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Brain Sci., Volume 11, Issue 9 (September 2021) – 141 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The COVID-19 lockdown determined important changes in the sleep of a large percentage of the world population. We assessed the modifications of reported sleep patterns and disturbances in Italian children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), compared to control children, before and during the COVID-19 lockdown in Italy. Parents of 100 ASD, 236 ADHD patients, and 340 healthy children filled out an anonymous online survey and a modified version of the Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children (SDSC), advertised via social media, to evaluate sleep patterns and disturbances of their children before and during the lockdown. View this paper
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Review
SUNCT/SUNA in Pediatric Age: A Review of Pathophysiology and Therapeutic Options
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1252; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091252 - 21 Sep 2021
Viewed by 546
Abstract
The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition (ICHD3) defines Short-lasting Unilateral Neuralgiform Headache Attacks (SUNHA) as attacks of moderate or severe, strictly unilateral head pain lasting from seconds to minutes, occurring at least once a day and usually associated with prominent lacrimation [...] Read more.
The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition (ICHD3) defines Short-lasting Unilateral Neuralgiform Headache Attacks (SUNHA) as attacks of moderate or severe, strictly unilateral head pain lasting from seconds to minutes, occurring at least once a day and usually associated with prominent lacrimation and redness of the ipsilateral eye. Two subtypes of SUNHA are identified: Short-lasting Unilateral Neuralgiform headache attacks with Conjunctival injection and Tearing (SUNCT) and Short-lasting Unilateral Neuralgiform headache attacks with cranial Autonomic symptoms (SUNA). These pathologies are infrequent in children and difficult to diagnose. The authors reviewed the existing literature on SUNCT and SUNA, especially in the developmental age, which describes the pathophysiology in detail and focuses on the therapeutic options available to date. SUNHA-type headaches must be considered on the one hand, for the possibility of the onset of forms secondary to underlying pathologies even of a neoplastic nature, and on the other hand, for the negative impact they can have on an individual’s quality of life, particularly in young patients. Until now, published cases suggest that no chronic variants occur in childhood and adolescents. In light of this evidence, the authors offer a review that may serve as a source to be drawn upon in the implementation of suitable treatments in children and adolescents suffering from these headaches, focusing on therapies that are non-invasive and as risk-free as possible for pediatric patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurological Diseases in Children Series II)
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Systematic Review
Has the Phase of the Menstrual Cycle Been Considered in Studies Investigating Pressure Pain Sensitivity in Migraine and Tension-Type Headache: A Scoping Review
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1251; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091251 - 21 Sep 2021
Viewed by 467
Abstract
Objective: The aim of this scoping review was to identify if the phase of the menstrual cycle was considered in observational studies comparing pressure pain sensitivity between women with migraine or tension-type headache (TTH) and headache-free women. Methods: A systematic electronic literature search [...] Read more.
Objective: The aim of this scoping review was to identify if the phase of the menstrual cycle was considered in observational studies comparing pressure pain sensitivity between women with migraine or tension-type headache (TTH) and headache-free women. Methods: A systematic electronic literature search in PubMed, Medline, Web of Science, Scopus, and CINAHL databases was conducted. Observational studies including one or more groups with TTH and/or migraine comparing pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) were included. The methodological quality (risk of bias) was assessed with the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Authors, objectives, inclusion/exclusion criteria, size sample, female sample, tool to assess PPTs, mean age, and the use of any medication were extracted and analyzed independently by two authors. Results: From a total of 1404 and 1832 identified articles for TTH and migraine, 30 and 18 studies satisfied the criteria and were included. Nineteen (63.4%) studies assessing TTH patients and eleven (61.1%) assessing migraine patients showed a high risk of bias. The most common flaws were attributed to improper selection of control and control over other additional factors. Based on the systematic review, just one study including TTH and one including migraine patients considered the menstrual cycle. Conclusion: The results of this scoping review identified that the phase of the menstrual cycle has been rarely considered in studies investigating sensitivity to pressure pain in primary headaches, such as TTH or migraine, although there is evidence showing the relevance of the phase of the menstrual cycle in pain perception. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migraine and Sex Hormones)
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Article
Changes in Affective Behavior and Oxidative Stress after Binge Alcohol in Male and Female Rats
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1250; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091250 - 21 Sep 2021
Viewed by 591
Abstract
Binge alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders (AUD) are prevalent, and there is comorbidity with depression and anxiety. Potential underlying mechanisms include neurophysiological, genetic, and metabolic changes resulting from alcohol exposure. Mood and anxiety disorders are more common among women, but whether females [...] Read more.
Binge alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders (AUD) are prevalent, and there is comorbidity with depression and anxiety. Potential underlying mechanisms include neurophysiological, genetic, and metabolic changes resulting from alcohol exposure. Mood and anxiety disorders are more common among women, but whether females are more susceptible to binge-induced oxidative stress and co-occurring anxiety and depression-like behaviors remains unknown. Here, we used a repeated, weekly binge alcohol paradigm in male and female rats to investigate sex differences in despair and anxiety-like behaviors and brain oxidative stress parameters. A single binge alcohol exposure significantly elevated glutathione (GSH) levels in prefrontal cortex (PFC) of both male and female animals. This was accompanied by increased lipid peroxidation in PFC of both sexes. Repeated (once weekly) binge exposure induced changes in anxiety- and depression-like behaviors in both males and females and increased GSH level in the PFC without detectable oxidative damage. Our findings suggest that repeated binge alcohol exposure influences affect regardless of sex and in the absence of membrane damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuroprotection and Oxidative Distress)
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Article
Effects of Ethanol Exposure during Lactation on Ultrasonic Vocalizations of Rat Pups upon Their Isolation: Increase in Pup Distress Calls
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1249; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091249 - 21 Sep 2021
Viewed by 452
Abstract
Recording ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) is a highly sensitive tool to study the dam–pup social relationships, and USV recordings have been used to study the effects of ethanol on pups. Gestational effects of ethanol on the emission of USVs in rat pups have been [...] Read more.
