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Brain Sci., Volume 11, Issue 10 (October 2021) – 116 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Oxidative stress mechanisms may explain associations between perinatal acetaminophen exposure and childhood attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We investigated whether the changes in umbilical cord plasma amino acids needed to synthesize the antioxidant glutathione and in the oxidative stress biomarker 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine may explain the association between cord plasma acetaminophen and ADHD in the Boston Birth Cohort (BBC). Mother–child dyads were followed at the Boston Medical Center between 1998 and 2018. Cord plasma analytes were measured from archived samples collected at birth. Physician diagnoses of childhood ADHD were obtained from medical records. View this paper.
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Article
Metacognitive Performance on Memory and Visuospatial Tasks in Functional Cognitive Disorder
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1368; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101368 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 290
Abstract
Functional Cognitive Disorder (FCD) is a common diagnosis at the memory clinic. FCD is characterised by significant self-reported cognitive symptoms in the absence of external evidence of cognitive dysfunction. A potential explanation for this is a deficit in metacognition, the process by which [...] Read more.
Functional Cognitive Disorder (FCD) is a common diagnosis at the memory clinic. FCD is characterised by significant self-reported cognitive symptoms in the absence of external evidence of cognitive dysfunction. A potential explanation for this is a deficit in metacognition, the process by which we internally judge our own abilities. Here we investigated differences in accuracy, confidence, and metacognition between people with FCD (N = 20), neurodegenerative mild cognitive impairment (nMCI; N = 14), and healthy controls (N = 23). The groups were assessed on forced choice memory and perceptual tasks, with trial by trial confidence ratings. FCD and nMCI participants showed lower accuracy on the memory task (means FCD 63.65%, nMCI 63.96%, HC 71.22%), with a significant difference between the FCD and HC groups after controlling for age and sex. There were no between-group differences in memory task confidence (means FCD 3.19, nMCI 3.59, HC 3.71). The FCD group showed greater confidence when longer time was allowed on the memory task. No between group differences in perceptual task accuracy (means FCD 63.97%, nMCI 64.50%, FCD 65.86%) or confidence (means FCD 3.71, nMCI 3.43, HC 3.88) were found. No differences in metacognitive efficacy emerged between the groups, either on the memory or perceptual task (Memory Meta-d’/d’:FCD 0.63, nMCI 0.94 HC 0.85; Perceptual Meta-d’,d’: FCD 0.50, nMCI 0.51, HC 0.72). Participants showed greater metacognitive efficacy on the memory task compared to the perceptual task. The difficulties experienced by people with FCD do not appear to be due to metacognitive deficits. Their performance was similar to people with nMCI over aspects of the memory tasks, which suggests that the primary issue may lie with memory encoding or retrieval, rather than with their judgement of performance accuracy. Full article
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Article
The Link between Attachment Style and Self-Reported Olfactory Ability: A Preliminary Investigation
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1367; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101367 - 18 Oct 2021
Viewed by 537
Abstract
Individuals in healthy romantic relationships gain significant benefits to their psychological wellbeing and physiological health. Notably, the majority of relationship research has focused on how adult attachment influences these relationship outcomes while the role of olfaction remains an emerging research focus. The aim [...] Read more.
Individuals in healthy romantic relationships gain significant benefits to their psychological wellbeing and physiological health. Notably, the majority of relationship research has focused on how adult attachment influences these relationship outcomes while the role of olfaction remains an emerging research focus. The aim of the current study was to bring together these seemingly unrelated factors–attachment and olfaction–in an online quasi-experimental design. The participants were 401 undergraduate students, predominantly females, ranging in age from 17 to 70 years. Participants completed a battery of questionnaires that evaluated their attachment tendencies, olfactory ability and experiences in romantic relationships. Results indicated that attachment insecurity, across both attachment anxiety and avoidance, was associated with decreased olfactory functioning for females. These findings provide preliminary evidence that olfaction is related to romantic relationship maintenance and suggests that body odors could be fundamental for evoking the attachment system. These findings also elicit enticing new avenues of research which can assist psychologists to provide targeted treatments to individuals with olfactory deficits and insecure attachment tendencies. Full article
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Article
Prior Exposure and Toddlers’ Sleep-Related Memory for Novel Words
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1366; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101366 - 18 Oct 2021
Viewed by 501
Abstract
Children can easily link a novel word to a novel, unnamed object—something referred to as fast mapping. Despite the ease and speed with which children do this, their memories for novel fast-mapped words can be poor unless they receive memory supports such as [...] Read more.
Children can easily link a novel word to a novel, unnamed object—something referred to as fast mapping. Despite the ease and speed with which children do this, their memories for novel fast-mapped words can be poor unless they receive memory supports such as further exposure to the words or sleep. Axelsson, Swinton, Winiger, and Horst (2018) found that 2.5-year-old children who napped after fast mapping had better retention of novel words than children who did not nap. Retention declined for those who did not nap. The children received no memory supports and determined the word-object mappings independently. Previous studies report enhanced memories after sleeping in children and adults, but the napping children’s retention in the Axelsson et al. study remained steady across time. We report a follow-up investigation where memory supports are provided after fast mapping to test whether memories would be enhanced following napping. Children’s retention of novel words improved and remained greater than chance; however, there was no nap effect with no significant difference between the children who napped and those who did not. These findings suggest that when memory supports are provided, retention improves, and the word–object mappings remain stable over time. When memory traces are weak and labile, such as after fast mapping, without further memory supports, sleeping soon after helps stabilise and prevent decay of word–object mappings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Effects of Sleep on Attention and Language)
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Article
Genotype- and Age-Dependent Differences in Ultrasound Vocalizations of SPRED2 Mutant Mice Revealed by Machine Deep Learning
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1365; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101365 - 17 Oct 2021
Viewed by 447
Abstract
Vocalization is an important part of social communication, not only for humans but also for mice. Here, we show in a mouse model that functional deficiency of Sprouty-related EVH1 domain-containing 2 (SPRED2), a protein ubiquitously expressed in the brain, causes differences in social [...] Read more.
