Open AccessArticle
Emotion Recognition in Adolescents with Down Syndrome: A Nonverbal Approach
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(6), 55; doi:10.3390/brainsci7060055 -
Abstract
Several studies have reported that persons with Down syndrome (DS) have difficulties recognizing emotions; however, there is insufficient research to prove that a deficit of emotional knowledge exists in DS. The aim of this study was to evaluate the recognition of emotional facial
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Several studies have reported that persons with Down syndrome (DS) have difficulties recognizing emotions; however, there is insufficient research to prove that a deficit of emotional knowledge exists in DS. The aim of this study was to evaluate the recognition of emotional facial expressions without making use of emotional vocabulary, given the language problems known to be associated with this syndrome. The ability to recognize six emotions was assessed in 24 adolescents with DS. Their performance was compared to that of 24 typically developing children with the same nonverbal-developmental age, as assessed by Raven’s Progressive Matrices. Analysis of the results revealed no global difference; only marginal differences in the recognition of different emotions appeared. Study of the developmental trajectories revealed a developmental difference: the nonverbal reasoning level assessed by Raven’s matrices did not predict success on the experimental tasks in the DS group, contrary to the typically developing group. These results do not corroborate the hypothesis that there is an emotional knowledge deficit in DS and emphasize the importance of using dynamic, strictly nonverbal tasks in populations with language disorders. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
How Does Psychosocial Behavior Contribute to Cognitive Health in Old Age?
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(6), 56; doi:10.3390/brainsci7060056 -
Abstract
With the aging of the U.S. population, the number of cognitively disabled persons is expected to substantially increase in coming decades, underscoring the urgent need for effective interventions. Here, we review the current evidence linking psychosocial factors to late-life cognitive loss and consider
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With the aging of the U.S. population, the number of cognitively disabled persons is expected to substantially increase in coming decades, underscoring the urgent need for effective interventions. Here, we review the current evidence linking psychosocial factors to late-life cognitive loss and consider the study design needed to illuminate the biologic bases of the associations. We then examine an ongoing study that includes several of the key design elements, the Rush Memory and Aging Project. In this longitudinal clinical-pathological cohort study, indicators of personality, social connectedness, and psychological well-being were shown to predict late-life cognitive outcomes. Participants who died underwent a uniform neuropathologic examination to quantify common dementia-related pathologies. Some psychosocial indicators were associated with cerebral infarction; some indicators modified the association of neurodegenerative pathologies with cognitive loss; and the association of some indicators with cognitive outcomes appears to be independent of the pathologies traditionally associated with late-life dementia. These findings suggest that psychosocial behavior influences late-life cognitive health through multiple neurobiologic mechanisms. A better understanding of these mechanisms may lead to novel strategies for preserving cognitive health in old age. Full article
Open AccessReview
Neuronal Migration and AUTS2 Syndrome
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(5), 54; doi:10.3390/brainsci7050054 -
Abstract
Neuronal migration is one of the pivotal steps to form a functional brain, and disorganization of this process is believed to underlie the pathology of psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and epilepsy. However, it is not clear how abnormal neuronal
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Neuronal migration is one of the pivotal steps to form a functional brain, and disorganization of this process is believed to underlie the pathology of psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and epilepsy. However, it is not clear how abnormal neuronal migration causes mental dysfunction. Recently, a key gene for various psychiatric diseases, the Autism susceptibility candidate 2 (AUTS2), has been shown to regulate neuronal migration, which gives new insight into understanding this question. Interestingly, the AUTS2 protein has dual functions: Cytoplasmic AUTS2 regulates actin cytoskeleton to control neuronal migration and neurite extension, while nuclear AUTS2 controls transcription of various genes as a component of the polycomb complex 1 (PRC1). In this review, we discuss AUTS2 from the viewpoint of human genetics, molecular function, brain development, and behavior in animal models, focusing on its role in neuronal migration. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Genetic and Molecular Approaches to Study Neuronal Migration in the Developing Cerebral Cortex
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(5), 53; doi:10.3390/brainsci7050053 -
Abstract
The migration of neuronal cells in the developing cerebral cortex is essential for proper development of the brain and brain networks. Disturbances in this process, due to genetic abnormalities or exogenous factors, leads to aberrant brain formation, brain network formation, and brain function.
