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B a c k g ro u n d: Arterial hypertension (HTN) ranks among the most widespread chronic illnesses that affect adults in industrialized societies. The main goal of this study was to describe the control (inhibition) processes among HTN patients, and to evaluate the dynamics of brain activity while the patients were engaged in tasks measuring the cognitive aspect of self-control. P a r t i c i p a n t s a n d p ro c e d u re: A set of neuropsychological tests (California Verbal Learning Test, Color Trails Test, The Trail Making Test, Controlled Oral Word Association Test), and a fMRI Stroop test (rapid event design) were administered to 40 persons (20 HTN patients and 20 controls). Groups were matched in terms of age, sex, education, smoking history, and waist-to-hip ratio. R e s u l t s: As revealed by fMRI, the HTN patients demonstrate left-hemisphere asymmetry in inhibitory processes. Also around 90% of patients had problems when completing tasks which rely on verbal and graphomotor aspects of self-control. C o n c l u s i o n s: The results suggest that both cerebral hemispheres must interact correctly in order to provide successful executive control. The deficiencies in control and executive functioning, which were observed among the patients, prove that HTN negatively affects brain processes that control one’s cognitive activity.
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