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Brain Sci., Volume 10, Issue 7 (July 2020) – 63 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Sleep plays a major role in the neurocognitive development of children, and cognitive impairment is frequent in pediatric cancer, as well as in children who have survived cancer. Pediatric tumors are also often associated with sleep disorders. However, the relationship between sleep disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders, and pediatric cancer is still largely unexplored. Pediatric cancer can be a cause of neurodevelopmental disorders or occur as a comorbid condition in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. In turn, sleep disorders have a particular role in children with cancer and neurodevelopmental disorders. An in-depth knowledge and correct management of sleep disorders can improve the health and quality of life of children with cancer and of their families. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
Neurophysiological Correlates of a Single Session of Prefrontal tDCS in Patients with Prolonged Disorders of Consciousness: A Pilot Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Study
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070469 - 21 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 949
Abstract
Background. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (lDLPFC) was reported to promote the recovery of signs of consciousness in some patients in a minimally conscious state (MCS), but its electrophysiological effects on brain activity remain poorly understood. Objective. [...] Read more.
Background. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (lDLPFC) was reported to promote the recovery of signs of consciousness in some patients in a minimally conscious state (MCS), but its electrophysiological effects on brain activity remain poorly understood. Objective. We aimed to assess behavioral (using the Coma Recovery Scale—Revised; CRS-R) and neurophysiological effects (using high density electroencephalography; hdEEG) of lDLPFC-tDCS in patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness (DOC). Methods. In a double-blind, sham-controlled, crossover design, one active and one sham tDCS (2 mA, 20 min) were delivered in a randomized order. Directly before and after tDCS, 10 min of hdEEG were recorded and the CRS-R was administered. Results. Thirteen patients with severe brain injury were enrolled in the study. We found higher relative power at the group level after the active tDCS session in the alpha band in central regions and in the theta band over the frontal and posterior regions (uncorrected results). Higher weighted symbolic mutual information (wSMI) connectivity was found between left and right parietal regions, and higher fronto-parietal weighted phase lag index (wPLI) connectivity was found, both in the alpha band (uncorrected results). At the group level, no significant treatment effect was observed. Three patients showed behavioral improvement after the active session and one patient improved after the sham. Conclusion. We provide preliminary indications that neurophysiological changes can be observed after a single session of tDCS in patients with prolonged DOC, although they are not necessarily paralleled with significant behavioral improvements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in the Study of Altered State of Consciousness)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction on Teacher Burnout: A Controlled Trial
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 468; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070468 - 21 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1230
Abstract
Burnout is a well-known phenomenon with significant social, biological and economic costs. In particular, teacher burnout is associated with unfavorable mental health outcomes and economic costs due to reduced hours and teacher turnover. This study investigated the effect of an Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction [...] Read more.
Burnout is a well-known phenomenon with significant social, biological and economic costs. In particular, teacher burnout is associated with unfavorable mental health outcomes and economic costs due to reduced hours and teacher turnover. This study investigated the effect of an Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) cognitive-reframing program on teacher burnout using a quasi-experimental design. Fifty-three teachers participated in a prospective intervention with a passive control group. The intervention group completed a 12-week IBSR program with 4.5 h of weekly engagement. Relative to control, teachers in the intervention group showed greater improvements in emotional exhaustion (18.8 ± 5.2 to 15.9 ± 5.7 vs. 16.0 ± 4.8 to 17.4 ± 4.8; p = 0.01) and personal accomplishment (21.8 ± 5.0 to 24.6 ± 4.3 vs. 21.9 ± 4.5 to 22.8 ± 4.3; p = 0.04). Significant correlations were found between change in emotional exhaustion and negative affect (positive correlation; r = 0.32; p = 0.034) and between personal accomplishment and perceived stress (negative correlation; r = −0.451; p = 0.002). This study demonstrates the potential of IBSR to improve teacher well-being. Future randomized studies are needed to evaluate the causality of IBSR in reducing burnout among teachers and other high-stress workplaces. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Tolerability and Blinding of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in People with Parkinson’s Disease: A Critical Review
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 467; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070467 - 20 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1006
Abstract
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is accompanied by transient sensations (e.g., tingling, itching, burning), which may affect treatment outcomes or break the blinding of the study protocol. Assessing tolerability and blinding is integral to providing ample evidence of a “real effect” from the [...] Read more.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is accompanied by transient sensations (e.g., tingling, itching, burning), which may affect treatment outcomes or break the blinding of the study protocol. Assessing tolerability and blinding is integral to providing ample evidence of a “real effect” from the applied stimulation and dispelling the possibility of placebo effects. People with Parkinson’s disease (PwPD) endure many motor and non-motor symptoms that might be amenable to tDCS. However, because the disease also affects sensation capabilities, these subjects might report tolerability and blinding differently than other cohorts. Therefore, the purpose of this review was to aggregate the tolerability and blinding reports of tDCS studies in PwPD and recommend a standard tolerability and blinding reporting practice. A literature search of the PubMed and Scopus databases from 1 January 2020 to 1 April 2020 was performed to identify publications that applied tDCS to PwPD. Seventy studies were potentially reviewable, but only 36 (nine with quantitative tolerability reports, 20 with qualitative tolerability reports, and seven that only reported blinding) provided sufficient information to be included in the review. Quantitative information on tDCS tolerability and blinding maintenance in PwPD is scarce, and future reviews and metanalyses should carefully consider the possibility of placebo effects in their included studies. Full article
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Open AccessOpinion
Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers in Parkinson’s Disease: A Critical Overview of the Literature and Meta-Analyses
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 466; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070466 - 20 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 957
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder; however, well-established biochemical markers have not yet been identified. This review article covers several candidate cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers for PD based on the recent literature and meta-analysis data. The decrease of α-synuclein in PD [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder; however, well-established biochemical markers have not yet been identified. This review article covers several candidate cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers for PD based on the recent literature and meta-analysis data. The decrease of α-synuclein in PD is supported by meta-analyses with modest reproducibility, and a decrease of amyloid β42 is seen as a prognostic marker for cognitive decline. Tau, phosphorylated tau (p-tau), and neurofilament light chains have been used to discriminate PD from other neurodegenerative disorders. This article also describes more hopeful biochemical markers, such as neurotransmitters, oxidative stress markers, and other candidate biomarkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers in Dementia Disorders)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceOpinion
COVID-19: Pain Management in Patients with SARS-CoV-2 Infection—Molecular Mechanisms, Challenges, and Perspectives
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 465; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070465 - 20 Jul 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2078
Abstract
Since the end of 2019, the whole world has been struggling with the pandemic of the new Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Available evidence suggests that pain is a common symptom during Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). According to the World Health Organization, [...] Read more.