Recording ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) is a highly sensitive tool to study the dam–pup social relationships, and USV recordings have been used to study the effects of ethanol on pups. Gestational effects of ethanol on the emission of USVs in rat pups have been studied in our previous research. In the present study, the effects of ethanol given to dams during lactation on the acoustic parameters of USVs emitted by isolated pups were examined. Ethanol was administered to dams from postnatal days (PNDs) 5–21. From PNDs 11–21, the high- and low-ethanol-treated dams were exposed to ethanol-containing water (v/v) at concentrations of 30% and 15%, respectively. Tap water without ethanol (0%) was provided to the control dams. The pups in all three ethanol-treated groups were separated from the dam and littermates on PNDs 4, 8, 12, and 16, and USVs produced by the pups were recorded for 5 min. It was found that elevated distress USVs with longer duration and higher percentage of frequency modulations were displayed by the pups from the high-ethanol dams. Alterations in USVs were particularly evident in the pups with a reduced body weight at PND 12. This effect might be because high-ethanol dams showed significantly lower intake of higher ethanol-containing water, and consequently, produced lower amount of milk, as well as exhibited poor maternal care. Insufficient maternal care and malnutrition resulted in pup growth retardation and increased mortality rate in the high-ethanol group, which were not observed in the low-ethanol or control pups. Accordingly, the pups in the high-ethanol group experienced elevated negative emotionality during isolation from their dam and increased emission of USVs. Longer duration and increased frequency modulation of pup USVs are expected to be noticed by the dam and to initiate/increase proper maternal care. It is concluded that ethanol given to lactating mothers has more serious consequences on pup development than the gestational ethanol exposure, and has more harmful effects on pups. Full article
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Article
Brain Abnormalities in Individuals with a Desire for a Healthy Limb Amputation: Somatosensory, Motoric or Both? A Task-Based fMRI Verdict
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1248; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091248 - 21 Sep 2021
Viewed by 491
Abstract
Body integrity dysphoria (BID), a long-lasting desire for the amputation of physically healthy limbs, is associated with reduced fMRI resting-state functional connectivity of somatosensory cortices. Here, we used fMRI to evaluate whether these findings could be replicated and expanded using a task-based paradigm. [...] Read more.
Body integrity dysphoria (BID), a long-lasting desire for the amputation of physically healthy limbs, is associated with reduced fMRI resting-state functional connectivity of somatosensory cortices. Here, we used fMRI to evaluate whether these findings could be replicated and expanded using a task-based paradigm. We measured brain activations during somatosensory stimulation and motor tasks for each of the four limbs in ten individuals with a life-long desire for the amputation of the left leg and fourteen controls. For the left leg, BID individuals had reduced brain activation in the right superior parietal lobule for somatosensory stimulation and in the right paracentral lobule for the motor task, areas where we previously found reduced resting-state functional connectivity. In addition, for somatosensory stimulation only, we found a robust reduction in activation of somatosensory areas SII bilaterally, mostly regardless of the stimulated body part. Areas SII were regions of convergent activations for signals from all four limbs in controls to a significantly greater extent than in subjects with BID. We conclude that BID is associated with altered integration of somatosensory and, to a lesser extent, motor signals, involving limb-specific cortical maps and brain regions where the first integration of body-related signals is achieved through convergence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuropsychology)
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Review
Developing a Digital Solution for Remote Assessment in Multiple Sclerosis: From Concept to Software as a Medical Device
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1247; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091247 - 21 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1058
Abstract
There is increasing interest in the development and deployment of digital solutions to improve patient care and facilitate monitoring in medical practice, e.g., by remote observation of disease symptoms in the patients’ home environment. Digital health solutions today range from non-regulated wellness applications [...] Read more.
There is increasing interest in the development and deployment of digital solutions to improve patient care and facilitate monitoring in medical practice, e.g., by remote observation of disease symptoms in the patients’ home environment. Digital health solutions today range from non-regulated wellness applications and research-grade exploratory instruments to regulated software as a medical device (SaMD). This paper discusses the considerations and complexities in developing innovative, effective, and validated SaMD for multiple sclerosis (MS). The development of SaMD requires a formalised approach (design control), inclusive of technical verification and analytical validation to ensure reliability. SaMD must be clinically evaluated, characterised for benefit and risk, and must conform to regulatory requirements associated with device classification. Cybersecurity and data privacy are also critical. Careful consideration of patient and provider needs throughout the design and testing process help developers overcome challenges of adoption in medical practice. Here, we explore the development pathway for SaMD in MS, leveraging experiences from the development of Floodlight™ MS, a continually evolving bundled solution of SaMD for remote functional assessment of MS. The development process will be charted while reflecting on common challenges in the digital space, with a view to providing insights for future developers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital innovation in Multiple Sclerosis Management)
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Review
The Mechanisms Underlying Interference and Inhibition: A Review of Current Behavioral and Neuroimaging Research
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1246; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091246 - 20 Sep 2021
Viewed by 700
Abstract
The memory literature has identified interference and inhibition as two major sources of forgetting. While interference is generally considered to be a passive cause of forgetting arising from exposure to additional information that impedes subsequent recall of target information, inhibition concerns a more [...] Read more.
The memory literature has identified interference and inhibition as two major sources of forgetting. While interference is generally considered to be a passive cause of forgetting arising from exposure to additional information that impedes subsequent recall of target information, inhibition concerns a more active and goal-directed cause of forgetting that can be achieved intentionally. Over the past 25 years, our knowledge of the neural mechanisms underlying both interference-induced and inhibition-induced forgetting has expanded substantially. The present paper gives a critical overview of this research, pointing out empirical gaps in the current work and providing suggestions for future studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrating Neurocognitive Knowledge into Psychology)
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Article
Peripheral Nerve Impairment in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1245; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091245 - 20 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 738
Abstract
Sarcopenia, a geriatric syndrome involving loss of muscle mass and strength, is often associated with the early phases of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Pathological hallmarks of AD including amyloid β (Aβ) aggregates which can be found in peripheral tissues such as skeletal muscle. However, [...] Read more.