Vocalization is an important part of social communication, not only for humans but also for mice. Here, we show in a mouse model that functional deficiency of Sprouty-related EVH1 domain-containing 2 (SPRED2), a protein ubiquitously expressed in the brain, causes differences in social ultrasound vocalizations (USVs), using an uncomplicated and reliable experimental setting of a short meeting of two individuals. SPRED2 mutant mice show an OCD-like behaviour, accompanied by an increased release of stress hormones from the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, both factors probably influencing USV usage. To determine genotype-related differences in USV usage, we analyzed call rate, subtype profile, and acoustic parameters (i.e., duration, bandwidth, and mean peak frequency) in young and old SPRED2-KO mice. We recorded USVs of interacting male and female mice, and analyzed the calls with the deep-learning DeepSqueak software, which was trained to recognize and categorize the emitted USVs. Our findings provide the first classification of SPRED2-KO vs. wild-type mouse USVs using neural networks and reveal significant differences in their development and use of calls. Our results show, first, that simple experimental settings in combination with deep learning are successful at identifying genotype-dependent USV usage and, second, that SPRED2 deficiency negatively affects the vocalization usage and social communication of mice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Behavioral Neuroscience)
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Review
Concurrent Performance of Executive Function during Acute Bouts of Exercise in Adults: A Systematic Review
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1364; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101364 - 17 Oct 2021
Viewed by 390
Abstract
The purpose of the study was to systematically review the evidence on the effects of an acute bout of exercise on concurrent performance of core executive function (EF) during exercise in adults. Four electronic databases (i.e., PubMed, Web of Science, PsycINFO, and SportDiscus) [...] Read more.
The purpose of the study was to systematically review the evidence on the effects of an acute bout of exercise on concurrent performance of core executive function (EF) during exercise in adults. Four electronic databases (i.e., PubMed, Web of Science, PsycINFO, and SportDiscus) were searched from inception dates to 30 December 2020. The literature searches were conducted using the combinations of two groups of relevant items related to exercise and executive function. Articles were limited to human studies in adults. The search process, study selection, data extraction, and study quality assessments were carried out independently by two researchers. A total of 4899 studies were identified. Twenty-two studies met our inclusion criteria. Of the 42 reported outcomes in the 22 studies, 13 (31%) of the 42 outcomes showed that core EF performance was enhanced during exercise and 14 (33%) found that core EF performance did not differ from control conditions. Fifteen (36%) found that core EF performance was impaired. Notably, improved EF performances tend to be observed during moderate-intensity exercise, whereas impaired EF performances were more likely to be observed at vigorous-high intensity. The review suggests mixed findings regarding the effects of an acute bout of exercise on concurrent performance of core EF. Exercise intensity seems to influence the effects. The underlying neural mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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Case Report
Alterations in Leg Muscle Glucose Uptake and Inter-Limb Asymmetry after a Single Session of tDCS in Four People with Multiple Sclerosis
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1363; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101363 - 16 Oct 2021
Viewed by 512
Abstract
Asymmetrical lower limb weakness is an early symptom and significant contributor to the progressive worsening of walking ability in people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS). Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) may effectively increase neural drive to the more-affected lower limb and, therefore, increase symmetrical [...] Read more.
Asymmetrical lower limb weakness is an early symptom and significant contributor to the progressive worsening of walking ability in people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS). Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) may effectively increase neural drive to the more-affected lower limb and, therefore, increase symmetrical activation. Four PwMS (1 female, age range: 27–57) underwent one session each of 3 mA or SHAM tDCS over the motor cortex corresponding to their more-affected limb followed by 20 min of treadmill walking at a self-selected speed. Two min into the treadmill task, the subjects were injected with the glucose analog [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). Immediately after treadmill walking, the subjects underwent whole-body positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. Glucose uptake (GU) values were compared between the legs, the spatial distribution of FDG was assessed to estimate glucose uptake heterogeneity (GUh), and GU asymmetry indices (AIs) were calculated. After tDCS, GU was altered, and GUh was decreased in various muscle groups in each subject. Additionally, AIs went from asymmetric to symmetric after tDCS in the subjects that demonstrated asymmetrical glucose uptake during SHAM. These results indicate that tDCS improved GU asymmetries, potentially from an increased neural drive and a more efficient muscle activation strategy of the lower limb in PwMS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurodegenerative Diseases)
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Article
Similar CNV Neurodynamic Patterns between Sub- and Supra-Second Time Perception
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1362; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101362 - 16 Oct 2021
Viewed by 448
Abstract
In the field of time psychology, the functional significance of the contingent negative variation (CNV) component in time perception and whether the processing mechanisms of sub- and supra-second are similar or different still remain unclear. In the present study, event-related potential (ERP) technology [...] Read more.
In the field of time psychology, the functional significance of the contingent negative variation (CNV) component in time perception and whether the processing mechanisms of sub- and supra-second are similar or different still remain unclear. In the present study, event-related potential (ERP) technology and classical temporal discrimination tasks were used to explore the neurodynamic patterns of sub- and supra-second time perception. In Experiment 1, the standard interval (SI) was fixed at 500 ms, and the comparison interval (CI) ranged from 200 ms to 800 ms. In Experiment 2, the SI was fixed at 2000 ms, and the CI ranged from 1400 ms to 2600 ms. Participants were required to judge whether the CI was longer or shorter than the SI. The ERP results showed similar CNV activity patterns in the two experiments. Specifically, CNV amplitude would be more negative when the CI was longer or closer to the memorized SI. CNV peak latency increased significantly until the CI reached the memorized SI. We propose that CNV amplitude might reflect the process of temporal comparison, and CNV peak latency might represent the process of temporal decision-making. To our knowledge, it is the first ERP task explicitly testing the two temporal scales, sub- and supra-second timing, in one study. Taken together, the present study reveals a similar functional significance of CNV between sub- and supra-second time perception. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuropsychology)
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Review
Managing Sleep in Adults with ADHD: From Science to Pragmatic Approaches
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1361; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101361 - 16 Oct 2021
Viewed by 477
Abstract
Background: Sleep disorders and sleep problems commonly occur in adults with ADHD and add to functional impairment. Evidence-based treatments for sleep could improve function in the adult ADHD population. Methods: A literature review was conducted to present the clinical science informing treatment of [...] Read more.