Since the end of 2019, the whole world has been struggling with the pandemic of the new Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Available evidence suggests that pain is a common symptom during Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). According to the World Health Organization, many patients suffer from muscle pain (myalgia) and/or joint pain (arthralgia), sore throat and headache. The exact mechanisms of headache and myalgia during viral infection are still unknown. Moreover, many patients with respiratory failure get admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) for ventilatory support. Pain in ICU patients can be associated with viral disease itself (myalgia, arthralgia, peripheral neuropathies), may be caused by continuous pain and discomfort associated with ICU treatment, intermittent procedural pain and chronic pain present before admission to the ICU. Undertreatment of pain, especially when sedation and neuromuscular blocking agents are used, prone positioning during mechanical ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) may trigger delirium and cause peripheral neuropathies. This narrative review summarizes current knowledge regarding challenges associated with pain assessment and management in COVID-19 patients. A structured prospective evaluation should be undertaken to analyze the probability, severity, sources and adequate treatment of pain in patients with COVID-19 infection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mouse Tracking to Explore Motor Inhibition Processes in Go/No-Go and Stop Signal Tasks
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070464 - 20 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1014
Abstract
Response inhibition relies on both proactive and reactive mechanisms that exert a synergic control on goal-directed actions. It is typically evaluated by the go/no-go (GNG) and the stop signal task (SST) with response recording based on the key-press method. However, the analysis of [...] Read more.
Response inhibition relies on both proactive and reactive mechanisms that exert a synergic control on goal-directed actions. It is typically evaluated by the go/no-go (GNG) and the stop signal task (SST) with response recording based on the key-press method. However, the analysis of discrete variables (i.e., present or absent responses) registered by key-press could be insufficient to capture dynamic aspects of inhibitory control. Trying to overcome this limitation, in the present study we used a mouse tracking procedure to characterize movement profiles related to proactive and reactive inhibition. A total of fifty-three participants performed a cued GNG and an SST. The cued GNG mainly involves proactive control whereas the reactive component is mainly engaged in the SST. We evaluated the velocity profile from mouse trajectories both for responses obtained in the Go conditions and for inhibitory failures. Movements were classified as one-shot when no corrections were observed. Multi-peaked velocity profiles were classified as non-one-shot. A higher proportion of one-shot movements was found in the SST compared to the cued GNG when subjects failed to inhibit responses. This result suggests that proactive control may be responsible for unsmooth profiles in inhibition failures, supporting a differentiation between these tasks. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Domain Mapping and Deep Learning from Multiple MRI Clinical Datasets for Prediction of Molecular Subtypes in Low Grade Gliomas
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070463 - 18 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1236
Abstract
Brain tumors, such as low grade gliomas (LGG), are molecularly classified which require the surgical collection of tissue samples. The pre-surgical or non-operative identification of LGG molecular type could improve patient counseling and treatment decisions. However, radiographic approaches to LGG molecular classification are [...] Read more.
Brain tumors, such as low grade gliomas (LGG), are molecularly classified which require the surgical collection of tissue samples. The pre-surgical or non-operative identification of LGG molecular type could improve patient counseling and treatment decisions. However, radiographic approaches to LGG molecular classification are currently lacking, as clinicians are unable to reliably predict LGG molecular type using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies. Machine learning approaches may improve the prediction of LGG molecular classification through MRI, however, the development of these techniques requires large annotated data sets. Merging clinical data from different hospitals to increase case numbers is needed, but the use of different scanners and settings can affect the results and simply combining them into a large dataset often have a significant negative impact on performance. This calls for efficient domain adaption methods. Despite some previous studies on domain adaptations, mapping MR images from different datasets to a common domain without affecting subtitle molecular-biomarker information has not been reported yet. In this paper, we propose an effective domain adaptation method based on Cycle Generative Adversarial Network (CycleGAN). The dataset is further enlarged by augmenting more MRIs using another GAN approach. Further, to tackle the issue of brain tumor segmentation that requires time and anatomical expertise to put exact boundary around the tumor, we have used a tight bounding box as a strategy. Finally, an efficient deep feature learning method, multi-stream convolutional autoencoder (CAE) and feature fusion, is proposed for the prediction of molecular subtypes (1p/19q-codeletion and IDH mutation). The experiments were conducted on a total of 161 patients consisting of FLAIR and T1 weighted with contrast enhanced (T1ce) MRIs from two different institutions in the USA and France. The proposed scheme is shown to achieve the test accuracy of 74 . 81 % on 1p/19q codeletion and 81 . 19 % on IDH mutation, with marked improvement over the results obtained without domain mapping. This approach is also shown to have comparable performance to several state-of-the-art methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurotechnology and Neuroimaging)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Astroglia-Derived BDNF and MSK-1 Mediate Experience- and Diet-Dependent Synaptic Plasticity
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070462 - 18 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 928
Abstract
Experience- and diet-dependent regulation of synaptic plasticity can underlie beneficial effects of active lifestyle on the aging brain. Our previous results demonstrate a key role for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and MSK1 kinase in experience-related homeostatic synaptic scaling. Astroglia has been recently shown [...] Read more.
