MRU active office study: Is there a relationship between cognitive function and neurovascular coupling?


  • Lauren Lavoie Mount Royal University
  • Nishan Sharma University of Calgary
  • Gurkarn Saran
  • Andrea Linares Mount Royal University
  • Dwayne Sheehan* Mount Royal University
  • David Borkenhagen University of Calgary
  • Emily Johnson Mount Royal University
  • Jack Leacy Mount Royal University
  • Trevor Day* Mount Royal University


Neurovascular coupling (NVC) is the matching of local cerebral blood flow to neuronal activity. NVC magnitude may be linked to cognitive performance (CP). We aimed to determine the relationship between NVC and CP, using tests designed to asses working memory (Digit Span; DS) and executive function (Stroop). We hypothesized that individuals with larger NVC responses would have increased working memory and executive function test scores. Participants (41.2±1.3yrs; n=62; 12 males) were recruited as a part of the MRU Active Office Study. Participants were instrumented with transcranial Doppler ultrasound for posterior cerebral artery velocity (PCAv) in a seated position, and underwent a 3-min eyes closed baseline prior to an NVC test with a strobe light (6Hz; 30sec on/off x5). Participants then performed the cognitive tests on an iPad. Peak PCAv from baseline

(  P) and slope (

P/  T) were calculated during the NVC test. There

was no correlation between DS test performance and

P (r=-0.07,

P=0.62) or   P/

T (r=0.03, P=0.8). There was no correlation between

Stroop test response time for   P (r=-0.1, P=0.47) or

P/  T (r=-0.09,

P=0.48). These preliminary results suggest that there is no functional link between NVC magnitude and CP in a large group of MRU employees.

* Indicates faculty mentor.





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