Sarcopenia, a geriatric syndrome involving loss of muscle mass and strength, is often associated with the early phases of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Pathological hallmarks of AD including amyloid β (Aβ) aggregates which can be found in peripheral tissues such as skeletal muscle. However, not much is currently known about their possible involvement in sarcopenia. We investigated neuronal innervation in skeletal muscle of Tg2576 mice, a genetic model for Aβ accumulation. We examined cholinergic innervation of skeletal muscle in adult Tg2576 and wild type mice by immunofluorescence labeling of tibialis anterior (TA) muscle sections using antibodies raised against neurofilament light chain (NFL) and acetylcholine (ACh) synthesizing enzyme choline acetyltransferase (ChAT). Combining this histological approach with real time quantification of mRNA levels of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, we demonstrated that in the TA of Tg2576 mice, neuronal innervation is significantly reduced and synaptic area is smaller and displays less ChAT content when compared to wild type mice. Our study provides the first evidence of reduced cholinergic innervation of skeletal muscle in a mouse model of Aβ accumulation. This evidence sustains the possibility that sarcopenia in AD originates from Aβ-mediated cholinergic loss. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Imaging of Neuronal Environments)
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Article
Assessment of Bulbar Function in Adult Patients with 5q-SMA Type 2 and 3 under Treatment with Nusinersen
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1244; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091244 - 20 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 672
Abstract
The antisense oligonucleotide nusinersen has been shown to improve trunk and limb motor function in patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Bulbar dysfunction, which is regularly present in SMA, is not captured by standard motor scores, and validated measurement instruments to assess it [...] Read more.
The antisense oligonucleotide nusinersen has been shown to improve trunk and limb motor function in patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Bulbar dysfunction, which is regularly present in SMA, is not captured by standard motor scores, and validated measurement instruments to assess it have not yet been established. Data on whether and how bulbar function changes under gene-based therapies in adult SMA patients are also unavailable. Here, we present data on the course of bulbar dysfunction assessed prospectively before nusinersen treatment initiation and 6 and 14 months later in 23 adult SMA patients using the Sydney Swallow Questionnaire (SSQ) and the bulbar subscore of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale Revised (ALSFRS-R). While no improvement in bulbar scores was observed under treatment with nusinersen, the absence of a decline still implies a therapeutic effect of nusinersen on bulbar dysfunction. The results of this study aim to contribute to a standardized assessment of bulbar function in adult SMA patients, which may show therapeutic effects of gene-based therapies that are not evident from standard motor scores. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sensory and Motor Neuroscience)
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Article
Serum Activin A as Brain Injury Biomarker in the First Three Days of Life. A Prospective Case—Control Longitudinal Study in Human Premature Neonates
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1243; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091243 - 20 Sep 2021
Viewed by 458
Abstract
Disruption of normal intrauterine brain development is a significant consequence of premature birth and may lead to serious complications, such as neonatal brain injury (NBI). This prospective case-control longitudinal study aimed at determining the levels and prognostic value of serum activin A during [...] Read more.
Disruption of normal intrauterine brain development is a significant consequence of premature birth and may lead to serious complications, such as neonatal brain injury (NBI). This prospective case-control longitudinal study aimed at determining the levels and prognostic value of serum activin A during the first three days of life in human premature neonates which later developed NBI. It was conducted in a single tertiary hospital and eligible participants were live-born premature (<34 weeks) neonates. Each case (n = 29) developed NBI in the form of an intraventricular haemorrhage, or periventricular leukomalacia, and was matched according to birth weight and gestational age to one neonate with normal head ultrasound scans. Serum activin A levels in both groups showed a stable concentration during the first three days of life as no difference was observed within the two groups from the first to the third day. Neonates diagnosed with NBI had significantly higher activin A levels during the first two days of life compared to control neonates and its levels correlated to the severity of NBI during the second and third day of life. Although serum activin A on the second day was the best predictor for neonates at risk to develop NBI, the overall predictive value was marginally fair (area under the ROC-curve 69.2%). Activin A, in combination with other biomarkers, may provide the first clinically useful panel for the early detection of premature neonates at high risk of NBI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Biomarkers of Brain Injury)
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Article
Timing of Psychopharmacological and Nutritional Interventions in the Inpatient Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa: An Observational Study
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1242; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091242 - 19 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 804
Abstract
This study aims to investigate possible different outcomes in the inpatient treatment of anorexia nervosa (AN) related to different timings of psychopharmacological and nutritional interventions. A retrospective observational study was conducted, involving young patients hospitalized for AN, treated with naso-gastric tube feeding (NGT). [...] Read more.
This study aims to investigate possible different outcomes in the inpatient treatment of anorexia nervosa (AN) related to different timings of psychopharmacological and nutritional interventions. A retrospective observational study was conducted, involving young patients hospitalized for AN, treated with naso-gastric tube feeding (NGT). Participants were divided into five groups according to early (0–7 days) or late (8+ days) introduction of atypical antipsychotics (AAP) and NGT: early AAP-early NGT (EE), early AAP-late NGT (EL), late AAP-early NGT (LE), late AAP-late NGT (LL) and a control group treated with NGT only (NGT). Concurrent clinical and treatment variables were analyzed. AN psychopathology was measured with the Eating Disorder Inventory-3 (EDI-3) EDRC score. Outcomes were assessed as admission-discharge body-mass index (BMI) improvement and length of hospital stay (LOS). Contributions of variables related to outcomes were assessed with multifactorial-analyses of variance (MANOVA). Seventy-nine patients were enrolled in the study. LOS was different among treatment groups (F (4, 75) = 5.993, p < 0.001), and EE patients showed lower LOS than LE (p < 0.001) and LL (p = 0.025) patients. BMI improvement was not significantly different among treatment groups but correlated negatively with age (F (1, 72) = 10.130, p = 0.002), and admission BMI (F (1, 72) = 14.681, p < 0.001). In conclusion, patients treated with early AAP and early NGT showed lower LOS than those treated with late AAP. Prognostic treatment variables should be investigated in wider samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuroenergetics Nutrition and Brain Health)
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Technical Note
Minimally Invasive L5 Corpectomy with Navigated Expandable Vertebral Cage: A Technical Note
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1241; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091241 - 19 Sep 2021
Viewed by 674
Abstract
Background: Conventional L5 corpectomy requires a large incision and an extended period of intraoperative fluoroscopy. We describe herein a new L5 corpectomy technique. Methods: A 79-year-old woman was referred to our hospital for leg pain and lower back pain due to an L5 [...] Read more.