Experience- and diet-dependent regulation of synaptic plasticity can underlie beneficial effects of active lifestyle on the aging brain. Our previous results demonstrate a key role for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and MSK1 kinase in experience-related homeostatic synaptic scaling. Astroglia has been recently shown to release BDNF via a calcium-dependent mechanism. To elucidate a role for astroglia-derived BDNF in homeostatic synaptic plasticity in the aging brain, we explored the experience- and diet-related alterations of synaptic transmission and plasticity in transgenic mice with impairment of the BDNF/MSK1 pathway (MSK1 kinase dead knock-in mice, MSK1 KD) and impairment of glial exocytosis (dnSNARE mice). We found that prolonged tonic activation of astrocytes caused BDNF-dependent increase in the efficacy of excitatory synapses accompanied by enlargement of synaptic boutons. We also observed that exposure to environmental enrichment (EE) and caloric restriction (CR) enhanced the Ca2+ signalling in cortical astrocytes and strongly up-regulated the excitatory and down-regulated inhibitory synaptic currents in old wild-type mice, thus counterbalancing the impact of ageing on astroglial and synaptic signalling. The EE- and CR-induced up-scaling of excitatory synaptic transmission in neocortex was accompanied by the enhancement of long-term synaptic potentiation. Importantly, effects of EE and CR on synaptic transmission and plasticity was significantly reduced in the MSK1 KD and dnSNARE mice. Combined, our results suggest that astroglial release of BDNF is important for the homeostatic regulation of cortical synapses and beneficial effects of EE and CR on synaptic transmission and plasticity in aging brain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuroglia)
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Open AccessArticle
The Disengagement of Visual Attention: An Eye-Tracking Study of Cognitive Impairment, Ethnicity and Age
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070461 - 18 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 998
Abstract
Various studies have shown that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is associated with an impairment of inhibitory control, although we do not have a comprehensive understanding of the associated cognitive processes. The ability to engage and disengage attention is a crucial cognitive operation of inhibitory [...] Read more.
Various studies have shown that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is associated with an impairment of inhibitory control, although we do not have a comprehensive understanding of the associated cognitive processes. The ability to engage and disengage attention is a crucial cognitive operation of inhibitory control and can be readily investigated using the “gap effect” in a saccadic eye movement paradigm. In previous work, various demographic factors were confounded; therefore, here, we examine separately the effects of cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease, ethnicity/culture and age. This study included young (N = 44) and old (N = 96) European participants, AD (N = 32), mildly cognitively impaired participants (MCI: N = 47) and South Asian older adults (N = 94). A clear reduction in the mean reaction times was detected in all the participant groups in the gap condition compared to the overlap condition, confirming the effect. Importantly, this effect was also preserved in participants with MCI and AD. A strong effect of age was also evident, revealing a slowing in the disengagement of attention during the natural process of ageing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Concentrations of Essential Trace Metals in the Brain of Animal Species—A Comparative Study
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070460 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1122
Abstract
The essential trace metals iron, zinc, and copper have a significant physiological role in healthy brain development and function. Especially zinc is important for neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, synaptic transmission and plasticity, and neurite outgrowth. Given the key role of trace metals in many cellular [...] Read more.
The essential trace metals iron, zinc, and copper have a significant physiological role in healthy brain development and function. Especially zinc is important for neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, synaptic transmission and plasticity, and neurite outgrowth. Given the key role of trace metals in many cellular processes, it is important to maintain adequate levels in the brain. However, the physiological concentration of trace metals, and in particular zinc, in the human and animal brain is not well described so far. For example, little is known about the trace metal content of the brain of animals outside the class of mammals. Here, we report the concentration of iron, zinc, and copper in fresh brain tissue of different model-species of the phyla Chordata (vertebrates (mammals, fish)), Annelida, Arthropoda (insects), and Mollusca (snails), using inductively coupled plasma mass-spectrometry (ICP-MS). Our results show that the trace metals are present in the nervous system of all species and that significant differences can be detected between species of different phyla. We further show that a region-specific distribution of metals within the nervous system already exists in earthworms, hinting at a tightly controlled metal distribution. In line with this, the trace metal content of the brain of different species does not simply correlate with brain size. We conclude that although the functional consequences of the controlled metal homeostasis within the brain of many species remains elusive, trace metal biology may not only play an important role in the nervous system of mammals but across the whole animal kingdom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience)
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Open AccessArticle
“No Pain No Gain”: Evidence from a Parcel-Wise Brain Morphometry Study on the Volitional Quality of Elite Athletes
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 459; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070459 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1403
Abstract
Volition is described as a psychological construct with great emphasis on the sense of agency. During volitional behavior, an individual always presents a volitional quality, an intrapersonal trait for dealing with adverse circumstances, which determines the individual’s persistence of action toward their intentions [...] Read more.
Volition is described as a psychological construct with great emphasis on the sense of agency. During volitional behavior, an individual always presents a volitional quality, an intrapersonal trait for dealing with adverse circumstances, which determines the individual’s persistence of action toward their intentions or goals. Elite athletes are a group of experts with superior volitional quality and, thereby, could be regarded as the natural subject pool to investigate this mental trait. The purpose of this study was to examine brain morphometric characteristics associated with volitional quality by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the Scale of Volitional Quality. We recruited 16 national-level athletes engaged in short track speed skating and 18 healthy controls matched with age and gender. A comparison of a parcel-wise brain anatomical characteristics of the healthy controls with those of the elite athletes revealed three regions with significantly increased cortical thickness in the athlete group. These regions included the left precuneus, the left inferior parietal lobe, and the right superior frontal lobe, which are the core brain regions involved in the sense of agency. The mean cortical thickness of the left inferior parietal lobe was significantly correlated with the independence of volitional quality (a mental trait that characterizes one’s intendency to control his/her own behavior and make decisions by applying internal standards and/or objective criteria). These findings suggest that sports training is an ideal model for better understanding the neural mechanisms of volitional behavior in the human brain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Studying Brain Activity in Sports Performance)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Impact of Aquatic Exercise on Respiratory Outcomes and Functional Activities in Children with Neuromuscular Disorders: Findings from an Open-Label and Prospective Preliminary Pilot Study
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 458; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070458 - 17 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1745
Abstract
Neuromuscular disorders (NMD) lead to the progressive loss of motor and respiratory functions and a decline in daily activities and participation. We aimed to evaluate respiratory changes and functional outcomes in children attending an aquatic therapy program. Eleven patients diagnosed with NMD (4–18 [...] Read more.