Background: Sleep disorders and sleep problems commonly occur in adults with ADHD and add to functional impairment. Evidence-based treatments for sleep could improve function in the adult ADHD population. Methods: A literature review was conducted to present the clinical science informing treatment of sleep in adults with ADHD. Results: Six systematic prospective studies of sleep intervention in adults with ADHD were identified. Three of these, all including well-characterized ADHD patients, offered evidence for a significant effect of morning light therapy. Across the studies, preliminary evidence for melatonin, behavioral therapy, and weighted blankets were also found. Implication: Low-risk interventions such as light therapy may improve sleep in adults with ADHD, but many sleep interventions currently in use remain unstudied in the ADHD population. Considerations for evidence-informed practice and future research directions are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sleep and ADHD)
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Article
Diffusion Tensor Imaging Changes Do Not Affect Long-Term Neurodevelopment following Early Erythropoietin among Extremely Preterm Infants in the Preterm Erythropoietin Neuroprotection Trial
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1360; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101360 - 16 Oct 2021
Viewed by 362
Abstract
We aimed to evaluate diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in infants born extremely preterm, to determine the effect of erythropoietin (Epo) on DTI, and to correlate DTI with neurodevelopmental outcomes at 2 years of age for infants in the Preterm Erythropoietin Neuroprotection (PENUT) Trial. [...] Read more.
We aimed to evaluate diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in infants born extremely preterm, to determine the effect of erythropoietin (Epo) on DTI, and to correlate DTI with neurodevelopmental outcomes at 2 years of age for infants in the Preterm Erythropoietin Neuroprotection (PENUT) Trial. Infants who underwent MRI with DTI at 36 weeks postmenstrual age were included. Neurodevelopmental outcomes were evaluated by Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (BSID-III). Generalized linear models were used to assess the association between DTI parameters and treatment group, and then with neurodevelopmental outcomes. A total of 101 placebo- and 93 Epo-treated infants underwent MRI. DTI white matter mean diffusivity (MD) was lower in placebo- compared to Epo-treated infants in the cingulate and occipital regions, and occipital white matter fractional isotropy (FA) was lower in infants born at 24–25 weeks vs. 26–27 weeks. These values were not associated with lower BSID-III scores. Certain decreases in clustering coefficients tended to have lower BSID-III scores. Consistent with the PENUT Trial findings, there was no effect on long-term neurodevelopment in Epo-treated infants even in the presence of microstructural changes identified by DTI. Full article
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Article
Decreased Global EEG Synchronization in Amyloid Positive Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease Patients—Relationship to APOE ε4
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1359; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101359 - 16 Oct 2021
Viewed by 375
Abstract
The apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) that has been linked to changes in brain structure and function as well as to different biological subtypes of the disease. The present study aimed to investigate [...] Read more.
The apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) that has been linked to changes in brain structure and function as well as to different biological subtypes of the disease. The present study aimed to investigate the association of APOE ε4 genotypes with brain functional impairment, as assessed by quantitative EEG (qEEG) in patients on the AD continuum. The study population included 101 amyloid positive patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) (n = 50) and AD (n = 51) that underwent resting-state EEG recording and CSF Aβ42 analysis. In total, 31 patients were APOE ε4 non-carriers, 42 were carriers of one, and 28 were carriers of two APOE ε4 alleles. Quantitative EEG analysis included computation of the global field power (GFP) and global field synchronization (GFS) in conventional frequency bands. Amyloid positive patients who were carriers of APOE ε4 allele(s) had significantly higher GFP beta and significantly lower GFS in theta and beta bands compared to APOE ε4 non-carriers. Increased global EEG power in beta band in APOE ε4 carriers may represent a brain functional compensatory mechanism that offsets global EEG slowing in AD patients. Our findings suggest that decreased EEG measures of global synchronization in theta and beta bands reflect brain functional deficits related to the APOE ε4 genotype in patients that are on a biomarker-verified AD continuum. Full article
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Article
Modulation of Visual Working Memory Performance via Different Theta Frequency Stimulations
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1358; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101358 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 265
Abstract
Previous studies have found that transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) can significantly enhance individuals’ working memory performance. However, it is still unclear whether the memory performance enhancement was attributed to the quantity or the quality of working memory. The current study applies tACS [...] Read more.
Previous studies have found that transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) can significantly enhance individuals’ working memory performance. However, it is still unclear whether the memory performance enhancement was attributed to the quantity or the quality of working memory. The current study applies tACS over the right parietal cortex at slower (4 Hz) and faster (7 Hz) frequencies to participants with high and low working memory capacities in a color recall memory task. This enabled us to explore the tACS effects on the quantity and quality of the working memory for individuals with different memory capacities. The results revealed that slower frequency (4 Hz) tACS enhanced the quality of memory representations, and faster frequency (7 Hz) tACS principally impaired the quantity of working memory. The underlying mechanism of this effect might be that tACS at different frequencies modulate the memory resources, which then selectively affect the quantity and quality of memory representations. Importantly, individual traits, as well as memory strategies, may be crucial factors to consider when testing the effect of tACS on working memory performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuromodulation, Brain Plasticity and Psychiatric Diseases)
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Article
Functional Connectivity at Rest between the Human Medial Posterior Parietal Cortex and the Primary Motor Cortex Detected by Paired-Pulse Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1357; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101357 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 261
Abstract
The medial posterior parietal cortex (PPC) is involved in the complex processes of visuomotor integration. Its connections to the dorsal premotor cortex, which in turn is connected to the primary motor cortex (M1), complete the fronto-parietal network that supports important cognitive functions in [...] Read more.