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The migration of neuronal cells in the developing cerebral cortex is essential for proper development of the brain and brain networks. Disturbances in this process, due to genetic abnormalities or exogenous factors, leads to aberrant brain formation, brain network formation, and brain function. In the last decade, there has been extensive research in the field of neuronal migration. In this review, we describe different methods and approaches to assess and study neuronal migration in the developing cerebral cortex. First, we discuss several genetic methods, techniques and genetic models that have been used to study neuronal migration in the developing cortex. Second, we describe several molecular approaches to study aberrant neuronal migration in the cortex which can be used to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of neuronal migration. Finally, we describe model systems to investigate and assess the potential toxicity effect of prenatal exposure to environmental chemicals on proper brain formation and neuronal migration. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Pilot Study on Brain Plasticity of Functional Connectivity Modulated by Cognitive Training in Mild Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(5), 50; doi:10.3390/brainsci7050050 -
Abstract
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) alters the functional connectivity of the default mode network (DMN) but also the topological properties of the functional connectome. Cognitive training (CT) is a tool to slow down AD progression and is likely to impact on functional connectivity. In this
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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) alters the functional connectivity of the default mode network (DMN) but also the topological properties of the functional connectome. Cognitive training (CT) is a tool to slow down AD progression and is likely to impact on functional connectivity. In this pilot study, we aimed at investigating brain functional changes after a period of CT and active control (AC) in a group of 26 subjects with mild AD (mAD), 26 with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), and a control group of 29 healthy elderly (HE) people. They all underwent a CT and AC in a counterbalanced order following a crossover design. Resting-state functional MRI and neuropsychological testing were acquired before and after each period. We tested post-CT and post-AC changes of cognitive abilities, of the functional connectivity of the DMN, and of topological network properties derived from graph theory and network-based statistics. Only CT produced functional changes, increasing the functional connectivity of the posterior DMN in all three groups. mAD also showed functional changes in the medial temporal lobe and topological changes in the anterior cingulum, whereas aMCI showed more widespread topological changes involving the frontal lobes, the cerebellum and the thalamus. Our results suggest specific functional connectivity changes after CT for aMCI and mAD. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
In Search of Sleep Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease: K-Complexes Do Not Discriminate between Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Healthy Controls
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(5), 51; doi:10.3390/brainsci7050051 -
Abstract
The K-complex (KC) is one of the hallmarks of Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep. Recent observations point to a drastic decrease of spontaneous KCs in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, no study has investigated when, in the development of AD, this phenomenon starts. The
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The K-complex (KC) is one of the hallmarks of Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep. Recent observations point to a drastic decrease of spontaneous KCs in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, no study has investigated when, in the development of AD, this phenomenon starts. The assessment of KC density in mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a clinical condition considered a possible transitional stage between normal cognitive function and probable AD, is still lacking. The aim of the present study was to compare KC density in AD/MCI patients and healthy controls (HCs), also assessing the relationship between KC density and cognitive decline. Twenty amnesic MCI patients underwent a polysomnographic recording of a nocturnal sleep. Their data were compared to those of previously recorded 20 HCs and 20 AD patients. KCs during stage 2 NREM sleep were visually identified and KC densities of the three groups were compared. AD patients showed a significant KC density decrease compared with MCI patients and HCs, while no differences were observed between MCI patients and HCs. KC density was positively correlated with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores. Our results point to the existence of an alteration of KC density only in a full-blown phase of AD, which was not observable in the early stage of the pathology (MCI), but linked with cognitive deterioration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Verbs in Mothers’ Input to Six-Month-Olds: Synchrony between Presentation, Meaning, and Actions Is Related to Later Verb Acquisition
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(5), 52; doi:10.3390/brainsci7050052 -
Abstract
In embodied theories on language, it is widely accepted that experience in acting generates an expectation of this action when hearing the word for it. However, how this expectation emerges during language acquisition is still not well understood. Assuming that the intermodal presentation