Neuromuscular disorders (NMD) lead to the progressive loss of motor and respiratory functions and a decline in daily activities and participation. We aimed to evaluate respiratory changes and functional outcomes in children attending an aquatic therapy program. Eleven patients diagnosed with NMD (4–18 years, Vignos scale 1–9) were involved in a 10-week aquatic exercise program. The ventilation variables were: peak cough flow, volumes (forced expiratory volume in one second-FEV1 and inspiratory volume) and respiratory pressures to evaluate strength and oxygen saturation (O2 sat). Functional skills were measured in the aquatic environment (Water Orientation Test Alyn 1) and on dry land, (Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory), together with quality of life (Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory). Our evaluation included several 2 × 6 mixed-model repeated measures analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with time (baseline, post 1 session, pre-post at five weeks and pre-post at 10 weeks). Important improvements in functional skills were observed in and out of the water and children under the age of 11 displayed a significant difference for inspirational volume (p = 0.002) and O2 sat (p = 0.029). Clinical, statistically insignificant changes were found for peak cough flow and expiratory pressures values after aquatic exercise. These results may support a relationship between aquatic exercise in NMD, respiratory outcomes and functional activities in water and on land. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Developmental Neuroscience)
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Open AccessArticle
A New Palmitoylethanolamide Form Combined with Antioxidant Molecules to Improve Its Effectivess on Neuronal Aging
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 457; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070457 - 17 Jul 2020
Viewed by 860
Abstract
Palmitoylethanolamide is a nutraceutical compound naturally produced in many plants and animal source foods, but the natural form is poorly water-soluble. It has demonstrated an anti-inflammatory role as a neuroprotective mediator, acting on several molecular targets of the central nervous system involved on [...] Read more.
Palmitoylethanolamide is a nutraceutical compound naturally produced in many plants and animal source foods, but the natural form is poorly water-soluble. It has demonstrated an anti-inflammatory role as a neuroprotective mediator, acting on several molecular targets of the central nervous system involved on brain aging process. In healthy adults, palmitoylethanolamide is an endogenous PPAR-α (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α) agonist through which it performs anti-inflammatory activity and provides its effects by activating the cannabinoid receptor. The different formulations of palmitoylethanolamide (micronized palmitoylethanolamide, FM-LipoMatrix® palmitoylethanolamide and FM-LipoMatrix® palmitoylethanolamide plus lipoic acid and vitamin D3) were analyzed starting from intestinal barrier, to verify their bioavailability, to in primary astrocytes in which cell viability, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO) production, NFKB activity, MAPK, p53 and PPARα activities were investigated. Additionally, cannabinoid and estrogen receptors were analyzed using the western blot technique. The combination of palmitoylethanolamide in FM-LipoMatrix®, lipoic acid and vitamin D3 shows better absorption predicting an improvement on plasma concentration; this formulation also shows a reduction in ROS and NO production and the data show the interaction of palmitoylethanolamide with cannabinoids and estrogen receptors inhibiting neuroinflammatory markers. All these data support the hypothesis of a new potential strategy to restore brain function and slow down brain aging in humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomakers of Brain Ageing)
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Open AccessArticle
Machine Learning Detects Pattern of Differences in Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) Data between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Gulf War Illness (GWI)
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070456 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1883
Abstract
Background: Gulf War Illness (GWI) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) are two debilitating disorders that share similar symptoms of chronic pain, fatigue, and exertional exhaustion after exercise. Many physicians continue to believe that both are psychosomatic disorders and to date no underlying etiology [...] Read more.
Background: Gulf War Illness (GWI) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) are two debilitating disorders that share similar symptoms of chronic pain, fatigue, and exertional exhaustion after exercise. Many physicians continue to believe that both are psychosomatic disorders and to date no underlying etiology has been discovered. As such, uncovering objective biomarkers is important to lend credibility to criteria for diagnosis and to help differentiate the two disorders. Methods: We assessed cognitive differences in 80 subjects with GWI and 38 with CFS by comparing corresponding fMRI scans during 2-back working memory tasks before and after exercise to model brain activation during normal activity and after exertional exhaustion, respectively. Voxels were grouped by the count of total activity into the Automated Anatomical Labeling (AAL) atlas and used in an “ensemble” series of machine learning algorithms to assess if a multi-regional pattern of differences in the fMRI scans could be detected. Results: A K-Nearest Neighbor (70%/81%), Linear Support Vector Machine (SVM) (70%/77%), Decision Tree (82%/82%), Random Forest (77%/78%), AdaBoost (69%/81%), Naïve Bayes (74%/78%), Quadratic Discriminant Analysis (QDA) (73%/75%), Logistic Regression model (82%/82%), and Neural Net (76%/77%) were able to differentiate CFS from GWI before and after exercise with an average of 75% accuracy in predictions across all models before exercise and 79% after exercise. An iterative feature selection and removal process based on Recursive Feature Elimination (RFE) and Random Forest importance selected 30 regions before exercise and 33 regions after exercise that differentiated CFS from GWI across all models, and produced the ultimate best accuracies of 82% before exercise and 82% after exercise by Logistic Regression or Decision Tree by a single model, and 100% before and after exercise when selected by any six or more models. Differential activation on both days included the right anterior insula, left putamen, and bilateral orbital frontal, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, superior, inferior, and precuneus (medial) parietal, and lateral temporal regions. Day 2 had the cerebellum, left supplementary motor area and bilateral pre- and post-central gyri. Changes between days included the right Rolandic operculum switching to the left on Day 2, and the bilateral midcingulum switching to the left anterior cingulum. Conclusion: We concluded that CFS and GWI are significantly differentiable using a pattern of fMRI activity based on an ensemble machine learning model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Brain Dynamics: Latest Advances and Prospects)
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Open AccessArticle
Is Visual Creativity Embodied? Thinking Aloud While Performing the Creative Mental Synthesis Task
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 455; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070455 - 16 Jul 2020
Viewed by 780
Abstract
Over time, the view that creativity is embodied has emerged. In order to explore if visual creativity is supported by embodied mechanisms, the simulation approach was used as a framework of reference. The idea that visual creativity relies on mental representations that implement [...] Read more.