The medial posterior parietal cortex (PPC) is involved in the complex processes of visuomotor integration. Its connections to the dorsal premotor cortex, which in turn is connected to the primary motor cortex (M1), complete the fronto-parietal network that supports important cognitive functions in the planning and execution of goal-oriented movements. In this study, we wanted to investigate the time-course of the functional connectivity at rest between the medial PPC and the M1 using dual-site transcranial magnetic stimulation in healthy humans. We stimulated the left M1 using a suprathreshold test stimulus to elicit motor-evoked potentials in the hand, and a subthreshold conditioning stimulus was applied over the left medial PPC at different inter-stimulus intervals (ISIs). The conditioning stimulus affected the M1 excitability depending on the ISI, with inhibition at longer ISIs (12 and 15 ms). We suggest that these modulations may reflect the activation of different parieto-frontal pathways, with long latency inhibitions likely recruiting polisynaptic pathways, presumably through anterolateral PPC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuromodulation of Language, Cognition and Emotion)
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Systematic Review
Emotional Processing and Experience in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Systematic and Critical Review
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1356; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101356 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 232
Abstract
Even though increasing literature describes changes in emotional processing in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), efforts to summarize relevant findings are lacking in the field. A systematic literature review was performed to provide a critical and up-to-date account of emotional abilities in ALS. References [...] Read more.
Even though increasing literature describes changes in emotional processing in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), efforts to summarize relevant findings are lacking in the field. A systematic literature review was performed to provide a critical and up-to-date account of emotional abilities in ALS. References were identified by searches of PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus (1980–2021, English literature), with the following key terms: (“Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis” or “Primary Lateral Sclerosis” or “Motor Neuron”) and “Emotion*” and (“Processing” or “Attribution” or “Elaboration” or “Perception” or “Recognition”). Studies concerning only caregivers, pseudobulbar affect, and social cognition were excluded. Forty-one articles were included, all concerning ALS, and seven topics were identified: Emotion recognition, Emotional responsiveness, Emotional reactivity, Faces approachability rating, Valence rating, Memory for emotional materials and Alexithymia. The majority of these aspects have only been sparsely addressed. The evidence confirms altered emotional processing in ALS. The most consistent findings regard the recognition of facial expressions for negative emotions, but also alterations in the subjective responsiveness to emotional stimuli (arousal, valence and approachability), in psychophysiological and cerebral reactivity and in emotional memory, together with alexithymia traits, were reported. According to this evidence, emotional abilities should be included in the clinical assessment and therapeutic interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurodegenerative Diseases)
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Article
The Effects of a Standardized Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy and an Additional Mindfulness-Based Training on Interoceptive Abilities in a Depressed Cohort
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1355; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101355 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 386
Abstract
Background: Interoceptive accuracy and sensibility are decreased in depressive samples. However, different studies showed that cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness interventions are promising approaches to improve interoceptive abilities. Based on these findings, the study aims to investigate the pre–post effect of CBT in [...] Read more.
Background: Interoceptive accuracy and sensibility are decreased in depressive samples. However, different studies showed that cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness interventions are promising approaches to improve interoceptive abilities. Based on these findings, the study aims to investigate the pre–post effect of CBT in a depressive sample. Additionally, we examined the effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training in the context of CBT. Methods: Sixty depressive patients were investigated over four weeks, with two conditions—CBT vs. CBT + MBSR. Further, the changes in interoceptive abilities (interoceptive accuracy and sensibility) of the depressive patients were compared to baseline data of healthy controls. Results: The depressive patients showed significantly higher levels of depression and lower mindfulness and interoceptive abilities than healthy controls. The depressive sample showed a significant decrease in depressive symptoms and increased mindfulness and interoceptive abilities after CBT. Lastly, depressive patients of the CBT + MBSR condition did not differ from those who only received CBT in the levels of depression, mindfulness or interoceptive abilities over the time course. Discussion: This study demonstrates a positive effect of CBT on interoceptive abilities in a depressive sample. It is shown that the depressive sample did not profit from additional mindfulness training. It can be concluded that CBT is an efficient treatment, resulting in increased interoceptive abilities. Unexpectedly, the combination of CBT and MBSR has no additional effect on these changes. Future studies should investigate the effect of MBSR as a stand-alone therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mindfulness, Interoception, and the Body)
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Systematic Review
Relevance of CSF, Serum and Neuroimaging Markers in CNS and PNS Manifestation in COVID-19: A Systematic Review of Case Report and Case Series
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1354; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101354 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 556
Abstract
Background: The data on neurological manifestations in COVID-19 patients has been rapidly increasing throughout the pandemic. However, data on CNS and PNS inflammatory disorders in COVID-19 with respect to CSF, serum and neuroimaging markers is still lacking. Methods: We screened all articles resulting [...] Read more.