Background: Conventional L5 corpectomy requires a large incision and an extended period of intraoperative fluoroscopy. We describe herein a new L5 corpectomy technique. Methods: A 79-year-old woman was referred to our hospital for leg pain and lower back pain due to an L5 vertebral fracture. Her daily life had been affected by severe lower back pain and sciatica for more than 2 months. We initially performed simple decompression surgery, but this proved effective for only 10 months. Results: For revision surgery, the patient underwent minimally invasive L5 corpectomy with a navigated expandable cage without fluoroscopy. The second surgery took 215 min, and estimated blood loss was 750 mL. The revision surgery proved successful, and the patient could then walk using a cane. In terms of clinical outcomes, the Oswestry Disability Index improved from 66% to 24%, and the visual analog scale score for lower back pain improved from 84 to 31 mm at the 1-year follow-up. Conclusions: Minimally invasive L5 corpectomy with a navigated expandable vertebral cage is effective for reducing cage misplacement and surgical invasiveness. With this new technique, surgeons and operating room staff can avoid the risk of adverse events due to intraoperative radiation exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Degenerative Spinal Disease)
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Article
Epigenetic Mediation of AKT1 rs1130233’s Effect on Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol-Induced Medial Temporal Function during Fear Processing
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1240; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091240 - 19 Sep 2021
Viewed by 648
Abstract
High doses of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis, have been shown to have anxiogenic effects. Additionally, THC effects have been shown to be modulated by genotype, including the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1130233 at the protein kinase AKT1 gene, a [...] Read more.
High doses of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis, have been shown to have anxiogenic effects. Additionally, THC effects have been shown to be modulated by genotype, including the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1130233 at the protein kinase AKT1 gene, a key component of the dopamine signalling cascade. As such, it is likely that epigenetic methylation around this SNP may affect AKT gene expression, which may in turn impact on the acute effects of THC on brain function. We investigated the genetic (AKT1 rs1130233) and epigenetic modulation of brain function during fear processing in a 2-session, double-blind, cross-over, randomized placebo-controlled THC administration, in 36 healthy males. Fear processing was assessed using an emotion (fear processing) paradigm, under functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Complete genetic and fMRI data were available for 34 participants. THC caused an increase in anxiety and transient psychotomimetic symptoms and para-hippocampal gyrus/amygdala activation. Number of A alleles at the AKT1 rs1130233 SNP, and percentage methylation at the CpG11–12 site, were independently associated with a greater effect of THC on activation in a network of brain regions including left and right parahippocampal gyri, respectively. AKT1 rs1130233 moderation of the THC effect on left parahippocampal activation persisted after covarying for methylation percentage, and was partially mediated in sections of the left parahippocampal gyrus/hippocampus by methylation percentage. These results may offer an example of how genetic and epigenetic variations influence the psychotomimetic and neurofunctional effects of THC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Behavioral Neuroscience)
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Article
Genotyping and Plasma/Cerebrospinal Fluid Profiling of a Cohort of Frontotemporal Dementia–Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Patients
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1239; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091239 - 19 Sep 2021
Viewed by 772
Abstract
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are part of the same pathophysiological spectrum and have common genetic and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers. Our aim here was to identify causative gene variants in a cohort of Greek patients with FTD, ALS and [...] Read more.
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are part of the same pathophysiological spectrum and have common genetic and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers. Our aim here was to identify causative gene variants in a cohort of Greek patients with FTD, ALS and FTD-ALS, to measure levels of CSF biomarkers and to investigate genotype-phenotype/CSF biomarker associations. In this cohort of 130 patients (56 FTD, 58 ALS and 16 FTD-ALS), we performed C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion analysis, whole exome sequencing and measurement of “classical” (Aβ42, total tau and phospho-tau) and novel (TDP-43) CSF biomarkers and plasma progranulin. Through these analyses, we identified 14 patients with C9orf72 repeat expansion and 11 patients with causative variants in other genes (three in TARDBP, three in GRN, three in VCP, one in FUS, one in SOD1). In ALS patients, we found that levels of phospho-tau were lower in C9orf72 repeat expansion and MAPT c.855C>T (p.Asp285Asp) carriers compared to non-carriers. Additionally, carriers of rare C9orf72 and APP variants had lower levels of total tau and Aβ42, respectively. Plasma progranulin levels were decreased in patients carrying GRN pathogenic variants. This study expands the genotypic and phenotypic spectrum of FTD/ALS and offers insights in possible genotypic/CSF biomarker associations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers in Dementia Disorders)
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Case Report
A Diagnostic Dilemma of White Matter Lesions and Cerebral Oedema without Identifiable Cause—A Neurological Conundrum
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1238; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091238 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 917
Abstract
Introduction: This paper describes a case of bi-frontal vasogenic oedema associated with bilateral frontal lobe and left parietal lobe white matter lesions where extensive investigations, including brain biopsy, failed to establish a diagnosis. Case Report: A 67-year-old female presented with three weeks’ history [...] Read more.