Over time, the view that creativity is embodied has emerged. In order to explore if visual creativity is supported by embodied mechanisms, the simulation approach was used as a framework of reference. The idea that visual creativity relies on mental representations that implement motor processes was faced. Participants were instructed to think aloud while carrying out the Creative Mental Synthesis Task, which allows to form pre-inventive structures and interpret them according to a specific category. Two independent judges scored verbal protocols in terms of the number of motor, spatial, and visual thoughts reported during the pre-inventive and inventive phases, and also evaluated the final objects according to originality and appropriateness. Originality was predicted positively by inventive motor thoughts and by pre-inventive spatial thoughts, but negatively by inventive spatial thoughts; appropriateness was only predicted by inventive visual thoughts. These results suggest that actions for future object utilization were simulated while interpreting pre-inventive structures, increasing originality of objects. In addition, spatial transformations are useful to construct the pre-inventive structures, but not to interpret them. Yet, thinking of the pictorial details of the object is also essential to classify it in a given category. Limitations and future research directions are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Body in Brain Plasticity)
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Open AccessOpinion
Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation: Augmenting the Training and Performance Potential in Esports Players
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 454; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070454 - 15 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1509
Abstract
During the last two decades, esports, a highly competitive sporting activity, has gained increasing popularity. Both performance and competition in esports require players to have fine motor skills and physical and cognitive abilities in controlling and manipulating digital activities in a virtual environment. [...] Read more.
During the last two decades, esports, a highly competitive sporting activity, has gained increasing popularity. Both performance and competition in esports require players to have fine motor skills and physical and cognitive abilities in controlling and manipulating digital activities in a virtual environment. While strategies for building and improving skills and abilities are crucial for successful gaming performance, few effective training approaches exist in the fast-growing area of competitive esports. In this paper, we describe a non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) approach and highlight the relevance and potential areas for research while being cognizant of various technical, safety, and ethical issues related to NIBS when applied to esports. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Multiple N-Glucosylated Peptide Epitope Efficiently Detecting Antibodies in Multiple Sclerosis
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 453; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070453 - 15 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 954
Abstract
Diagnostics of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are essentially based on the gold standard magnetic resonance imaging. Few alternative simple assays are available to follow up disease activity. Considering that the disease can remain elusive for years, identification of antibodies fluctuating in biological fluids as [...] Read more.
Diagnostics of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are essentially based on the gold standard magnetic resonance imaging. Few alternative simple assays are available to follow up disease activity. Considering that the disease can remain elusive for years, identification of antibodies fluctuating in biological fluids as relevant biomarkers of immune response is a challenge. In previous studies, we reported that anti-N-glucosylated (N-Glc) peptide antibodies that can be easily detected in Solid-Phase Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assays (SP-ELISA) on MS patients’ sera preferentially recognize hyperglucosylated adhesin of non-typeable Haemophilus Influenzae. Since multivalency can be useful for diagnostic purposes to allow an efficient coating in ELISA, we report herein the development of a collection of Multiple N-glucosylated Peptide Epitopes (N-Glc MEPs) to detect anti-N-Glc antibodies in MS. To this aim, a series of N-Glc peptide antigens to be represented in the N-GlcMEPs were tested in competitive ELISA. We confirmed that the epitope recognized by antibodies shall contain at least 5-mer sequences including the fundamental N-Glc moiety. Using a 4-branched dendrimeric lysine scaffold, we selected the N-Glc MEP 24, carrying the minimal epitope Asn(Glc) anchored to a polyethylene glycol-based spacer (PEG) containing a 19-atoms chain, as an efficient multivalent probe to reveal specific and high affinity anti-N-Glc antibodies in MS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Perfusion and Metabolic Neuromonitoring during Ventricular Taps in Infants with Post-Hemorrhagic Ventricular Dilatation
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070452 - 15 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 945
Abstract
Post-hemorrhagic ventricular dilatation (PHVD) is characterized by a build-up of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles, which increases intracranial pressure and compresses brain tissue. Clinical interventions (i.e., ventricular taps, VT) work to mitigate these complications through CSF drainage; however, the timing of [...] Read more.
Post-hemorrhagic ventricular dilatation (PHVD) is characterized by a build-up of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles, which increases intracranial pressure and compresses brain tissue. Clinical interventions (i.e., ventricular taps, VT) work to mitigate these complications through CSF drainage; however, the timing of these procedures remains imprecise. This study presents Neonatal NeuroMonitor (NNeMo), a portable optical device that combines broadband near-infrared spectroscopy (B-NIRS) and diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) to provide simultaneous assessments of cerebral blood flow (CBF), tissue saturation (StO2), and the oxidation state of cytochrome c oxidase (oxCCO). In this study, NNeMo was used to monitor cerebral hemodynamics and metabolism in PHVD patients selected for a VT. Across multiple VTs in four patients, no significant changes were found in any of the three parameters: CBF increased by 14.6 ± 37.6% (p = 0.09), StO2 by 1.9 ± 4.9% (p = 0.2), and oxCCO by 0.4 ± 0.6 µM (p = 0.09). However, removing outliers resulted in significant, but small, increases in CBF (6.0 ± 7.7%) and oxCCO (0.1 ± 0.1 µM). The results of this study demonstrate NNeMo’s ability to provide safe, non-invasive measurements of cerebral perfusion and metabolism for neuromonitoring applications in the neonatal intensive care unit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurocritical Care and Cerebrovascular Health)
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Open AccessOpinion
Deciphering the Invdupdel(8p) Genotype–Phenotype Correlation: Our Opinion
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 451; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070451 - 15 Jul 2020
Viewed by 849
Abstract
The 8p inverted duplication/deletion is a rare chromosomal rearrangement clinically featuring neurodevelopmental delay, mild to severe cognitive impairment, heart congenital defects and brain abnormalities. Patients affected also present typical facial dysmorphisms and skeletal malformations, and it is thought that the composite clinical picture [...] Read more.