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In embodied theories on language, it is widely accepted that experience in acting generates an expectation of this action when hearing the word for it. However, how this expectation emerges during language acquisition is still not well understood. Assuming that the intermodal presentation of information facilitates perception, prior research had suggested that early in infancy, mothers perform their actions in temporal synchrony with language. Further research revealed that this synchrony is a form of multimodal responsive behavior related to the child’s later language development. Expanding on these findings, this article explores the relationship between action–language synchrony and the acquisition of verbs. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, we analyzed the coordination of verbs and action in mothers’ input to six-month-old infants and related these maternal strategies to the infants’ later production of verbs. We found that the verbs used by mothers in these early interactions were tightly coordinated with the ongoing action and very frequently responsive to infant actions. It is concluded that use of these multimodal strategies could significantly predict the number of spoken verbs in infants’ vocabulary at 24 months. Full article
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Open AccessReview
In Vitro, Ex Vivo and In Vivo Techniques to Study Neuronal Migration in the Developing Cerebral Cortex
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(5), 48; doi:10.3390/brainsci7050048 -
Abstract
Neuronal migration is a fundamental biological process that underlies proper brain development and neuronal circuit formation. In the developing cerebral cortex, distinct neuronal populations, producing excitatory, inhibitory and modulatory neurotransmitters, are generated in different germinative areas and migrate along various routes to reach
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Neuronal migration is a fundamental biological process that underlies proper brain development and neuronal circuit formation. In the developing cerebral cortex, distinct neuronal populations, producing excitatory, inhibitory and modulatory neurotransmitters, are generated in different germinative areas and migrate along various routes to reach their final positions within the cortex. Different technical approaches and experimental models have been adopted to study the mechanisms regulating neuronal migration in the cortex. In this review, we will discuss the most common in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo techniques to visualize and study cortical neuronal migration. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Working Memory in the Prefrontal Cortex
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(5), 49; doi:10.3390/brainsci7050049 -
Abstract
The prefrontal cortex participates in a variety of higher cognitive functions. The concept of working memory is now widely used to understand prefrontal functions. Neurophysiological studies have revealed that stimulus-selective delay-period activity is a neural correlate of the mechanism for temporarily maintaining information
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The prefrontal cortex participates in a variety of higher cognitive functions. The concept of working memory is now widely used to understand prefrontal functions. Neurophysiological studies have revealed that stimulus-selective delay-period activity is a neural correlate of the mechanism for temporarily maintaining information in working memory processes. The central executive, which is the master component of Baddeley’s working memory model and is thought to be a function of the prefrontal cortex, controls the performance of other components by allocating a limited capacity of memory resource to each component based on its demand. Recent neurophysiological studies have attempted to reveal how prefrontal neurons achieve the functions of the central executive. For example, the neural mechanisms of memory control have been examined using the interference effect in a dual-task paradigm. It has been shown that this interference effect is caused by the competitive and overloaded recruitment of overlapping neural populations in the prefrontal cortex by two concurrent tasks and that the information-processing capacity of a single neuron is limited to a fixed level, can be flexibly allocated or reallocated between two concurrent tasks based on their needs, and enhances behavioral performance when its allocation to one task is increased. Further, a metamemory task requiring spatial information has been used to understand the neural mechanism for monitoring its own operations, and it has been shown that monitoring the quality of spatial information represented by prefrontal activity is an important factor in the subject's choice and that the strength of spatially selective delay-period activity reflects confidence in decision-making. Although further studies are needed to elucidate how the prefrontal cortex controls memory resource and supervises other systems, some important mechanisms related to the central executive have been identified. Full article
Open AccessCase Report
Significant Tic Reduction in An Otherwise Treatment-Resistant Patient with Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome Following Treatment with Nabiximols
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(5), 47; doi:10.3390/brainsci7050047 -
Abstract
Early anecdotal reports and preliminary studies suggested that cannabinoid-based medicines such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are effective in the treatment of Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (TS). We report a single case study of a patient with otherwise treatment-resistant TS successfully treated with nabiximols.
