Abstract: Absolute pitch (AP) is a form of sound recognition in which musical note names are associated with discrete musical pitch categories. The accuracy of pitch matching by non-AP musicians for chords has recently been shown to depend on stimulus familiarity, pointing to a role of spectral recognition mechanisms in the early stages of pitch processing. Here we show that pitch matching accuracy by AP musicians was also dependent on their familiarity with the chord stimulus. This suggests that the pitch matching abilities of both AP and non-AP musicians for concurrently presented pitches are dependent on initial recognition of the chord. The dual mechanism model of pitch perception previously proposed by the authors suggests that spectral processing associated with sound recognition primes waveform processing to extract stimulus periodicity and refine pitch perception. The findings presented in this paper are consistent with the dual mechanism model of pitch, and in the case of AP musicians, the formation of nominal pitch categories based on both spectral and periodicity information.
Brain Sci.2013, 3(4), 1597-1614; doi:10.3390/brainsci3041597 - published online 26 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The cerebral organization of language in epilepsy patients has been studied with invasive procedures such as Wada testing and electrical cortical stimulation mapping and more recently with noninvasive neuroimaging techniques, such as functional MRI. In the setting of a chronic seizure disorder, clinical variables have been shown to contribute to cerebral language reorganization underscoring the need for language lateralization and localization procedures. We present a 14-year-old pediatric patient with a refractory epilepsy disorder who underwent two neurosurgical resections of a left frontal epileptic focus separated by a year. He was mapped extraoperatively through a subdural grid using cortical stimulation to preserve motor and language functions. The clinical history and extensive workup prior to surgery is discussed as well as the opportunity to compare the cortical maps for language, motor, and sensory function before each resection. Reorganization in cortical tongue sensory areas was seen concomitant with a new zone of ictal and interictal activity in the previous tongue sensory area. Detailed neuropsychological data is presented before and after any surgical intervention to hypothesize about the extent of reorganization between epochs. We conclude that intrahemispheric cortical plasticity does occur following frontal lobe resective surgery in a teenager with medically refractory seizures.
Brain Sci.2013, 3(4), 1588-1596; doi:10.3390/brainsci3041588 - published online 20 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Huntington’s disease (HD), a neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expanded CAG repeat in the huntingtin gene, impairs information processing in the striatum, which, as part of the basal ganglia, modulates motor output. Growing evidence suggests that huntingtin interacting protein 14 (HIP14) contributes to HD neuropathology. Here, we recorded local field potentials (LFPs) in the striatum as HIP14 knockout mice and wild-type controls freely navigated a plus-shaped maze. Upon entering the choice point of the maze, HIP14 knockouts tend to continue in a straight line, turning left or right significantly less often than wild-types, a sign of motor inflexibility that also occurs in HD mice. Striatal LFP activity anticipates this difference. In wild-types, the power spectral density pattern associated with entry into the choice point differs significantly from the pattern immediately before entry, especially at low frequencies (≤13 Hz), whereas HIP14 knockouts show no change in LFP activity as they enter the choice point. The lack of change in striatal activity may explain the turning deficit in the plus maze. Our results suggest that HIP14 plays a critical role in the aberrant behavioral modulation of striatal neuronal activity underlying motor inflexibility, including the motor signs of HD.
Brain Sci.2013, 3(4), 1569-1587; doi:10.3390/brainsci3041569 - published online 18 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Gamma band oscillations in the human brain (around 40 Hz) play a functional role in information processing, and a real-time assessment of gamma band activity could be used to evaluate the functional relevance more directly. Therefore, we developed a source based Brain-Computer-Interface (BCI) with an online detection of gamma band activity in a selective brain region in the visual cortex. The BCI incorporates modules for online detection of various artifacts (including microsaccades) and the artifacts were continuously fed back to the volunteer. We examined the efficiency of the source-based BCI for Neurofeedback training of gamma- and alpha-band (8–12 Hz) oscillations and compared the specificity for the spatial and frequency domain. Our results demonstrated that volunteers learned to selectively switch between modulating alpha- or gamma-band oscillations and benefited from online artifact information. The analyses revealed a high level of accuracy with respect to frequency and topography for the gamma-band modulations. Thus, the developed BCI can be used to manipulate the fast oscillatory activity with a high level of specificity. These selective modulations can be used to assess the relevance of fast neural oscillations for information processing in a more direct way, i.e., by the adaptive presentation of stimuli within well-described brain states.
Brain Sci.2013, 3(4), 1554-1568; doi:10.3390/brainsci3041554 - published online 15 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The potential of Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) to translate brain activity into commands to control external devices during mechanical ventilation (MV) remains largely unexplored. This is surprising since the amount of patients that might benefit from such assistance is considerably larger than the number of patients requiring BCI for motor control. Given the transient nature of MV (i.e., used mainly over night or during acute clinical conditions), precluding the use of invasive methods, and inspired by current research on BCIs, we argue that scalp recorded EEG (electroencephalography) signals can provide a non-invasive direct communication pathway between the brain and the ventilator. In this paper we propose a Patient Ventilator Interface (PVI) to control a ventilator during variable conscious states (i.e., wake, sleep, etc.). After a brief introduction on the neural control of breathing and the clinical conditions requiring the use of MV we discuss the conventional techniques used during MV. The schema of the PVI is presented followed by a description of the neural signals that can be used for the on-line control. To illustrate the full approach, we present data from a healthy subject, where the inspiration and expiration periods during voluntary breathing were discriminated with a 92% accuracy (10-fold cross-validation) from the scalp EEG data. The paper ends with a discussion on the advantages and obstacles that can be forecasted in this novel application of the concept of BCI.
Brain Sci.2013, 3(4), 1483-1553; doi:10.3390/brainsci3041483 - published online 15 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Olfactory hallucinations without subsequent myoclonic activity have not been well characterized or understood. Herein we describe, in a retrospective study, two major forms of olfactory hallucinations labeled phantosmias: one, unirhinal, the other, birhinal. To describe these disorders we performed several procedures to elucidate similarities and differences between these processes. From 1272, patients evaluated for taste and smell dysfunction at The Taste and Smell Clinic, Washington, DC with clinical history, neurological and otolaryngological examinations, evaluations of taste and smell function, EEG and neuroradiological studies 40 exhibited cyclic unirhinal phantosmia (CUP) usually without hyposmia whereas 88 exhibited non-cyclic birhinal phantosmia with associated symptomology (BPAS) with hyposmia. Patients with CUP developed phantosmia spontaneously or after laughing, coughing or shouting initially with spontaneous inhibition and subsequently with Valsalva maneuvers, sleep or nasal water inhalation; they had frequent EEG changes usually ipsilateral sharp waves. Patients with BPAS developed phantosmia secondary to several clinical events usually after hyposmia onset with few EEG changes; their phantosmia could not be initiated or inhibited by any physiological maneuver. CUP is uncommonly encountered and represents a newly defined clinical syndrome. BPAS is commonly encountered, has been observed previously but has not been clearly defined. Mechanisms responsible for phantosmia in each group were related to decreased gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity in specific brain regions. Treatment which activated brain GABA inhibited phantosmia in both groups.