The 8p inverted duplication/deletion is a rare chromosomal rearrangement clinically featuring neurodevelopmental delay, mild to severe cognitive impairment, heart congenital defects and brain abnormalities. Patients affected also present typical facial dysmorphisms and skeletal malformations, and it is thought that the composite clinical picture may fall into the chromosomal rearrangement architecture. With the major aim of better framing its related clinical and diagnostic paths, we describe a patient carrying a de novo invdupde[8p] whose clinical features have not been described so far. Hence, through an extensive genotype–phenotype correlation analysis and by reviewing the dedicated scientific literature, we compared our patient’s features with those reported in other patients, which allows us to place our proband’s expressiveness in an intermediate area, widening the scope of the already known invdupde[8p] genotype–phenotype relationship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience)
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Open AccessCase Report
Treatment of Dystonia Using Trihexyphenidyl in Costello Syndrome
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 450; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070450 - 14 Jul 2020
Viewed by 905
Abstract
Costello syndrome (CS), a rare syndrome with multisystemic involvement inherited as a dominant trait, is characterized by developmental delay, coarse facial appearance, cardiac defects including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, skin abnormalities, brain complications, and a predisposition to certain malignancies. The musculoskeletal system is particularly affected [...] Read more.
Costello syndrome (CS), a rare syndrome with multisystemic involvement inherited as a dominant trait, is characterized by developmental delay, coarse facial appearance, cardiac defects including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, skin abnormalities, brain complications, and a predisposition to certain malignancies. The musculoskeletal system is particularly affected in CS, with peculiar orthopedic anomalies that impact posture and gait. Dystonia has been recently documented to contribute to abnormal postures and musculoskeletal anomalies characterizing CS, suggesting the possible use of pharmacological treatments to treat these complications. We report the case of a child affected by CS displaying a particularly severe musculoskeletal involvement with dystonic posture especially in the arms and legs. The Movement Disorder-Childhood Rating Scale (MD-CRS) and a gait analysis were used to assess clinical patterns of hyperkinetic movement disorder and dystonia. The child was further treated with trihexyphenidyl for six months with a final dosage of 14 mg. MD-CRS and gait analysis assessments provided evidence for a significant improvement of posture and the related musculoskeletal problems with no side effects. Our preliminary study report provides first evidence that pharmacological anti-dystonia treatment significantly improves movement and posture disorders in patients with CS. Further studies enrolling larger cohorts of patients should be performed to validate these preliminary observations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Developmental Neuroscience)
Open AccessReview
Role of NAD+—Modulated Mitochondrial Free Radical Generation in Mechanisms of Acute Brain Injury
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070449 - 14 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 997
Abstract
It is commonly accepted that mitochondria represent a major source of free radicals following acute brain injury or during the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. The levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cells are determined by two opposing mechanisms—the one that produces free [...] Read more.
It is commonly accepted that mitochondria represent a major source of free radicals following acute brain injury or during the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. The levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cells are determined by two opposing mechanisms—the one that produces free radicals and the cellular antioxidant system that eliminates ROS. Thus, the balance between the rate of ROS production and the efficiency of the cellular detoxification process determines the levels of harmful reactive oxygen species. Consequently, increase in free radical levels can be a result of higher rates of ROS production or due to the inhibition of the enzymes that participate in the antioxidant mechanisms. The enzymes’ activity can be modulated by post-translational modifications that are commonly altered under pathologic conditions. In this review we will discuss the mechanisms of mitochondrial free radical production following ischemic insult, mechanisms that protect mitochondria against free radical damage, and the impact of post-ischemic nicotinamide adenine mononucleotide (NAD+) catabolism on mitochondrial protein acetylation that affects ROS generation and mitochondrial dynamics. We propose a mechanism of mitochondrial free radical generation due to a compromised mitochondrial antioxidant system caused by intra-mitochondrial NAD+ depletion. Finally, the interplay between different mechanisms of mitochondrial ROS generation and potential therapeutic approaches are reviewed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondria as Therapeutic Target for Acute Brain Pathologies)
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Open AccessArticle
Explaining Age at Autism Spectrum Diagnosis in Children with Migrant and Non-Migrant Background in Austria
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 448; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070448 - 14 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 972
Abstract
This study explored (i) differences in age at Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis between children with and without a migrant background in the main diagnostic centre for ASD in Upper Austria (ii) factors related to the age at diagnosis and (iii) whether specific [...] Read more.
This study explored (i) differences in age at Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis between children with and without a migrant background in the main diagnostic centre for ASD in Upper Austria (ii) factors related to the age at diagnosis and (iii) whether specific factors differed between the two groups. A retrospective chart analysis included all children who received their first diagnosis before the age of 10 years (n = 211) between 2013 and 2018. Children with a migrant background were diagnosed 13 months earlier than those without (r = 0.278, p < 0.001), and had more severe delays in language, more severe autism, no Asperger’s syndrome, lower parental educational level and more frequent referrals by paediatricians. For the total sample, expressive language delay, severity of restricted and repetitive behaviours, higher nonverbal development, and paediatric referrals explained earlier diagnoses. There was a stronger effect of parental education and weaker effect of language impairment on age at ASD diagnosis in children with a migrant background. In conclusion, no delay in diagnosing ASD in children with a migrant background in a country with universal health care and an established system of paediatric developmental surveillance was found. Awareness of ASD, including Asperger’s syndrome, should be raised among families and healthcare professionals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Autism Research)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Sex-Specific Effects of Early Life Stress on Brain Mitochondrial Function, Monoamine Levels and Neuroinflammation
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 447; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070447 - 14 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1054
Abstract
Sex differences have been reported in the susceptibility to early life stress and its neurobiological correlates in humans and experimental animals. However, most of the current research with animal models of early stress has been performed mainly in males. In the present study, [...] Read more.
