Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering



First Advisor



In recent years, there has been an increased incidence of cognitive impairment in cancer survivors as a side-effect of chemotherapy. This troubling deterioration in cognitive ability is commonly termed as 'Chemo brain' in which patients have problems with working memory, executive function, decision-making, concentration, visuospatial skills and attention which can pose problems to get on with day-to-day life. Breast Cancer is primarily adopted as the model for studying effects of 'chemobrain'. A better understanding of neural correlates & hemodynamic changes related to cognitive deficits would help clinicians to design targeted treatments and cognitive rehabilitation interventions. Aim: The primary goal of this study is to investigate the feasibility of using functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRs) to monitor hemodynamic changes in prefrontal cortex induced by certain neuropsychological tests in cancer survivors and to identify a possible biomarker for cognitive decline. Method: 15-healthy control subjects grouped into two consisting of 9 young adults (age group: 15-21), 6 elderly adults (age group: 40-74) & 3 cancer patients (age group: 30-50) participated in this study. Hemodynamic changes during different neurocognitive tests like go/no-go, stroop, n-back working memory with different cognitive loads were measured using 16-channel near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRs) system. Results: Cancer patients have shown deactivation in VLPFC because of cognitive decline and right VLPFC could be a possible biomarker for studying cancer related changes. In both young and elderly adults, pre-frontal activation increased with increasing work-memory load for n-back test. There is slight right hemispheric dominance observed in young adults for low memory load condition but elderly subjects recruit both the hemispheres in attempt to compensate for age-related decline in performance. For Go/No-Go task, we can see diffuse and bilateral patterns of activation in in ventrolateral Prefrontal Cortex(VLPFC) for elderly adults. Conclusion: These results support the previous findings that prefrontal cortex plays a key role in executive functions with varying working memory load and fNIRS can be used as potential tool to study cognitive changes. It provides further evidence that PFC activation/deactivation could be a possible neuro-functional biomarker for monitoring executive impairment associated with chemo brain (chemotherapy -treated cancer survivors).




Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington