Magnesium administration after experimental traumatic brain injury improves decision-making skills

Jennica M. Young, Michael R. Hoane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


After sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a person's ability to make daily decisions can be affected. Simple tasks such as, deciding what to wear are no longer effortless choices, but are instead difficult decisions. This study explored the use of a discrimination task with a magnesium treatment in order to examine how decision-making skills are affected after TBI and if the treatment helped to attenuate cognitive and motor impairments. Thirty-one male rats were separated into MAG/TBI, VEH/TBI, or VEH/Sham groups. Pre-TBI, rats were trained to dig in the sand for a reinforcer. After establishment of consistent digging behavior rats received a bilateral frontal cortex injury. Rats received either an i.p. injection of 2 mmol/kg magnesium chloride or control at 4, 24, 72 h post-surgery. Dig task testing began 7 days post-injury, lasting for 4 weeks. The discriminations included two scent pairings; basil (baited) versus coffee then the reversal and then cocoa (baited) versus cumin then the reversal. The results indicated that the magnesium treatment was successful at attenuating cognitive and motor deficits after TBI. The results also indicated that the dig task is a sufficient operant conditioning task in the assessment of frontal functioning after TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-189
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
StatePublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision-making skills
  • Discriminations
  • Magnesium
  • TBI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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