Background: The data on neurological manifestations in COVID-19 patients has been rapidly increasing throughout the pandemic. However, data on CNS and PNS inflammatory disorders in COVID-19 with respect to CSF, serum and neuroimaging markers is still lacking. Methods: We screened all articles resulting from a search of PubMed, Google Scholar and Scopus, using the keywords “SARS-CoV-2 and neurological complication”, “SARS-CoV-2 and CNS Complication” and “SARS-CoV-2 and PNS Complication” looking for transverse myelitis, vasculitis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, acute hemorrhagic necrotizing encephalitis (AHNE), cytotoxic lesion of the corpus callosum (CLOCC) and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), published between 1 December 2019 to 15 July 2021. Results: Of the included 106 CNS manifestations in our study, CNS inflammatory disorders included transverse myelitis (17, 14.7%), AHNE (12, 10.4%), ADEM (11, 9.5%), CLOCC/MERS (10, 8.6%) and vasculitis (4, 3.4%). Others were nonspecific encephalopathy, encephalitis, seizures and stroke. Most patients were >50 years old (75, 70.8%) and male (64, 65.3%). Most (59, 63.4%) were severe cases of COVID-19 and 18 (18%) patients died. Of the included 94 PNS manifestations in our study, GBS (89, 92.7%) was the most common. Most of these patients were >50 years old (73, 77.7%) and male (59, 64.1%). Most (62, 67.4%) were non-severe cases of COVID-19, and ten patients died. Conclusion: Our comprehensive review of the clinical and paraclinical findings in CNS and PNS manifestations of COVID-19 provide insights on the pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2 and its neurotropism. The higher frequency and severity of CNS manifestations should be noted by physicians for increased vigilance in particular COVID-19 cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurovirology)
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Article
Reduced Axon Calibre in the Associative Striatum of the Sapap3 Knockout Mouse
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1353; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101353 - 14 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 388
Abstract
Pathological repetitive behaviours are a common feature of various neuropsychiatric disorders, including compulsions in obsessive–compulsive disorder or tics in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. Clinical research suggests that compulsive-like symptoms are related to associative cortico-striatal dysfunctions, and tic-like symptoms to sensorimotor cortico-striatal dysfunctions. [...] Read more.
Pathological repetitive behaviours are a common feature of various neuropsychiatric disorders, including compulsions in obsessive–compulsive disorder or tics in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. Clinical research suggests that compulsive-like symptoms are related to associative cortico-striatal dysfunctions, and tic-like symptoms to sensorimotor cortico-striatal dysfunctions. The Sapap3 knockout mouse (Sapap3-KO), the current reference model to study such repetitive behaviours, presents both associative as well as sensorimotor cortico-striatal dysfunctions. Previous findings point to deficits in both macro-, as well as micro-circuitry, both of which can be affected by neuronal structural changes. However, to date, structural connectivity has not been analysed. Hence, in the present study, we conducted a comprehensive structural characterisation of both associative and sensorimotor striatum as well as major cortical areas connecting onto these regions. Besides a thorough immunofluorescence study on oligodendrocytes, we applied AxonDeepSeg, an open source software, to automatically segment and characterise myelin thickness and axon area. We found that axon calibre, the main contributor to changes in conduction speed, is specifically reduced in the associative striatum of the Sapap3-KO mouse; myelination per se seems unaffected in associative and sensorimotor cortico-striatal circuits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive and Behavioral Patterns across Psychiatric Conditions)
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Review
Mental Illness and Amyloid: A Scoping Review of Scientific Evidence over the Last 10 Years (2011 to 2021)
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1352; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101352 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 365
Abstract
Amyloid precursor protein and its derivates represent a central factor in the process of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Since mental illnesses share with AD cognitive impairment, amyloid indicators have been used to explore the unknown pathophysiologic mechanisms underlining psychiatric illness. This work [...] Read more.
Amyloid precursor protein and its derivates represent a central factor in the process of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Since mental illnesses share with AD cognitive impairment, amyloid indicators have been used to explore the unknown pathophysiologic mechanisms underlining psychiatric illness. This work aims to compare the role of amyloid markers, together with tau proteins, among various mental disorders evaluating the possible role of altered amyloid metabolism in the onset and in the course of psychiatric diseases, considering the relationship with cognitive impairment in dementia. This review includes articles written in English, published between 1 January 2011 and 31 January 2021, which evaluated amyloid and tau proteins in psychiatric patients. After screening, 31 studies were included in the review. Results suggest that amyloid metabolism is altered in major psychiatric disorders and that it could be a marker of cognitive impairment. Nevertheless, the role of amyloid in mental diseases seems to be related to neurodevelopmental alteration as well as neurodegeneration processes, like in AD. The role of amyloid in the pathogenesis of mental disorders is still unknown. Amyloid should not be only considered as a marker of cognitive impairment in mental illness, but also for altered neurodevelopment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Psychiatric Diseases)
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Systematic Review
Depressive Symptoms and Burnout in Football Players: A Systematic Review
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1351; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101351 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 762
Abstract
The purpose of this article was to systematically review and organise the available literature devoted to the topic of depressive symptoms and burnout in football players. A systematic search was conducted in Web of Science, Scopus, SPORTdiscus, PubMed, and Psychinfo for articles published [...] Read more.
The purpose of this article was to systematically review and organise the available literature devoted to the topic of depressive symptoms and burnout in football players. A systematic search was conducted in Web of Science, Scopus, SPORTdiscus, PubMed, and Psychinfo for articles published up to June 2020. The searches yielded 1589 articles, and after the screening process, a total of 18 studies met the eligibility criteria and were included for review. Playing position and conflicts with coach/management seems to have a direct influence on the prevalence of depressive symptoms in current players as do the injuries and life events of former players. During the pre-competition phase, most of the athletes displayed reduced rates, indicating burnout. An exploration of the mental health of football players will help to create models of care and guide professionals so that they may help players achieve better performance while also having better wellbeing. Understanding how to prevent and cope with the emotional wellbeing of football players will be possible to guide players and coaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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Article
Short Digital Spatial Memory Test Detects Impairment in Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1350; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101350 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 391
Abstract
Background: Impairment in navigation abilities and object location memory are often seen in early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), yet these constructs are not included in standard neuropsychological assessment. We investigated the differential ability of a short digital spatial memory test in mild AD dementia [...] Read more.
