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Brain Activity During Strategic Planning

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) Identifier:
First received: August 5, 2008
Last updated: January 24, 2017
Last verified: May 26, 2010

This study will locate areas in the brain that help people devise action plans to carry out complex tasks requiring use of strategy. The ability to plan strategically is impaired in patients who have had a stroke affecting the front parts of the brain. This study will use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the activity of different areas of the brain during the formulation and execution of plans.

Right-handed healthy volunteers between 18 and 60 years of age may be eligible for this study. Participants come to the NIH Clinical Center four to five times to complete the following procedures:

Visit 1 - Screening

  • Medical history
  • Physical and neurological examinations

Visit 2 - MRI brain scan (if one has not been done within the past year)

MRI - This test uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to obtain images of the brain. The scanner is a metal cylinder surrounded by a magnetic field. The subject lies on a table that can slide in and out of the scanner, wearing earplugs to muffle loud noises that occur during the scanning.

Visits 3 to 5 - Task training sessions and two fMRI scans

Functional MRI involves taking MRI scans while the subject performs a task in order to learn about changes in brain regions that are involved in the performance of the task. Subjects are trained in two tasks (see below) and then perform the tasks while in the MRI scanner.

  • Task 1: The subject presses computer keys in response to the direction of arrows shown on the computer screen. The keys are pressed according to a given set of rules the subject is taught.
  • Task 2: This task is similar to task 1, but the subject is also asked to remember certain previous actions and responses.

Healthy Volunteers

Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Functional Neuro-Imaging of Strategy Use During Human Behavior

Further study details as provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):

Enrollment: 16
Study Start Date: August 1, 2008
Estimated Study Completion Date: May 26, 2010
  Show Detailed Description


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 60 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
  • Subjects from ages 18 to 60
  • Subjects must be right-hand dominant as defined by the Edinburgh Handedness inventory: (R. C. Oldfield, 1971) -Right lateralized handedness quotient of greater than 0.75 will be considered R handed)
  • Subjects willing to abstain from caffeine or alcohol for 48 hours prior to the FMRI scanning.


  • Subjects with clinically significant abnormal findings on neurological exam in any of the following neurological domains: cognitive, cranial nerve, motor, sensory, cerebellar functions.
  • Subjects who are pregnant (as determined by positive urine pregnancy test)
  • Subjects with any finding on the MRI safety questionnaire which prevents them from safely undergoing an MRI scan
  • Subjects with metallic dental fillings which are likely to cause MRI artifacts
  • Subjects with any history of brain tumor, stroke, head trauma or a vascular malformation as obtained by history or from imaging studies
  • Subjects with any history of a severe medical condition, such as cardiovascular disease, which would prevent them from lying flat for up to 120 minutes
  • Subjects without the capacity to give informed consent
  • Subjects with claustrophobia or other restrictions which prevent them from undergoing a scan in a confined space for up to 60 minutes
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00728741

United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
  More Information

Publications: Identifier: NCT00728741     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 080192
Study First Received: August 5, 2008
Last Updated: January 24, 2017

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Neural Networks
Cortical Activation
Healthy Volunteer
HV processed this record on April 25, 2017