Introduction: This paper describes a case of bi-frontal vasogenic oedema associated with bilateral frontal lobe and left parietal lobe white matter lesions where extensive investigations, including brain biopsy, failed to establish a diagnosis. Case Report: A 67-year-old female presented with three weeks’ history of memory loss, fatigue, insomnia, nausea, and occasional dysphasia. Physical examination was unremarkable, yet cerebral CT and MRI showed bilateral frontal lobe vasogenic oedema. Extensive investigations, including: biochemical; radiological; immunological; microbiological; haematological; histopathological; and cytological, failed to establish a confirmed diagnosis. A multidisciplinary team could not achieve a consensus for this atypical presentation. Brain biopsy was unusual, showing destructive inflammatory and subtly granulomatous disease, but an exhaustive list of auxiliary tests could not confirm a cause, and consensus favoured glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) autoimmune encephalopathy. Discussion: A definitive diagnosis could not be established for this patient despite a gamut of investigations. Although some of the presenting features were consistent with GFAP astrocytopathy, initial staining of the patient’s CSF for neuronal antibodies was negative. Her symptoms and radiological changes of brain imaging improved without any corticosteroid therapy. Conclusions: Through this case report, the aim is to add to the repository of neurological sciences in the hope that future similar presentations could potentially lead to discovery of a new aetiology or contribute towards better understanding of an existing disease process. Full article
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Review
Animal Models as a Tool to Design Therapeutical Strategies for CMT-like Hereditary Neuropathies
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1237; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091237 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 558
Abstract
Since ancient times, animal models have provided fundamental information in medical knowledge. This also applies for discoveries in the field of inherited peripheral neuropathies (IPNs), where they have been instrumental for our understanding of nerve development, pathogenesis of neuropathy, molecules and pathways involved [...] Read more.
Since ancient times, animal models have provided fundamental information in medical knowledge. This also applies for discoveries in the field of inherited peripheral neuropathies (IPNs), where they have been instrumental for our understanding of nerve development, pathogenesis of neuropathy, molecules and pathways involved and to design potential therapies. In this review, we briefly describe how animal models have been used in ancient medicine until the use of rodents as the prevalent model in present times. We then travel along different examples of how rodents have been used to improve our understanding of IPNs. We do not intend to describe all discoveries and animal models developed for IPNs, but just to touch on a few arbitrary and paradigmatic examples, taken from our direct experience or from literature. The idea is to show how strategies have been developed to finally arrive to possible treatments for IPNs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Research in Neuromuscular Disorders)
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Article
Processing Aspectual Agreement in an Inflexionless Language: An ERP Study of Mandarin Chinese
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1236; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091236 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 490
Abstract
This is a study of the collocation of Chinese verbs with different lexical aspects and aspect markers. Using event-related potentials (ERPs), we explored the processing of aspect violation sentences. In the experiment, we combined verbs of various lexical aspect types with the progressive [...] Read more.
This is a study of the collocation of Chinese verbs with different lexical aspects and aspect markers. Using event-related potentials (ERPs), we explored the processing of aspect violation sentences. In the experiment, we combined verbs of various lexical aspect types with the progressive aspect marker zhe, and the combination of the achievement verbs and the progressive aspect marker zhe constituted the sentence’s aspect violation. The participants needed to judge whether a sentence was correct after it was presented. Finally, we observed and analyzed the components of ERPs. The results suggest that when the collocation of aspect markers and lexical aspect is ungrammatical, the N400-like and P600 are elicited on aspect markers, while the late AN is elicited by the word after the aspect marker. P600 and N400-like show that the collocation of Chinese verbs with various lexical aspects and aspect markers involve not only syntactic processing, but also the semantic processing; and the late AN may have been due to the syntax revision and the conclusion at the end of sentences. Full article
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Review
A Mobile App for Measuring Real Time Fatigue in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis: Introducing the Fimo Health App
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1235; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091235 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 734
Abstract
Although fatigue is one of the most disabling symptoms of MS, its pathogenesis is not well understood yet. This study aims to introduce a new holistic approach to measure fatigue and its influencing factors via a mobile app. Fatigue is measured with different [...] Read more.
Although fatigue is one of the most disabling symptoms of MS, its pathogenesis is not well understood yet. This study aims to introduce a new holistic approach to measure fatigue and its influencing factors via a mobile app. Fatigue is measured with different patient-reported outcome measures (Visual Analog Scale, Fatigue Severity Scale) and tests (Symbol Digit Modalities Test). The influencing vital and environmental factors are captured with a smartwatch and phone sensors. Patients can track these factors within the app. To individually counteract their fatigue, a fatigue course, based on the current treatment guidelines, was implemented. The course implies knowledge about fatigue and MS, exercises, energy-conservation management, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Based on the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change, the design of the Fimo health app follows the ten strategies of the process of change, which is a proven approach to designing health intervention programs. By monitoring fatigue and individual influencing factors, patients can better understand and manage their fatigue. They can share their data and insights about fatigue and its influencing factors with their doctors. Thus, they can receive individualized therapies and drug plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital innovation in Multiple Sclerosis Management)
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Article
Does Real-Time Feedback Affect Sensorimotor EEG Patterns in Routine Motor Imagery Practice?
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1234; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091234 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 802
Abstract
Background. Motor imagery engages much of the same neural circuits as an overt movement. Therefore, the mental rehearsal of movements is often used to supplement physical training and might aid motor neurorehabilitation after stroke. One attempt to capture the brain’s involvement in imagery [...] Read more.