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Early anecdotal reports and preliminary studies suggested that cannabinoid-based medicines such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are effective in the treatment of Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (TS). We report a single case study of a patient with otherwise treatment-resistant TS successfully treated with nabiximols. Our patient was a 22-year-old male suffering from severe and complex TS. Treatment with nabiximols was commenced at a dose of 1 puff/day (= 100 μL containing 2.7 mg THC and 2.5 mg cannabidiol (CBD)) and slowly increased up to a dosage of 3 × 3 puffs/day (= 24.3 mg THC and 22.5 mg CBD). Several clinical measures for tics, premonitory urges, and global impairment were acquired before and after two weeks of treatment. Treatment with nabiximols resulted in major improvements of both tics and premonitory urges, but also global impairment and health-related quality of life according to all used measurements without causing relevant adverse effects. Our results provide further evidence that treatment with nabiximols may be effective in the treatment of patients with TS. Given the positive response exhibited by the patient highlighted in this report, further investigation of the effects of nabiximols is proposed on a larger group of patients in a clinical trial setting. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Systematic Review of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder in Psychosis
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(5), 45; doi:10.3390/brainsci7050045 -
Abstract
Background: Social anxiety is highly prevalent among people with psychosis and linked with significant social disability and poorer prognosis. Although cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) has shown to be effective for the treatment of social anxiety in non-psychotic populations, there is a lack of evidence
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Background: Social anxiety is highly prevalent among people with psychosis and linked with significant social disability and poorer prognosis. Although cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) has shown to be effective for the treatment of social anxiety in non-psychotic populations, there is a lack of evidence on the clinical effectiveness of CBT for the treatment of social anxiety when this is co-morbid in psychosis. Methods: A systematic review to summarise and critically appraise the literature on the effectiveness of CBT interventions for the treatment of social anxiety in psychosis. Results: Two studies were included in the review assessing the effectiveness of group CBT for social anxiety in schizophrenia, both of poor methodological quality. Preliminary findings suggest that group-based CBT is effective in treating symptoms of social anxiety, depression and associated distress in people with schizophrenia. Conclusion: The evidence-base is not robust enough to provide clear implications for practice about the effectiveness of CBT for the treatment of social anxiety in psychosis. Future research should focus on methodologically rigorous randomised controlled trials with embedded process evaluation to assess the effectiveness of CBT interventions in targeting symptoms of social anxiety in psychosis and identify mechanisms of change. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Neurobehavioral Outcomes of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Mini Review
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(5), 46; doi:10.3390/brainsci7050046 -
Abstract
Traumatic brain injury outcomes can be classified as acute or chronic. Acute outcomes refer to injuries that occur immediately at the time of the injury and subsequent short-term consequences. Chronic outcomes refer to adverse outcomes that are more long-term. In mild traumatic brain
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Traumatic brain injury outcomes can be classified as acute or chronic. Acute outcomes refer to injuries that occur immediately at the time of the injury and subsequent short-term consequences. Chronic outcomes refer to adverse outcomes that are more long-term. In mild traumatic brain injury, recovery from acute outcomes typically occurs very rapidly, i.e., within 2 weeks, with full recovery expected by 90 days. However, some 10%–15% individuals can remain symptomatic for much longer with an outcome termed post-concussive syndrome. This outcome is difficult to predict since there are very few rigorous, prospective studies of this syndrome. Full article
Open AccessReview
A Comprehensive Diverse ‘-omics’ Approach to Better Understanding the Molecular Pathomechanisms of Down Syndrome
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(4), 44; doi:10.3390/brainsci7040044 -
Abstract
Diverse ‘-omics’ technologies permit the comprehensive quantitative profiling of a variety of biological molecules. Comparative ‘-omics’ analyses, such as transcriptomics and proteomics, are powerful and useful tools for unraveling the molecular pathomechanisms of various diseases. As enhanced oxidative stress has been demonstrated in