Background: Impairment in navigation abilities and object location memory are often seen in early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), yet these constructs are not included in standard neuropsychological assessment. We investigated the differential ability of a short digital spatial memory test in mild AD dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Methods: 21 patients with AD dementia (66.9 ± 6.9; 47% female), 22 patients with MCI (69.6 ± 8.3; 46% female) and 21 patients with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) (62.2 ± 8.9; 48% female) from the Amsterdam Dementia Cohort performed the Object Location Memory Test (OLMT), consisting of a visual perception and memory trial, and the Virtual Tübingen (VT) test, consisting of a scene recognition, route continuation, route ordering and distance comparison task. The correlations with other cognitive domains were examined. Results: Patients with mild AD dementia (Z: −2.51 ± 1.15) and MCI (Z: −1.81 ± 0.92) performed worse than participants with SCD (Z: 0.0 ± 1.0) on the OLMT. Scene recognition and route continuation were equally impaired in patients with AD dementia (Z: −1.14 ± 0.73; Z: −1.44 ± 1.13) and MCI (Z: −1.37 ± 1.25; Z: −1.21 ± 1.07). Route ordering was only impaired in patients with MCI (Z: −0.82 ± 0.78). Weak to moderate correlations were found between route continuation and memory (r(64) = 0.40, p < 0.01), and between route ordering and attention (r(64) = 0.33, p < 0.01), but not for the OLMT. Conclusion: A short digital spatial memory test battery was able to detect object location memory and navigation impairment in patients with mild AD dementia and MCI, highlighting the value of incorporating such a test battery in standard neuropsychological assessment. Full article
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Article
The Department of Veterans Affairs Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses Biorepository: Supporting Research on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1349; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101349 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 571
Abstract
Aims: To introduce a resource supporting research on Gulf War illness (GWI) and related disorders, the Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses Biorepository (GWVIB). Methods: Gulf War era veterans (GWVs) are recruited nationally and enrolled via telephone and email/postal mail. Enrolled veterans receive annual telephone [...] Read more.
Aims: To introduce a resource supporting research on Gulf War illness (GWI) and related disorders, the Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses Biorepository (GWVIB). Methods: Gulf War era veterans (GWVs) are recruited nationally and enrolled via telephone and email/postal mail. Enrolled veterans receive annual telephone and mail follow-up to collect health data until their passing. A postmortem neuropathological examination is performed, and fixed and frozen brain and spinal cord samples are banked to support research. Investigators studying GWI and related disorders may request tissue and data from the GWVIB. Results: As of September 2021, 127 GWVs from 39 states were enrolled; 60 met the criteria for GWI, and 14 met the criteria for chronic multisymptom illness (CMI). Enrollees have been followed up to six years. Postmortem tissue recoveries were performed on 14 GWVs. The most commonly found neuropathologies included amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and Lewy body disease. Tissue was of good quality with an average RNA integrity number of 5.8 (SD = 1.0) and ≥4.8 in all of the cases. Discussion: The availability of health data and high-quality CNS tissue from this well-characterized GWV cohort will support research on GWI and related disorders affecting GWVs. Enrollment is ongoing. Full article
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Article
Abnormal Functional Network Topology and Its Dynamics during Sustained Attention Processing Significantly Implicate Post-TBI Attention Deficits in Children
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1348; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101348 - 13 Oct 2021
Viewed by 300
Abstract
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is highly prevalent in children. Attention deficits are among the most common and persistent post-TBI cognitive and behavioral sequalae that can contribute to adverse outcomes. This study investigated the topological properties of the functional brain network for sustained attention [...] Read more.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is highly prevalent in children. Attention deficits are among the most common and persistent post-TBI cognitive and behavioral sequalae that can contribute to adverse outcomes. This study investigated the topological properties of the functional brain network for sustained attention processing and their dynamics in 42 children with severe post-TBI attention deficits (TBI-A) and 47 matched healthy controls. Functional MRI data during a block-designed sustained attention task was collected for each subject, with each full task block further divided into the pre-, early, late-, and post-stimulation stages. The task-related functional brain network was constructed using the graph theoretic technique. Then, the sliding-window-based method was utilized to assess the dynamics of the topological properties in each stimulation stage. Relative to the controls, the TBI-A group had significantly reduced nodal efficiency and/or degree of left postcentral, inferior parietal, inferior temporal, and fusiform gyri and their decreased stability during the early and late-stimulation stages. The left postcentral inferior parietal network anomalies were found to be significantly associated with elevated inattentive symptoms in children with TBI-A. These results suggest that abnormal functional network characteristics and their dynamics associated with the left parietal lobe may significantly link to the onset of the severe post-TBI attention deficits in children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Dynamics and Connectivity from Birth through Adulthood)
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Article
Impact of Long-Rope Jumping on Monoamine and Attention in Young Adults
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1347; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101347 - 13 Oct 2021
Viewed by 350
Abstract
Previous research has shown that rope jumping improves physical health; however, little is known about its impact on brain-derived monoamine neurotransmitters associated with cognitive regulation. To address these gaps in the literature, the present study compared outcomes between 15 healthy participants (mean age, [...] Read more.
Previous research has shown that rope jumping improves physical health; however, little is known about its impact on brain-derived monoamine neurotransmitters associated with cognitive regulation. To address these gaps in the literature, the present study compared outcomes between 15 healthy participants (mean age, 23.1 years) after a long-rope jumping exercise and a control condition. Long-rope jumping also requires co-operation between people, attention, spatial cognition, and rhythm sensation. Psychological questionnaires were administered to both conditions, and Stroop task performance and monoamine metabolite levels in the saliva and urine were evaluated. Participants performing the exercise exhibited lower anxiety levels than those in the control condition. Saliva analyses showed higher 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (a norepinephrine metabolite) levels, and urine analyses revealed higher 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (a serotonin metabolite) levels in the exercise condition than in the control. Importantly, urinary 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid level correlated with salivary and urinary 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol levels in the exercise condition. Furthermore, cognitive results revealed higher Stroop performance in the exercise condition than in the control condition; this performance correlated with salivary 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol levels. These results indicate an association between increased 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol and attention in long-rope jumping. We suggest that long-rope jumping predicts central norepinephrinergic activation and related attention maintenance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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Article
An Effortful Approach to Social Affiliation in Schizophrenia: Preliminary Evidence of Increased Theta and Alpha Connectivity during a Live Social Interaction
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1346; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101346 - 13 Oct 2021
Viewed by 376
Abstract
People with schizophrenia often experience a profound lack of motivation for social affiliation—a facet of negative symptoms that detrimentally impairs functioning. However, the mechanisms underlying social affiliative deficits remain poorly understood, particularly under realistic social contexts. Here, we investigated subjective reports and electroencephalography [...] Read more.