Sex differences have been reported in the susceptibility to early life stress and its neurobiological correlates in humans and experimental animals. However, most of the current research with animal models of early stress has been performed mainly in males. In the present study, prolonged maternal separation (MS) paradigm was applied as an animal model to resemble the effects of adverse early experiences in male and female rats. Regional brain mitochondrial function, monoaminergic activity, and neuroinflammation were evaluated as adults. Mitochondrial energy metabolism was greatly decreased in MS females as compared with MS males in the prefrontal cortex, dorsal hippocampus, and the nucleus accumbens shell. In addition, MS males had lower serotonin levels and increased serotonin turnover in the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. However, MS females showed increased dopamine turnover in the prefrontal cortex and increased norepinephrine turnover in the striatum, but decreased dopamine turnover in the hippocampus. Sex differences were also found for pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, with increased levels of TNF-α and IL-6 in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus of MS males, and increased IL-6 levels in the striatum of MS females. These results evidence the complex sex- and brain region-specific long-term consequences of early life stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Stress and Glucocorticoids in Learning and Memory)
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Open AccessArticle
Contextual-Cueing beyond the Initial Field of View—A Virtual Reality Experiment
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 446; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070446 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1190
Abstract
In visual search, participants can incidentally learn spatial target-distractor configurations, leading to shorter search times for repeated compared to novel configurations. Usually, this is tested within the limited visual field provided by a computer monitor. While contextual cueing is typically investigated on two-dimensional [...] Read more.
In visual search, participants can incidentally learn spatial target-distractor configurations, leading to shorter search times for repeated compared to novel configurations. Usually, this is tested within the limited visual field provided by a computer monitor. While contextual cueing is typically investigated on two-dimensional screens, we present for the first time an implementation of a classic contextual cueing task (search for a T-shape among L-shapes) in a three-dimensional virtual environment. This enabled us to test if the typical finding of incidental learning of repeated search configurations, manifested by shorter search times, would hold in a three-dimensional virtual reality (VR) environment. One specific aspect that was tested by combining virtual reality and contextual cueing was if contextual cueing would hold for targets outside the initial field of view (FOV), requiring head movements to be found. In keeping with two-dimensional search studies, reduced search times were observed after the first epoch and remained stable in the remaining experiment. Importantly, comparable search time reductions were observed for targets both within and outside of the initial FOV. The results show that a repeated distractors-only configuration in the initial FOV can guide search for target locations requiring a head movement to be seen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Search in (Virtual) Reality)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Sustained Isometric Wrist Flexion and Extension Maximal Voluntary Contractions on Corticospinal Excitability to Forearm Muscles during Low-Intensity Hand-Gripping
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 445; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070445 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 961
Abstract
The wrist extensors demonstrate an earlier fatigue onset than the wrist flexors. However, it is currently unclear whether fatigue induces unique changes in muscle activity or corticospinal excitability between these muscle groups. The purpose of this study was to examine how sustained isometric [...] Read more.
The wrist extensors demonstrate an earlier fatigue onset than the wrist flexors. However, it is currently unclear whether fatigue induces unique changes in muscle activity or corticospinal excitability between these muscle groups. The purpose of this study was to examine how sustained isometric wrist extension/flexion maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs) influence muscle activity and corticospinal excitability of the forearm. Corticospinal excitability to three wrist flexors and three wrist extensors were measured using motor evoked potentials (MEPs) elicited via transcranial magnetic stimulation. Responses were elicited while participants exerted 10% of their maximal handgrip force, before and after a sustained wrist flexion or extension MVC (performed on separate sessions). Post-fatigue measures were collected up to 10-min post-fatigue. Immediately post-fatigue, extensor muscle activity was significantly greater following the wrist flexion fatigue session, although corticospinal excitability (normalized to muscle activity) was greater on the wrist extension day. Responses were largely unchanged in the wrist flexors. However, for the flexor carpi ulnaris, normalized MEP amplitudes were significantly larger following wrist extension fatigue. These findings demonstrate that sustained isometric flexion/extension MVCs result in a complex reorganization of forearm muscle recruitment strategies during hand-gripping. Based on these findings, previously observed corticospinal behaviour following fatigue may not apply when the fatiguing task and measurement task are different. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Plasticity and Motor Control—Series II)
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Open AccessArticle
“Mom Let’s Go to the Dentist!” Preliminary Feasibility of a Tailored Dental Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Italian Public Health Service
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070444 - 12 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1612
Abstract
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show worse oral health than their peers. Their access to health services is, at present, inadequate: few high-quality interventions have been designed and implemented to improve their care procedures so far. The purpose of this study is [...] Read more.
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show worse oral health than their peers. Their access to health services is, at present, inadequate: few high-quality interventions have been designed and implemented to improve their care procedures so far. The purpose of this study is to describe an experience of dental care supported by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), for children with ASD in a public health service. In our study, 59 children (mean age 9.9 years; SD = 5.43) participated in the MyDentist project. It integrates classic dental care techniques with new practices for desensitization and fear control, delivered through an enhanced customized ICT-based intervention aiming at familiarizing the child with ASD with the medical setting and procedures. Two questionnaires were filled out by parents to describe the acceptability of the MyDentist experience for their children. Significant results were shown from T0 (before initiating MyDentist) to T1 (after 6 months of the MyDentist experience) regarding improved oral hygiene and cooperation during dental treatments. Families positively assessed the use of ICT support. In conclusion, the project demonstrated acceptability by parents, suggesting that public health dental care and prevention can be successfully implemented without resorting to costly pharmacological interventions (with potential side effects), taking better care of children’s health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Autism Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Ictal Asystole in Drug-Resistant Focal Epilepsy: Two Decades of Experience from an Epilepsy Monitoring Unit
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 443; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070443 - 12 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 879
Abstract
Background: Ictal asystole (IA) is a rare event observed in people with epilepsy (PwE). Clinical and IA video-electroencephalographic findings may be helpful in screening for high-risk subjects. Methods: From all PwE undergoing video-EEG for presurgical evaluation between 2000 and 2019, we retrospectively selected [...] Read more.