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Diverse ‘-omics’ technologies permit the comprehensive quantitative profiling of a variety of biological molecules. Comparative ‘-omics’ analyses, such as transcriptomics and proteomics, are powerful and useful tools for unraveling the molecular pathomechanisms of various diseases. As enhanced oxidative stress has been demonstrated in humans and mice with Down syndrome (DS), a redox proteomic analysis is useful for understanding how enhanced oxidative stress aggravates the state of individuals with oxidative stress-related disorders. In this review, ‘-omics’ analyses in humans with DS and mouse models of DS are summarized, and the molecular dissection of this syndrome is discussed. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Integrating Spatial Working Memory and Remote Memory: Interactions between the Medial Prefrontal Cortex and Hippocampus
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(4), 43; doi:10.3390/brainsci7040043 -
Abstract
In recent years, two separate research streams have focused on information sharing between the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and hippocampus (HC). Research into spatial working memory has shown that successful execution of many types of behaviors requires synchronous activity in the theta range
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In recent years, two separate research streams have focused on information sharing between the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and hippocampus (HC). Research into spatial working memory has shown that successful execution of many types of behaviors requires synchronous activity in the theta range between the mPFC and HC, whereas studies of memory consolidation have shown that shifts in area dependency may be temporally modulated. While the nature of information that is being communicated is still unclear, spatial working memory and remote memory recall is reliant on interactions between these two areas. This review will present recent evidence that shows that these two processes are not as separate as they first appeared. We will also present a novel conceptualization of the nature of the medial prefrontal representation and how this might help explain this area’s role in spatial working memory and remote memory recall. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Virtual Reality for Research in Social Neuroscience
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(4), 42; doi:10.3390/brainsci7040042 -
Abstract
The emergence of social neuroscience has significantly advanced our understanding of the relationship that exists between social processes and their neurobiological underpinnings. Social neuroscience research often involves the use of simple and static stimuli lacking many of the potentially important aspects of real
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The emergence of social neuroscience has significantly advanced our understanding of the relationship that exists between social processes and their neurobiological underpinnings. Social neuroscience research often involves the use of simple and static stimuli lacking many of the potentially important aspects of real world activities and social interactions. Whilst this research has merit, there is a growing interest in the presentation of dynamic stimuli in a manner that allows researchers to assess the integrative processes carried out by perceivers over time. Herein, we discuss the potential of virtual reality for enhancing ecological validity while maintaining experimental control in social neuroscience research. Virtual reality is a technology that allows for the creation of fully interactive, three-dimensional computerized models of social situations that can be fully controlled by the experimenter. Furthermore, the introduction of interactive virtual characters—either driven by a human or by a computer—allows the researcher to test, in a systematic and independent manner, the effects of various social cues. We first introduce key technical features and concepts related to virtual reality. Next, we discuss the potential of this technology for enhancing social neuroscience protocols, drawing on illustrative experiments from the literature. Full article
Open AccessArticle
How Hyperarousal and Sleep Reactivity Are Represented in Different Adult Age Groups: Results from a Large Cohort Study on Insomnia
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(4), 41; doi:10.3390/brainsci7040041 -
Abstract
Hyperarousal is a 24-h state of elevated cognitive and physiological activation, and is a core feature of insomnia. The extent to which sleep quality is affected by stressful events—so-called sleep reactivity—is a vulnerability factor for developing insomnia. Given the increasing prevalence of insomnia