Background. Motor imagery engages much of the same neural circuits as an overt movement. Therefore, the mental rehearsal of movements is often used to supplement physical training and might aid motor neurorehabilitation after stroke. One attempt to capture the brain’s involvement in imagery involves the use, as a marker, of the depression or event-related desynchronization (ERD) of thalamocortical sensorimotor rhythms found in a human electroencephalogram (EEG). Using fast real-time processing, it is possible to make the subject aware of their own brain reactions or—even better—to turn them into actions through a technology called the brain–computer interface (BCI). However, it remains unclear whether BCI-enabled imagery facilitates a stronger or qualitatively different brain response compared to the open-loop training. Methods. Seven healthy volunteers who were experienced in both closed and open-loop motor imagery took part in six experimental sessions over a period of 4.5 months, in which they performed kinesthetic imagery of a previously known set of finger and arm movements with simultaneous 30-channel EEG acquisition. The first and the last session mostly consisted of feedback trials in which the subjects were presented with the classification results of the EEG patterns in real time; during the other sessions, no feedback was provided. Spatiotemporal and amplitude features of the ERD patterns concomitant with imagery were compared across experimental days and between feedback conditions using linear mixed-effects modeling. Results. The main spatial sources of ERD appeared to be highly stable across the six experimental days, remaining nearly identical in five of seven subjects (Pearson’s ρ > 0.94). Only in one subject did the spatial pattern of activation statistically significantly differ (p = 0.009) between the feedback and no-feedback conditions. Real-time visual feedback delivered through the BCI did not significantly increase the ERD strength. Conclusion. The results imply that the potential benefits of MI could be yielded by well-habituated subjects with a simplified open-loop setup, e.g., through at-home self-practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sensory and Motor Neuroscience)
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Article
Secondary Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic in Fatigue, Self-Compassion, Physical and Mental Health of People with Multiple Sclerosis and Caregivers: The Teruel Study
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1233; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091233 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 594
Abstract
The secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are distress triggers and risk factors for mental health. Conversely, self-compassion skills and compassionate thoughts/behaviors towards suffering may contribute to their alleviation. Both psychological constructs are interrelated in life-threatening diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). The [...] Read more.
The secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are distress triggers and risk factors for mental health. Conversely, self-compassion skills and compassionate thoughts/behaviors towards suffering may contribute to their alleviation. Both psychological constructs are interrelated in life-threatening diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). The Teruel Study retrospectively evaluated the impact of strict confinement on the 44 people with MS of this Spanish province and 24 caregivers, specifically assessing (1) fears and perceptions; (2) self-compassion (people with MS) and compassion (caregivers); (3) physical and mental health, and fatigue. Despite better housing conditions, people with MS considered confinement very difficult to handle, more than their caregivers, but they were less afraid of COVID-19 and worsening of MS. Still, they recognized worse health than before confinement. Reclusion and lack of walks were the worst of confinement. Caregivers also referred to lack of leisure and uncertainty–fear. All agreed the best was staying with the family, but some found ‘nothing’ positive. Self-compassion remained moderate–high and strongly correlated with their moderate levels of social function, vitality, physical role, and global health. Physical and cognitive fatigue scores were high, and self-compassion negatively correlated with them, explaining a 19% variance in global health. The high compassion of the caregivers did not correlate with any variable. Full article
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Article
Clinical Implications of Amyloid-Beta Accumulation in Occipital Lobes in Alzheimer’s Continuum
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1232; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091232 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 502
Abstract
A substantial amount of amyloid-beta (Aβ) accumulates in the occipital cortices; however, it draws less attention. We investigated the clinical implications of Aβ accumulation in the occipital lobes in the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) continuum. [18F]-Florbetaben amyloid PET scans were performed in a total [...] Read more.
A substantial amount of amyloid-beta (Aβ) accumulates in the occipital cortices; however, it draws less attention. We investigated the clinical implications of Aβ accumulation in the occipital lobes in the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) continuum. [18F]-Florbetaben amyloid PET scans were performed in a total of 121 AD or amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) patients. Of the 121 patients, 74 Aβ positive patients were divided into occipital Aβ positive (OCC+) and occipital Aβ negative (OCC−) groups based on Aβ accumulation in the bilateral occipital lobes. The OCC+ group (41/74, 55.4%) was younger and had a younger age at onset than the OCC− group. The OCC+ group also had an increased standard uptake value ratio in the occipital lobes and greater cortical thinning in relevant areas. The OCC+ group had a higher global deterioration scale, lower performance for the copy, immediate recall, delayed recall, and recognition in Rey–Osterrieth Complex Figure tests than the OCC- group, although both groups had similar disease durations. AD or aMCI patients in the OCC+ group exhibited features noted in early onset AD with relevant neuropsychological and image findings. Occipital Aβ positivity in amyloid PET scans need to be considered as an underestimated marker of early onset AD continuum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Clinical Neuroscience)
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Article
What Is the Role of Resilience and Coping Strategies on the Mental Health of the General Population during the COVID-19 Pandemic? Results from the Italian Multicentric COMET Study
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1231; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091231 - 17 Sep 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 760
Abstract
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health are now well documented, however, few studies have been focused on the role of coping strategies and resilience in counterbalancing these detrimental effects. Data are derived from the COvid Mental hEalth Trial (COMET), a [...] Read more.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health are now well documented, however, few studies have been focused on the role of coping strategies and resilience in counterbalancing these detrimental effects. Data are derived from the COvid Mental hEalth Trial (COMET), a national multicentric trial carried out in the Italian general population. The final sample consisted of 20,720 participants, 53.1% (n = 11,000) of the sample reported low levels of resilience. Adaptive coping strategies and resilience levels did not have any significant protective impact on the levels of depressive, anxiety, and stress symptoms. Only self-distraction was a risk factor for poor mental health (Beta Coefficient, B = 0.1, 95% Confidence Interval, CI: 0.003 to 0.267 for stress symptoms; B = 0.2; 95% CI: 0.077 to 0.324 for anxiety symptoms and B = 0.2, 95% CI: 0.105 to 0.382 for depressive symptoms). High levels of resilience were predicted by adaptive coping strategies, such as acceptance (B = 1.8, CI 95% = 1.4–2.7). Exposure to the different weeks of lockdown, being infected by COVID-19, and being a healthcare professional did not influence the levels of resilience. Our findings should be carefully considered, since the low levels of resilience may represent the missing link between the pandemic and the current increase in mental health problems. Full article
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Article
Understanding of Numerical Information during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1230; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091230 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 479
Abstract
Media news during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic often entail complex numerical concepts such as exponential increase or reproduction number. This study investigated whether people have difficulties in understanding such information and whether these difficulties are related to numerical competence, reflective thinking, [...] Read more.
