Objective: To investigate effects and functional mechanism of compound Congrongyizhi Capsule (CCRC), a
Chinese medicine, on cognitive functions against amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) patients with functional
magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) based on n-back task. Methods: Forty-one aMCI participants from hospital and local
communities in Beijing and randomly divided into treatment (16 patients with CCRC capsule treatment), placebo (12 patients
with placebo capsules) and control group (13 patients with no treatment). The duration of intervention lasted for 3
months. Neuropsychological tests and fMRI were applied to assess cognitive ability and brain activation changes after three
months treatment. Results: Drug group (n=16) presented increased significance in the MMSE (P=0.008) and digit span
(P<0.001) tests, while other scores of neuropsychological tests showed no statistical significance. fMRI results showed an
increased brain negative activation in drug group during performing the n-back working-memory task in posterior cingulate
(PCC), inferior frontal gyrus and lingual gyrus regions after 3 months; placebo and control group did not show the same effect.
Meanwhile, there were negative correlations between left PCC activation levels and changed values of MMSE and
digit span separately since increased negative activation was associated with better performance on the scores of MMSE
and Digit Span tests. Conclusions: CCRC can increase negative activation degree of PCC under performing working memory
tasks while this modulation are associated with better performance on the MMSE and Digit Span.
Keywords: BOLD functional MRI, brain activation, compound chinese medicines, mild cognitive impairment.
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