Mental stress and cognitive performance do not increase overall level of cerebral O2 uptake in humans

P L Madsen, J F Schmidt, S Holm, H Jørgensen, Gordon Wildschiødtz, N J Christensen, L Friberg, S Vorstrup, N A Lassen

26 Citationer (Scopus)


We measured cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2), cerebral blood flow (CBF), and cerebral lactate output during rest, during the execution of mental arithmetic, and during mental stress induced by physical and psychological annoyance. Measurements were performed in healthy volunteers by use of the Kety-Schmidt technique with 133Xe as the inert gas. Electroencephalographic desynchronization and highly significant increases in plasma catecholamines and heart rate verified that the test measurements were performed during conditions differing distinctly from the resting state. In accordance with an earlier study (Sokoloff et al. J. Clin. Invest. 34: 1101-1108, 1985), a minimal and nonsignificant 1% reduction of global CMRO2 during mental arithmetic was observed, signifying that this form of mental activation was unassociated with any detectable increase in overall cerebral synaptic activity. Mental stress induced a slight but highly significant (P less than 0.002) 6% reduction in global CMRO2. This finding is in contrast to results from earlier investigations and contradicts the generally accepted notion of an association between mental arousal and a diffuse upregulation of cerebral synaptic activity. During mental arithmetic and mental stress, cerebral lactate output increased by 207 and 344%, respectively, but because of large individual variations in the measured responses, the elevations reached statistical significance only during mental arithmetic.
TidsskriftJournal of Applied Physiology
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)420-6
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - aug. 1992


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