People with schizophrenia often experience a profound lack of motivation for social affiliation—a facet of negative symptoms that detrimentally impairs functioning. However, the mechanisms underlying social affiliative deficits remain poorly understood, particularly under realistic social contexts. Here, we investigated subjective reports and electroencephalography (EEG) functional connectivity in schizophrenia during a live social interaction. Individuals with schizophrenia (n = 16) and healthy controls (n = 29) completed a face-to-face interaction with a confederate while having EEG recorded. Participants were randomly assigned to either a Closeness condition designed to elicit feelings of closeness through self-disclosure or a Small-Talk condition with minimal disclosure. Compared to controls, patients reported lower positive emotional experiences and feelings of closeness across conditions, but they showed comparably greater subjective affiliative responses for the Closeness (vs. Small-Talk) condition. Additionally, patients in the Closeness (vs. Small-Talk) condition displayed a global increase in connectivity in theta and alpha frequency bands that was not observed for controls. Importantly, greater theta and alpha connectivity was associated with greater subjective affiliative responding, greater negative symptoms, and lower disorganized symptoms in patients. Collectively, findings indicate that patients, because of pronounced negative symptoms, utilized a less efficient, top-down mediated strategy to process social affiliation. Full article
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Review
Watch and Learn: Vicarious Threat Learning across Human Development
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1345; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101345 - 13 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 398
Abstract
Vicarious threat learning is an important pathway in learning about safety and danger in the environment and is therefore critical for survival. It involves learning by observing another person’s (the demonstrator) fearful responses to threat and begins as early as infancy. The review [...] Read more.
Vicarious threat learning is an important pathway in learning about safety and danger in the environment and is therefore critical for survival. It involves learning by observing another person’s (the demonstrator) fearful responses to threat and begins as early as infancy. The review discusses the literature on vicarious threat learning and infers how this learning pathway may evolve over human development. We begin by discussing the methods currently being used to study observational threat learning in the laboratory. Next, we focus on the social factors influencing vicarious threat learning; this is followed by a review of vicarious threat learning among children and adolescents. Finally, we examine the neural mechanisms underpinning vicarious threat learning across human development. To conclude, we encourage future research directions that will help elucidate how vicarious threat learning emerges and how it relates to the development of normative fear and pathological anxiety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive and Behavioral Patterns across Psychiatric Conditions)
Article
Acoustic Identification of Sentence Accent in Speakers with Dysarthria: Cross-Population Validation and Severity Related Patterns
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1344; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101344 - 13 Oct 2021
Viewed by 342
Abstract
Dysprosody is a hallmark of dysarthria, which can affect the intelligibility and naturalness of speech. This includes sentence accent, which helps to draw listeners’ attention to important information in the message. Although some studies have investigated this feature, we currently lack properly validated [...] Read more.
Dysprosody is a hallmark of dysarthria, which can affect the intelligibility and naturalness of speech. This includes sentence accent, which helps to draw listeners’ attention to important information in the message. Although some studies have investigated this feature, we currently lack properly validated automated procedures that can distinguish between subtle performance differences observed across speakers with dysarthria. This study aims for cross-population validation of a set of acoustic features that have previously been shown to correlate with sentence accent. In addition, the impact of dysarthria severity levels on sentence accent production is investigated. Two groups of adults were analysed (Dutch and English speakers). Fifty-eight participants with dysarthria and 30 healthy control participants (HCP) produced sentences with varying accent positions. All speech samples were evaluated perceptually and analysed acoustically with an algorithm that extracts ten meaningful prosodic features and allows a classification between accented and unaccented syllables based on a linear combination of these parameters. The data were statistically analysed using discriminant analysis. Within the Dutch and English dysarthric population, the algorithm correctly identified 82.8 and 91.9% of the accented target syllables, respectively, indicating that the capacity to discriminate between accented and unaccented syllables in a sentence is consistent with perceptual impressions. Moreover, different strategies for accent production across dysarthria severity levels could be demonstrated, which is an important step toward a better understanding of the nature of the deficit and the automatic classification of dysarthria severity using prosodic features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Motor Speech Disorders and Prosody)
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Article
Obstructive Apnea and Hypopnea Length in Normal Children and Adolescents
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1343; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101343 - 13 Oct 2021
Viewed by 408
Abstract
(1) Background: Breathing is an essential function that requires both metabolic (or au-tomatic) and voluntary (behavioral) control during wakefulness but during sleep depends on metabolic control via peripheral and central chemoreceptors. Breathing during sleep disordered breathing also depends on the maturity of the [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Breathing is an essential function that requires both metabolic (or au-tomatic) and voluntary (behavioral) control during wakefulness but during sleep depends on metabolic control via peripheral and central chemoreceptors. Breathing during sleep disordered breathing also depends on the maturity of the neural centers and the strength of the respiratory muscles. We do not know if the response to apnea varies with age. (2) Methods: We measured the obstructive apneas and hypopneas during REM and NREM in polysomnography studies from children referred for snoring. Exclusion criteria: younger than 1 year of age, neuromuscular or syndrome comorbidity, oxygen or positive airway pressure, central apnea, and studies with loss of airflow sensors. (3) Results: Two-hundred-and-sixty-eight sleep studies were included. Mean age was 8.7 years (4.68 SD), range 1–18 years, 160 were male, and 108 were female. The 5th centile of apnea duration during NREM is above 8 s at all ages, with a tendency to increase in the oldest groups up to 10 s. During REM sleep, it shows a gradual increase from 6 s in the youngest children to 10 s in the oldest. (4) Conclusions: Apnea/hypopnea length increases with age in children and adolescents independently from sex or severity of OSA. Using adult criteria in teens seems to be accurate. Full article
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Article
Reflexive Gaze Shifts and Fear Recognition Deficits in Children with Callous-Unemotional Traits and Impulsivity/Conduct Problems
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1342; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101342 - 13 Oct 2021
Viewed by 1315
Abstract
The ability to efficiently recognize the emotions on others’ faces is something that most of us take for granted. Children with callous-unemotional (CU) traits and impulsivity/conduct problems (ICP), such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, have been previously described as being “fear blind”. This is [...] Read more.