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Hyperarousal is a 24-h state of elevated cognitive and physiological activation, and is a core feature of insomnia. The extent to which sleep quality is affected by stressful events—so-called sleep reactivity—is a vulnerability factor for developing insomnia. Given the increasing prevalence of insomnia with age, we aimed to investigate how hyperarousal and sleep reactivity were related to insomnia severity in different adult age groups. Data were derived from a large cohort study investigating the natural history of insomnia in a population-based sample (n = 1693). Baseline data of the Arousal Predisposition Scale (APS) and Ford Insomnia Response to Stress Test (FIRST) were examined across age and sleep/insomnia subgroups: 25–35 (n = 448), 35–45 (n = 528), and 45–55 year olds (n = 717); good sleepers (n = 931), individuals with insomnia symptoms (n = 450), and individuals with an insomnia syndrome (n = 312). Results from factorial analyses of variance (ANOVA) showed that APS scores decreased with increasing age, but increased with more severe sleep problems. FIRST scores were not significantly different across age groups, but showed the same strong increase as a function of sleep problem severity. The findings indicate that though arousal predisposition and sleep reactivity increase with more severe sleep problems, only arousal decreases with age. How arousing events affect an individual during daytime thus decreases with age, but how this arousal disrupts sleep is equivalent across different adult age groups. The main implication of these findings is that treatment of insomnia could be adapted for different age groups and take into consideration vulnerability factors such as hyperarousal and stress reactivity. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Is Decompressive Surgery for Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy Effective in Patients Suffering from Concomitant Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease?
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(4), 39; doi:10.3390/brainsci7040039 -
Abstract
A subset of patients with a demyelinating disease suffer from concurrent cervical spondylotic myelopathy, both of which evince similar symptomatology. Differentiating the cause of these symptoms is challenging, and little research has been done on patients with coexisting diseases. This review explores the
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A subset of patients with a demyelinating disease suffer from concurrent cervical spondylotic myelopathy, both of which evince similar symptomatology. Differentiating the cause of these symptoms is challenging, and little research has been done on patients with coexisting diseases. This review explores the current literature on the appropriate surgical management of patients with concurrent multiple sclerosis (MS) and cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM), and those with both Parkinson’s disease (PD) and CSM. MS and CSM patients may benefit from surgery to reduce pain and radiculopathy. Surgical management in PD and CSM patients has shown minimal quality-of-life improvement. Future studies are needed to better characterize demyelinating disease patients with concurrent disease and to determine ideal medical or surgical treatment. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Hippocampal Neuronal Loss in Infant Macaques Orally Infected with Virulent Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV)
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(4), 40; doi:10.3390/brainsci7040040 -
Abstract
The neurological impact of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) on children includes loss of brain growth, motor abnormalities and cognitive dysfunction. Despite early antiretroviral treatment (ART) intervention to suppress viral load, neurological consequences of perinatal HIV-1 infection persist. Utilizing the pediatric simian immunodeficiency virus
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The neurological impact of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) on children includes loss of brain growth, motor abnormalities and cognitive dysfunction. Despite early antiretroviral treatment (ART) intervention to suppress viral load, neurological consequences of perinatal HIV-1 infection persist. Utilizing the pediatric simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection model, we tested the hypothesis that early-life SIV infection depletes neuronal population in the hippocampus. A total of 22 ART-naïve infant rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) from previous studies were retrospectively analyzed. Infant macaques were either intravenously (IV) inoculated with highly virulent SIVmac251 at ~1 week of age and monitored for 6–10 weeks, or orally challenged with SIVmac251 from week 9 of age onwards with a monitoring period of 10–23 weeks post-infection (19–34 weeks of age), and SIV-uninfected controls were euthanized at 16–17 weeks of age. We have previously reported that the IV SIVmac251-infected neonatal macaques (Group 1) displayed a 