocytes in neuroinflammation and whether it is possible to restore the connection between them. These studies are experimental and are performed in an in vitro milieu.

Diagnostic instruments

In our clinical studies we develop diagnostic instruments aimed at improving our understanding of mental fatigue. As no scale was available that could be employed to establish the presence of mental fatigue and which could be used by different patient groups, we constructed a self-assessment questionnaire. Symptoms often seen in patients suffering from mental fatigue have been selected from clinical experience together with symptoms commonly reported following neurological disease and injuries. Due to the perception of symptoms being subjective, we formulated questions which could be evaluated similarly between individuals and also by individual persons between marking sessions. We tried to formulate concrete questions with response alternatives based on intensity, frequency and duration. Objective tests used today focus on functions affected by mental fatigue and measure mental speed, information processing speed and attention span. The tests need to be sensitive and fairly stringent in order to achieve results and we are also in the process of developing similar computerised tests measuring mental speed and attention span.

Clinical studies

We also perform clinical trials aimed at finding possibilities of treating mental fatigue. Further basic research is required, as current knowledge of existing hypotheses and how to perform studies on humans suffering from mental fatigue is limited. What we do know is that persons suffering from mental fatigue become exhausted from long term mental activity requiring concentration, and from that perspective we look to improve the situation. Enhanced attention may lead to reduced mental loading and thus less mental fatigue. At present we concentrate on exploring whether altered dopamine levels in the brain affect fatigue, as dopamine is well known to have an improved effect on attention. In addition, we have recently received funding to study the effect of mindfulness based stress reduction on persons who suffer from mental fatigue after traumatic brain injury. We will explore whether adaptation of a person’s activity level and improved stress management can lead to reduced mental fatigue.

Page Manager: Birgitta Johansson|Last update: 8/25/2010

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