Background: Ictal asystole (IA) is a rare event observed in people with epilepsy (PwE). Clinical and IA video-electroencephalographic findings may be helpful in screening for high-risk subjects. Methods: From all PwE undergoing video-EEG for presurgical evaluation between 2000 and 2019, we retrospectively selected those with at least one IA (R–R interval of ≥3 s during a seizure). Results: IA was detected in eight out of 1088 (0.73%) subjects (mean age: 30 years; mean epilepsy duration: 9.6 years). Four out of them had a history of atonic falls. No patients had cardiac risk factors or cardiovascular diseases. Seizure onset was temporal (n = 5), temporo-parietal (n = 1) or frontal (n = 2), left-sided and right-sided in five and two patients, respectively. In one case a bilateral temporal independent seizure onset was recorded. IA was recorded in 11 out of 18 seizures. Mean IA duration was 13 s while mean IA latency from seizure onset was 26.7 s. Symptoms related to IA were observed in all seizures. Conclusion: IA is a rare and self-limiting event often observed during video-EG in patients with a history of atonic loss of consciousness and/or tardive falls in the course of a typical seizure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Epilepsy)
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Open AccessArticle
Silent Speech Decoding Using Spectrogram Features Based on Neuromuscular Activities
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 442; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070442 - 11 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1098
Abstract
Silent speech decoding is a novel application of the Brain–Computer Interface (BCI) based on articulatory neuromuscular activities, reducing difficulties in data acquirement and processing. In this paper, spatial features and decoders that can be used to recognize the neuromuscular signals are investigated. Surface [...] Read more.
Silent speech decoding is a novel application of the Brain–Computer Interface (BCI) based on articulatory neuromuscular activities, reducing difficulties in data acquirement and processing. In this paper, spatial features and decoders that can be used to recognize the neuromuscular signals are investigated. Surface electromyography (sEMG) data are recorded from human subjects in mimed speech situations. Specifically, we propose to utilize transfer learning and deep learning methods by transforming the sEMG data into spectrograms that contain abundant information in time and frequency domains and are regarded as channel-interactive. For transfer learning, a pre-trained model of Xception on the large image dataset is used for feature generation. Three deep learning methods, Multi-Layer Perception, Convolutional Neural Network and bidirectional Long Short-Term Memory, are then trained using the extracted features and evaluated for recognizing the articulatory muscles’ movements in our word set. The proposed decoders successfully recognized the silent speech and bidirectional Long Short-Term Memory achieved the best accuracy of 90%, outperforming the other two algorithms. Experimental results demonstrate the validity of spectrogram features and deep learning algorithms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neural Engineering, Neuroergonomics and Neurorobotics)
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Open AccessReview
Sleeping without Prescription: Management of Sleep Disorders in Children with Autism with Non-Pharmacological Interventions and Over-the-Counter Treatments
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070441 - 11 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1831
Abstract
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are lifelong neurodevelopmental conditions characterized by abnormal social interaction, communication, and behavior. Sleep disturbances represent a common comorbidity in children and adolescents with ASD, with prevalence ranging from 50 to 80%. It has been proved that sleep disruption worsens [...] Read more.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are lifelong neurodevelopmental conditions characterized by abnormal social interaction, communication, and behavior. Sleep disturbances represent a common comorbidity in children and adolescents with ASD, with prevalence ranging from 50 to 80%. It has been proved that sleep disruption worsens the symptoms of autism and results in challenging behaviors. Improving sleep should therefore be a primary therapeutic goal. Treatment options range from lifestyle modifications to pharmacological therapy. Several reviews have been written on pharmacological treatments, but very few on the beneficial effects of non-pharmacological interventions, over-the-counter drugs, and nutritional supplements. This study consists of a narrative review of the literature, presenting the available evidence on the following treatments: sleep education, behavioral interventions, complementary and alternative medicine (special mattresses and blankets, massage, aromatherapy, yoga, physical activity), and commonly used over-the-counter medications and supplements (antihistamines, melatonin, tryptophan, carnosine, iron, vitamins, and herbal remedies). For some treatments—such as melatonin and behavioral interventions—effectiveness in ASD is well established in the literature, while other interventions appear of benefit in clinical practice, even if specific studies in children and adolescents with ASD are lacking. Conversely, other treatments only seem to show anecdotal evidence supporting their use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurodevelopmental Problems and Neurometabolic Disorders in Childhood)
Open AccessCase Report
Brain Abscess Masquerading as Brain Infarction
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10070440 - 11 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1014
Abstract
Occasionally, acute ischemic stroke can be difficult to differentiate from acute intracranial infection. We describe a patient who presented with sudden onset of right hemiparesis and fever. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was consistent with an acute stroke, showing multiple lesions with restricted diffusion [...] Read more.
Occasionally, acute ischemic stroke can be difficult to differentiate from acute intracranial infection. We describe a patient who presented with sudden onset of right hemiparesis and fever. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was consistent with an acute stroke, showing multiple lesions with restricted diffusion in the left middle cerebral artery territory. These lesions were not enhancing and were not associated with vasogenic edema. A diagnosis of acute stroke was made based on the clinical and radiographic data. Follow-up MRI obtained eleven days later showed interval development of ring enhancement and vasogenic edema surrounding the previously noted core of restricted diffusion. Based on these findings, the diagnosis was revised to cerebral abscesses and the patient was treated successfully with antibiotics. In retrospect, the largest diffusion-weighted lesion on baseline MRI demonstrated two characteristics that were atypical for stroke: it had an ovoid shape and a subtle T2 hypointense core. This case demonstrates that acute clinical and radiographic presentation of cerebral abscess and ischemic stroke can be strikingly similar. Follow-up imaging can be instrumental in arriving at an accurate diagnosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurocritical Care and Cerebrovascular Health)
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