42% neuronal reduction throughout the hippocampal cornu ammonis (CA) fields. The orally-infected infant macaques displayed a 75% neuronal reduction in the CA1 region compared to controls and 54% fewer neurons than IV SIV infants. The CA2 region showed a similar pattern, with a 67% reduction between orally-infected SIV subjects and controls and a 40% difference between IV-and orally-infected SIV groups. In the CA3 region, there were no significant differences between these groups, however both SIV-infected groups had significantly fewer pyramidal neurons than control subjects. There was no correlation between plasma viral load and neuronal populations in any of the CA fields. The loss of hippocampal neurons may contribute to the rapid neurocognitive decline associated with pediatric HIV infection. While each subfield showed vulnerability to SIV infection, the CA1 and CA2 subregions demonstrated a potentially enhanced vulnerability to pediatric SIV infection. These data underscore the need for early diagnosis and treatment, including therapeutics targeting the central nervous system (CNS). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Seed Location Impacts Whole-Brain Structural Network Comparisons between Healthy Elderly and Individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(4), 37; doi:10.3390/brainsci7040037 -
Abstract
Whole-brain networks derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data require the identification of seed and target regions of interest (ROIs) to assess connectivity patterns. This study investigated how initiating tracts from gray matter (GM) or white matter (WM) seed ROIs impacts (1) structural
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Whole-brain networks derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data require the identification of seed and target regions of interest (ROIs) to assess connectivity patterns. This study investigated how initiating tracts from gray matter (GM) or white matter (WM) seed ROIs impacts (1) structural networks constructed from DTI data from healthy elderly (control) and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and (2) between-group comparisons using these networks. DTI datasets were obtained from the Alzheimer’s disease Neuroimaging Initiative database. Deterministic tractography was used to build two whole-brain networks for each subject; one in which tracts were initiated from WM ROIs and another in which they were initiated from GM ROIs. With respect to the first goal, in both groups, WM-seeded networks had approximately 400 more connections and stronger connections (as measured by number of streamlines per connection) than GM-seeded networks, but shared 94% of the connections found in the GM-seed networks. With respect to the second goal, between-group comparisons revealed a stronger subnetwork (as measured by number of streamlines per connection) in controls compared to AD using both WM-seeded and GM-seeded networks. The comparison using WM-seeded networks produced a larger (i.e., a greater number of connections) and more significant subnetwork in controls versus AD. Global, local, and nodal efficiency were greater in controls compared to AD, and between-group comparisons of these measures using WM-seeded networks had larger effect sizes than those using GM-seeded networks. These findings affirm that seed location significantly affects the ability to detect between-group differences in structural networks. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Role of HIV Infection in Neurologic Injury
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(4), 38; doi:10.3390/brainsci7040038 -
Abstract
The central nervous system (CNS) is a very challenging HIV-1 sanctuary, in which HIV-1 replication is established early on during acute infection and can persist despite potent antiretroviral treatments. HIV-1 infected macrophages play a pivotal role acting as vehicles for HIV-1 to spread
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The central nervous system (CNS) is a very challenging HIV-1 sanctuary, in which HIV-1 replication is established early on during acute infection and can persist despite potent antiretroviral treatments. HIV-1 infected macrophages play a pivotal role acting as vehicles for HIV-1 to spread into the brain, and can be the major contributor of an early compartmentalization. HIV-1 infection in CNS may lead to a broad spectrum of neurological syndromes, such as dementia, mild neurocognitive disorders, and asymptomatic impairment. These clinical manifestations are caused by the release of neurotoxins from infected cells (mainly macrophages), and also by several HIV-1 proteins, able to activate cell-signaling involved in the control of cellular survival and apoptosis. This review is aimed at highlighting the virological aspects associated with the onset of neurocognitive disorders and at addressing the novel therapeutic approaches to stop HIV-1 replication in this critical sanctuary. Full article
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