The broad goal of this study is to measure remote effects of cancer on brain physiology and behaviors that underpin instrumental activities of daily living such as automobile driving. Studies of hematological malignancies (HM) have demonstrated impairments in multiple brain functions shown to be critical for safe automobile driving. In the current pilot study, brain physiology during driving simulation was examined in 14 HM patients and 13 healthy comparison drivers. Electroencephalography was used to measure the eye fixation-related potential (EFRP)—a positive amplitude deflection evoked approximately 100 milliseconds after eye movement termination. Previous studies have demonstrated sensitivity of EFRP activity to information-processing capacity. All drivers completed visual search tasks to evaluate the relationship between driving-related changes in performance and EFRP activity. Results showed smaller EFRP amplitudes in drivers who had: (1) greater driving-related changes in visual search performance (p = 0.03, Cohen’s d = 0.91); and (2) HM diagnosis (p = 0.18, Cohen’s d = 0.54). Extending previous studies, these results provide neural evidence of reduced information-processing capacity associated with cancer diagnosis. Future large-scale studies are needed to confirm these results, given the high level of uncertainty and small sample size. This study provides a novel platform for linking changes in brain physiology and safety-critical driving behaviors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering