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Article

Brief Relaxation Practice Induces Significantly More Prefrontal Cortex Activation during Arithmetic Tasks Comparing to Viewing Greenery Images as Revealed by Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS)

1
Faculty of Education, Huaibei Normal University, Huaibei 117599, China
2
Institute for Health Innovation and Technology (iHealthtech), National University of Singapore, Singapore 117599, Singapore
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Department of Psychological Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 119228, Singapore
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OBELAB, Inc., Seoul 06212, Korea
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National University of Singapore (Chongqing) Research Institute, Chongqing 401123, China
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Institute for Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, MD 21205, USA
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Science and Technology Promotion Bureau, Chongqing Liangjiang New Area Administration Committee, Chongqing 201205, China
9
Department of Psychological Medicine, National University Hospital, Singapore 119074, Singapore
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8366; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17228366
Received: 13 October 2020 / Revised: 4 November 2020 / Accepted: 6 November 2020 / Published: 12 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adult Psychiatry)
Background: There is little understanding on how brief relaxation practice and viewing greenery images would affect brain responses during cognitive tasks. In the present study, we examined the variation in brain activation of the prefrontal cortex during arithmetic tasks before and after viewing greenery images, brief relaxation practice, and control task using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Method: This randomized controlled study examined the activation patterns of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in three groups of research participants who were exposed to viewing greenery images (n = 10), brief relaxation practice (n = 10), and control task (n = 11). The activation pattern of the PFC was measured pre- and post-intervention using a portable fNIRS device and reported as mean total oxygenated hemoglobin (HbO μm). Primary outcome of the study is the difference in HbO μm between post- and pre-intervention readings during a cognitive task that required the research participants to perform arithmetic calculation. Results: In terms of intervention-related differences, there was significant difference in average HbO μm when performing arithmetic tasks before and after brief relaxation practice (p < 0.05). There were significant increases in average HbO μm in the right frontopolar cortex (p = 0.029), the left frontopolar cortex (p = 0.01), and the left orbitofrontal cortex (p = 0.033) during arithmetic tasks after brief relaxation practice. In contrast, there were no significant differences in average HbO μm when performing arithmetic tasks before and after viewing greenery images (p > 0.05) and the control task (p > 0.05). Conclusion: Our preliminary findings show that brief relaxation practice but not viewing greenery images led to significant frontal lobe activation during arithmetic tasks. The present study demonstrated, for the first time, that there was an increase in activation in neuroanatomical areas including the combined effort of allocation of attentional resources, exploration, and memory performance after the brief relaxation practice. Our findings suggest the possibility that the right frontopolar cortex, the left frontopolar cortex, and the left orbitofrontal cortex may be specifically associated with the benefits of brief relaxation on the brain. View Full-Text
Keywords: arithmetic tasks; frontal cortex; functional near-infrared spectroscopy; greenery images; brief relaxation practice arithmetic tasks; frontal cortex; functional near-infrared spectroscopy; greenery images; brief relaxation practice
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, Z.; Olszewska-Guizzo, A.; Husain, S.F.; Bose, J.; Choi, J.; Tan, W.; Wang, J.; Xuan Tran, B.; Wang, B.; Jin, Y.; Xuan, W.; Yan, P.; Li, M.; Ho, C.S.H.; Ho, R. Brief Relaxation Practice Induces Significantly More Prefrontal Cortex Activation during Arithmetic Tasks Comparing to Viewing Greenery Images as Revealed by Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS). Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 8366. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17228366

AMA Style

Zhang Z, Olszewska-Guizzo A, Husain SF, Bose J, Choi J, Tan W, Wang J, Xuan Tran B, Wang B, Jin Y, Xuan W, Yan P, Li M, Ho CSH, Ho R. Brief Relaxation Practice Induces Significantly More Prefrontal Cortex Activation during Arithmetic Tasks Comparing to Viewing Greenery Images as Revealed by Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(22):8366. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17228366

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zhang, Zhisong, Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo, Syeda F. Husain, Jessica Bose, Jongkwan Choi, Wanqiu Tan, Jiayun Wang, Bach Xuan Tran, Bokun Wang, Yajie Jin, Wei Xuan, Pinjia Yan, Maomao Li, Cyrus S.H. Ho, and Roger Ho. 2020. "Brief Relaxation Practice Induces Significantly More Prefrontal Cortex Activation during Arithmetic Tasks Comparing to Viewing Greenery Images as Revealed by Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS)" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 22: 8366. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17228366

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