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Comparative analysis of the effects of the computer-based and paper-based Trail Making Test on oxygen metabolism in the prefrontal cortex
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  • Li-Sha Xiang,
  • Yi Zhang,
  • Jia-Nan Zhang,
  • Fan Xie,
  • Xiao Fei,
  • Ya Wang,
  • Yue Shi
Li-Sha Xiang
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Yi Zhang

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Jia-Nan Zhang
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Abstract

Objectives: The Trail Making Test (TMT) is a commonly used tool for evaluating executive functions, and the activation of cerebral oxygenation in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) during the test can reflect the participation of executive function. This study aimed to compare the differences in cerebral oxygen metabolism in the PFC between the computer- and paper-based versions of the TMT. Methods: A total of 31 healthy adult subjects completed the computer- and paper-based TMT Types A and B. The cerebral oxygenation changes in the PFC were monitored during the experiment using near-infrared spectroscopy. The average changes of oxyhemoglobin (Δoxy-Hb) in the baseline and activation periods during different types of testing were compared and analyzed. Results: The number of correct connections in the computer-based version Type B was less than that in the paper-based version Type B (p < .05). The task time of the computer-based version was longer than that of the paper-based version (p < .05). The B/A ratio of the number of correct connections in the computer-based version was lower than that in the paper-based version (p < .001). The Δoxy-Hb in the PFC of the paper-based version was higher than that of the computer-based version (p < .001). Conclusions: Significant differences in oxygen metabolism in the PFC were observed between the paper- and computer-based versions. Further optimization of the program design and system configuration may be needed to improve the equivalence and clinical universality of the computer-based version of the TMT