Media news during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic often entail complex numerical concepts such as exponential increase or reproduction number. This study investigated whether people have difficulties in understanding such information and whether these difficulties are related to numerical competence, reflective thinking, and risk proneness. One hundred sixty-three participants provided answers to a numeracy scale focusing on complex numerical concepts relevant to COVID-19 (COV Numeracy Scale). They also provided responses to well-established objective and subjective scales, questions about affective states, and questions about the COVID-19 pandemic. Higher scores on the COV Numeracy Scale correlated with higher scores on the Health Numeracy Scale, in the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT), and in self-assessments of verbal comprehension, mathematical intelligence, and subjective numeracy. Interestingly, scores on the COV Numeracy Scale also positively correlated with the number of consulted information sources about COVID-19. Accuracy in the CRT emerged as a significant predictor, explaining ca. 14% of variance on the COV Numeracy Scale. The results suggest that people with lower reflective thinking skills and lower subjective and objective numerical competence can be more at disadvantage when confronted with COVID-related numerical information in everyday life. These findings advise caution in the communication of relevant public health information that entails complex numerical concepts. Full article
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Article
Sleep Abnormalities in the Synaptopathies—SYNGAP1-Related Intellectual Disability and Phelan–McDermid Syndrome
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1229; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091229 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 748
Abstract
Neurodevelopmental disorders are frequently associated with sleep disturbances. One class of neurodevelopmental disorders, the genetic synaptopathies, is caused by mutations in genes encoding proteins found at the synapse. Mutations in these genes cause derangement of synapse development and function. We utilized a validated [...] Read more.
Neurodevelopmental disorders are frequently associated with sleep disturbances. One class of neurodevelopmental disorders, the genetic synaptopathies, is caused by mutations in genes encoding proteins found at the synapse. Mutations in these genes cause derangement of synapse development and function. We utilized a validated sleep instrument, Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ) to examine the nature of sleep abnormalities occurring in individuals with two synaptopathies—Phelan–McDermid syndrome (PMD) (N = 47, male = 23, female = 24, age 1–46 years) and SYNGAP1-related intellectual disability (SYNGAP1-ID) (N = 64, male = 31, female = 33, age 1–64 years), when compared with unaffected siblings (N = 61, male = 25, female = 36, age 1–17 years). We found that both PMD and SYNGAP1-ID have significant sleep abnormalities with SYNGAP1-ID having greater severity of sleep disturbance than PMD. In addition, sleep disturbances were more severe for PMD in individuals 11 years and older compared with those less than 11 years old. Individuals with either disorder were more likely to use sleep aids than unaffected siblings. In conclusion, sleep disturbances are a significant phenotype in the synaptopathies PMD and SYNGAP1-ID. Improved sleep is a viable endpoint for future clinical trials for these neurodevelopmental disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuro-Developmental Disorders: Bench-to-Bedside)
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Article
Altered Effective Connectivity within an Oculomotor Control Network in Unaffected Relatives of Individuals with Schizophrenia
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1228; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091228 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 447
Abstract
The ability to rapidly stop or change a planned action is a critical cognitive process that is impaired in schizophrenia. The current study aimed to examine whether this impairment reflects familial vulnerability to schizophrenia across two experiments comparing unaffected first-degree relatives to healthy [...] Read more.
The ability to rapidly stop or change a planned action is a critical cognitive process that is impaired in schizophrenia. The current study aimed to examine whether this impairment reflects familial vulnerability to schizophrenia across two experiments comparing unaffected first-degree relatives to healthy controls. First, we examined performance on a saccadic stop-signal task that required rapid inhibition of an eye movement. Then, in a different sample, we investigated behavioral and neural responses (using fMRI) during a stop-signal task variant that required rapid modification of a prepared eye movement. Here, we examined differences between relatives and healthy controls in terms of activation and effective connectivity within an oculomotor control network during task performance. Like individuals with schizophrenia, the unaffected relatives showed behavioral evidence for more inefficient inhibitory processes. Unlike previous findings in individuals with schizophrenia, however, the relatives showed evidence for a compensatory waiting strategy. Behavioral differences were accompanied by more activation among the relatives in task-relevant regions across conditions and group differences in effective connectivity across the task that were modulated differently by the instruction to exert control over a planned saccade. Effective connectivity parameters were related to behavioral measures of inhibition efficiency. The results suggest that individuals at familial risk for schizophrenia were engaging an oculomotor control network differently than controls and in a way that compromises inhibition efficiency. Full article
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Article
Effects of Oxytocin on Social Comparisons in Intergroup Situations
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1227; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091227 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 654
Abstract
Oxytocin (OXT) is known to affect various social processes, including social comparisons and intergroup competition. In this study, we examined whether social comparisons in intergroup situations can be modulated by OXT and, if so, how this modulation manifests. Using a double-blind placebo-controlled design, [...] Read more.
Oxytocin (OXT) is known to affect various social processes, including social comparisons and intergroup competition. In this study, we examined whether social comparisons in intergroup situations can be modulated by OXT and, if so, how this modulation manifests. Using a double-blind placebo-controlled design, we randomly assigned male participants to either OXT or placebo treatment and then asked them to play a card game with either an in-group or an out-group member. The OXT-treated participants showed a greater social comparison effect in the games with an out-group member than in games with an in-group member. Specifically, the participants in the OXT treatment condition showed a greater acceptance rate for relative gain (downward comparison) and a lower acceptance rate for relative loss (upward comparison) while playing with an out-group member rather than an in-group member. In contrast, no such effect was observed among placebo-treated participants. These findings demonstrate that OXT facilitates intergroup social comparisons with out-group versus in-group members. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hypothalamus, Neuropeptides and Socioemotional Behavior)
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Review
A Lifespan Development Theory of Insecure Attachment and Internalizing Symptoms: Integrating Meta-Analytic Evidence via a Testable Evolutionary Mis/Match Hypothesis
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1226; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091226 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 786
Abstract
Attachment scholars have long argued that insecure attachment patterns are associated with vulnerability to internalizing symptoms, such as depression and anxiety symptoms. However, accumulating evidence from the past four decades, summarized in four large meta-analyses evaluating the link between insecure attachment subtypes and [...] Read more.