The ability to efficiently recognize the emotions on others’ faces is something that most of us take for granted. Children with callous-unemotional (CU) traits and impulsivity/conduct problems (ICP), such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, have been previously described as being “fear blind”. This is also associated with looking less at the eye regions of fearful faces, which are highly diagnostic. Previous attempts to intervene into emotion recognition strategies have not had lasting effects on participants’ fear recognition abilities. Here we present both (a) additional evidence that there is a two-part causal chain, from personality traits to face recognition strategies using the eyes, then from strategies to rates of recognizing fear in others; and (b) a pilot intervention that had persistent effects for weeks after the end of instruction. Further, the intervention led to more change in those with the highest CU traits. This both clarifies the specific mechanisms linking personality to emotion recognition and shows that the process is fundamentally malleable. It is possible that such training could promote empathy and reduce the rates of antisocial behavior in specific populations in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dimensions of Pathological Aggression: From Neurobiology to Therapy)
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Article
Safety and Efficacy of Eculizumab Therapy in Multiple Sclerosis: A Case Series
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1341; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101341 - 11 Oct 2021
Viewed by 384
Abstract
(1) Background: Complement system activation has been proposed as one of the different factors that contribute to Multiple Sclerosis (MS) pathogenesis. In this study, we aimed to describe the potential effects of eculizumab, an anticomplement therapy, on MS disease activity in a cohort [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Complement system activation has been proposed as one of the different factors that contribute to Multiple Sclerosis (MS) pathogenesis. In this study, we aimed to describe the potential effects of eculizumab, an anticomplement therapy, on MS disease activity in a cohort of relapsing–remitting (RR) MS patients who discontinued IFN-β therapy due to IFN-β-related thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) onset. (2) Methods: In this retrospective observational multicentric study, we searched for all patients with MS treated by eculizumab with a survey of several nephrological and neurological centers (over 45 centers). (3) Results: Nine patients were included. The mean follow-up time under eculizumab was 3.72 ± 2.58 years. There were no significant differences in disease activity (EDSS, relapses, new T2, and/or Gd-enhancing lesions at MRI) considering the two years before and after eculizumab therapy. No adverse events potentially related to eculizumab therapy were reported during follow-up. (4) Conclusions: In this preliminary study, we described a good safety profile for eculizumab therapy in MS. However, the available data are not sufficient to make firm conclusions about the possible efficacy of eculizumab as a disease-modifying therapy for MS patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuropharmacology)
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Article
Can the Addition of Maintenance Electroconvulsive Therapy to Pharmacotherapy Improve Relapse Prevention in Severe Major Depressive Disorder? A Randomized Controlled Trial
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1340; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101340 - 11 Oct 2021
Viewed by 403
Abstract
Few systematic evaluations have been performed of the efficacy of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as a relapse prevention strategy in major depressive disorder (MDD). This is a single-blind, multicenter, randomized controlled trial to compare the efficacy and tolerability of pharmacotherapy plus maintenance ECT (M-Pharm/ECT) [...] Read more.
Few systematic evaluations have been performed of the efficacy of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as a relapse prevention strategy in major depressive disorder (MDD). This is a single-blind, multicenter, randomized controlled trial to compare the efficacy and tolerability of pharmacotherapy plus maintenance ECT (M-Pharm/ECT) versus pharmacotherapy alone (M-Pharm) in the prevention of MDD relapse. Subjects with MDD who had remitted with bilateral acute ECT (n = 37) were randomly assigned to receive M-Pharm/ECT (n = 19, 14 treatments) or M-Pharm (n = 18) for nine months. The subjects were followed up for 15 months. The main outcome was relapse of depression, defined as a score of 18 or more on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. At nine months, 35% of the subjects treated with M-Pharm/ECT relapsed as compared with 61% of the patients treated with M-Pharm. No statistically significant differences between groups were indicated by either Kaplan–Meier or Cox proportional hazards regression analyses. The subjects without psychotic features were at higher risk of relapse. There were no statistically significant differences in the MMSE scores of the two groups at the end of the study. Further studies are needed to better define the indications for M-ECT in order to improve its efficacy as a relapse prevention strategy. Full article
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Article
Fear Extinction-Based Inter-Individual and Sex Differences in Pain-Related Vocalizations and Anxiety-like Behaviors but Not Nocifensive Reflexes
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1339; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11101339 - 11 Oct 2021
Viewed by 337
Abstract
Inter-individual and sex differences in pain responses are recognized but their mechanisms are not well understood. This study was intended to provide the behavioral framework for analyses of pain mechanisms using fear extinction learning as a predictor of phenotypic and sex differences in [...] Read more.
Inter-individual and sex differences in pain responses are recognized but their mechanisms are not well understood. This study was intended to provide the behavioral framework for analyses of pain mechanisms using fear extinction learning as a predictor of phenotypic and sex differences in sensory (mechanical withdrawal thresholds) and emotional-affective aspects (open field tests for anxiety-like behaviors and audible and ultrasonic components of vocalizations) of acute and chronic pain. In acute arthritis and chronic neuropathic pain models, greater increases in vocalizations were found in females than males and in females with poor fear extinction abilities than females with strong fear extinction, particularly in the neuropathic pain model. Female rats showed higher anxiety-like behavior than males under baseline conditions but no inter-individual or sex differences were seen in the pain models. No inter-individual and sex differences in mechanosensitivity were observed. The data suggest that vocalizations are uniquely suited to detect inter-individual and sex differences in pain models, particularly in chronic neuropathic pain, whereas no such differences were found for mechanosensitivity, and baseline differences in anxiety-like behaviors disappeared in the pain models. Full article
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