Attachment scholars have long argued that insecure attachment patterns are associated with vulnerability to internalizing symptoms, such as depression and anxiety symptoms. However, accumulating evidence from the past four decades, summarized in four large meta-analyses evaluating the link between insecure attachment subtypes and internalizing symptoms, provide divergent evidence for this claim. This divergent evidence may be accounted for, at least in part, by the developmental period under examination. Specifically, children with histories of deactivating (i.e., insecure/avoidant) but not hyperactivating (i.e., insecure/resistant) attachment patterns in infancy and early childhood showed elevated internalizing symptoms. In contrast, adolescents and adults with hyperactivating (i.e., insecure/preoccupied) but not deactivating (i.e., insecure/dismissing) attachment classifications showed elevated internalizing symptoms. In this paper, we summarize findings from four large meta-analyses and highlight the divergent meta-analytic findings that emerge across different developmental periods. We first present several potential methodological issues that may have contributed to these divergent findings. Then, we leverage clinical, developmental, and evolutionary perspectives to propose a testable lifespan development theory of attachment and internalizing symptoms that integrates findings across meta-analyses. According to this theory, subtypes of insecure attachment patterns may be differentially linked to internalizing symptoms depending on their mis/match with the developmentally appropriate orientation tendency toward caregivers (in childhood) or away from them (i.e., toward greater independence in post-childhood). Lastly, we offer future research directions to test this theory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Attachment and Developmental Psychopathology)
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Article
Olfaction-Related Factors Affecting Chemosensory Dream Content in a Sleep Laboratory
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1225; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091225 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 663
Abstract
Mental activity in sleep often involves visual and auditory content. Chemosensory (olfactory and gustatory) experiences are less common and underexplored. The aim of the study was to identify olfaction-related factors that may affect the occurrence of chemosensory dream content. Specifically, we investigated the [...] Read more.
Mental activity in sleep often involves visual and auditory content. Chemosensory (olfactory and gustatory) experiences are less common and underexplored. The aim of the study was to identify olfaction-related factors that may affect the occurrence of chemosensory dream content. Specifically, we investigated the effects of all-night exposure to an ambient odour, participants’ appraisal of their current olfactory environment, their general propensity to notice odours and act on them (i.e., odour awareness), and their olfactory acuity. Sixty pre-screened healthy young adults underwent olfactory assessment, completed a measure of odour awareness, and spent three nights in weekly intervals in a sleep laboratory. The purpose of the first visit was to adapt to the experimental setting. On the second visit, half of them were exposed to the smell of vanillin or thioglycolic acid and the other half to an odourless control condition. On the third visit, they received control or stimulation in a balanced order. On each visit, data were collected twice: once from the first rapid eye movement (REM) stage that occurred after 3 a.m., and then shortly before getting up, usually from a non-REM stage. Participants were asked to report the presence of sensory dream content and to assess their current olfactory environment. Neither exposure, nor participants’ assessments of the ambient odour, or olfactory acuity affected reports of chemosensory dream content but they were more frequent in individuals with greater odour awareness. This finding may have implications for treatment when such experiences become unwanted or bothersome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Human Olfactory Perception)
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Brief Report
Neuronal Dynamics of Pain in Parkinson’s Disease
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1224; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091224 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 672
Abstract
Pain is an important non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD). It negatively impacts the quality of life. However, the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying pain in PD remain to be elucidated. This study sought to use electroencephalographic (EEG) coherence analysis to compare neuronal synchronization in [...] Read more.
Pain is an important non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD). It negatively impacts the quality of life. However, the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying pain in PD remain to be elucidated. This study sought to use electroencephalographic (EEG) coherence analysis to compare neuronal synchronization in neuronal networks between patients with PD, with and without pain. Twenty-four patients with sporadic PD were evaluated for the presence of pain. Time-frequency and coherence analyses were performed on their EEG data. Whole-brain and regional coherence were calculated and compared between pain-positive and pain-negative patients. There was no significant difference in the whole-brain coherence between the pain-positive and pain-negative groups. However, temporal–temporal coherence differed significantly between the two groups (p = 0.031). Our findings indicate that aberrant synchronization of inter-temporal regions is involved in PD-related pain. This will further our understanding of the mechanisms underlying pain in PD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Behavioral Neuroscience)
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Article
Association between Hypothyroidism Onset and Alzheimer Disease Onset in Adults with Down Syndrome
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(9), 1223; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11091223 - 16 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 534
Abstract
Adults with Down syndrome (DS) have an exceptionally high frequency of Alzheimer disease (AD) with a wide variability in onset, from 40 to 70 years of age. Equally prevalent in DS is hypothyroidism. In this study, we sought to quantify the relationship between [...] Read more.
Adults with Down syndrome (DS) have an exceptionally high frequency of Alzheimer disease (AD) with a wide variability in onset, from 40 to 70 years of age. Equally prevalent in DS is hypothyroidism. In this study, we sought to quantify the relationship between the two. A total of 232 adults with DS and AD were stratified into three AD onset age groups: early (<47 years), typical (48–59), and late (>59). Among patients with available data, differences in the distributions of demographics, hypothyroidism variables (presence, age of onset), thyroid function tests, thyroid autoantibodies, and APOE genotypes were assessed (e.g., chi-squared, Mann–Whitney tests). Spearman and partial Spearman correlations and ordinal logistic regression models were constructed to quantify the association between ages of AD and hypothyroidism onset with and without covariate adjustments. We observed a positive association between the ages of AD and hypothyroidism onset after accounting for APOE-Ɛ4 (correlation: 0.44, 0.24, 0.60; odds ratio: 1.09, 1.05–1.14). However, an early age of hypothyroidism onset and the presence of the APOE-Ɛ4 allele were independently associated with the early age of AD onset. Similar findings were observed when accounting for other factors. Our study provides evidence for the importance of hypothyroidism and associated pathological mechanisms for risk of AD in DS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Down Syndrome: Neuropsychological Phenotype across the Lifespan)
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