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Brain Sci., Volume 11, Issue 2 (February 2021) – 153 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Exosomes comprise a significant class of microvesicular bodies synthesized and secreted by different cell types in many tissues, including brain. Biomolecular cargo in exosomes consist of proteins, lipids, metabolites and microRNAs that reflect the physiological status of the cell-of-origin. The role of exosomes in pathogenesis and disease progression of neurodegenerative disorders is evident from their ability to transport pathogenetic proteins and to communicate signals between different brain cell types. The high sensitivity and specificity of MS/proteomics provides a valuable tool for identifying exosomal biomarker candidates. This review highlights advancements in exosome proteomics and its potential for identifying protein biomarkers for neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. “Image created with BioRender.com”. View this paper

 

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Open AccessArticle
Determining the Optimal Administration Conditions under Which MIF Exerts Neuroprotective Effects by Inducing BDNF Expression and Inhibiting Apoptosis in an In Vitro Stroke Model
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020280 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 454
Abstract
Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) exerts neuroprotective effects against cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury by inhibiting neuronal apoptosis and inducing the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, the optimal administration conditions of MIF are currently unknown. Here, we aimed to identify these conditions in [...] Read more.
Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) exerts neuroprotective effects against cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury by inhibiting neuronal apoptosis and inducing the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, the optimal administration conditions of MIF are currently unknown. Here, we aimed to identify these conditions in an in vitro model. To determine the optimal concentration of MIF, human neuroblastoma cells were assigned to one of seven groups: control, oxygen and glucose deprivation/reperfusion (OGD/R), and OGD/R with different concentrations (1, 10, 30, 60, and 100 ng/mL) of MIF. Six groups were studied to investigate the optimal administration time: control, OGD/R, and OGD/R with MIF administered at different times (pre-OGD, OGD-treat, post-OGD, and whole-processing). Water-soluble tetrazolium salt-1 assay, Western blot analysis, and immunocytochemistry were used to analyze cell viability and protein expression. We found that 60 ng/mL was the optimal concentration of MIF. However, the effects of administration time were not significant; MIF elicited similar neuroprotective effects regardless of administration time. These findings correlated with the expression of BDNF and apoptosis-related proteins. This study provides detailed information on MIF administration, which offers a foundation for future in vivo studies and translation into novel therapeutic strategies for ischemic stroke. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience)
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Open AccessArticle
Inhibition of the Sodium Calcium Exchanger Suppresses Alcohol Withdrawal-Induced Seizure Susceptibility
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020279 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 416
Abstract
Calcium influx plays important roles in the pathophysiology of seizures, including acoustically evoked alcohol withdrawal-induced seizures (AWSs). One Ca2+ influx route of interest is the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX) that, when operating in its reverse mode (NCXrev) activity, [...] Read more.
Calcium influx plays important roles in the pathophysiology of seizures, including acoustically evoked alcohol withdrawal-induced seizures (AWSs). One Ca2+ influx route of interest is the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX) that, when operating in its reverse mode (NCXrev) activity, can facilitate Ca2+ entry into neurons, possibly increasing neuronal excitability that leads to enhanced seizure susceptibility. Here, we probed the involvement of NCXrev activity on AWS susceptibility by quantifying the effects of SN-6 and KB-R7943, potent blockers of isoform type 1 (NCX1rev) and 3 (NCX3rev), respectively. Male, adult Sprague–Dawley rats were used. Acoustically evoked AWSs consisted of wild running seizures (WRSs) that evolved into generalized tonic–clonic seizures (GTCSs). Quantification shows that acute SN-6 treatment at a relatively low dose suppressed the occurrence of the GTCSs (but not WRSs) component of AWSs and markedly reduced the seizure severity. However, administration of KB-R7943 at a relatively high dose only reduced the incidence of GTCSs. These findings demonstrate that inhibition of NCX1rev activity is a putative mechanism for the suppression of alcohol withdrawal-induced GTCSs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multiple Subtypes of Alzheimer’s Disease Base on Brain Atrophy Pattern
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020278 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 409
Abstract
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a disease of a heterogeneous nature, which can be disentangled by exploring the characteristics of each AD subtype in the brain structure, neuropathology, and cognition. In this study, a total of 192 AD and 228 cognitively normal (CN) subjects [...] Read more.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a disease of a heterogeneous nature, which can be disentangled by exploring the characteristics of each AD subtype in the brain structure, neuropathology, and cognition. In this study, a total of 192 AD and 228 cognitively normal (CN) subjects were obtained from the Alzheimer’s disease Neuroimaging Initiative database. Based on the cortical thickness patterns, the mixture of experts method (MOE) was applied to the implicit model spectrum of transforms lined with each AD subtype, then their neuropsychological and neuropathological characteristics were analyzed. Furthermore, the piecewise linear classifiers composed of each AD subtype and CN were resolved, and each subtype was comprehensively explained. The following four distinct AD subtypes were discovered: bilateral parietal, frontal, and temporal atrophy AD subtype (occipital sparing AD subtype (OSAD), 29.2%), left temporal dominant atrophy AD subtype (LTAD, 22.4%), minimal atrophy AD subtype (MAD, 16.1%), and diffuse atrophy AD subtype (DAD, 32.3%). These four subtypes display their own characteristics in atrophy pattern, cognition, and neuropathology. Compared with the previous studies, our study found that some AD subjects showed obvious asymmetrical atrophy in left lateral temporal-parietal cortex, OSAD presented the worst cerebrospinal fluid levels, and MAD had the highest proportions of APOE ε4 and APOE ε2. The subtype characteristics were further revealed from the aspect of the model, making it easier for clinicians to understand. The results offer an effective support for individual diagnosis and prognosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cognitive Neuroscience)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Noise and Serial Position on Free Recall of Spoken Words and Pupil Dilation during Encoding in Normal-Hearing Adults
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 277; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020277 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 387
Abstract
This preliminary study assessed the effects of noise and stimulus presentation order on recall of spoken words and recorded pupil sizes while normal-hearing listeners were trying to encode a series of words for a subsequent recall task. In three listening conditions (stationary noise [...] Read more.
This preliminary study assessed the effects of noise and stimulus presentation order on recall of spoken words and recorded pupil sizes while normal-hearing listeners were trying to encode a series of words for a subsequent recall task. In three listening conditions (stationary noise in Experiment 1; quiet versus four-talker babble in Experiment 2), participants were assigned to remember as many words as possible to recall them in any order after each list of seven sentences. In the two noise conditions, lists of sentences fixed at 65 dB SPL were presented at an easily audible level via a loudspeaker. Reading span (RS) scores were used as a grouping variable, based on a median split. The primacy effect was present apart from the noise interference, and the high-RS group significantly outperformed the low-RS group at free recall measured in the quiet and four-talker babble noise conditions. RS scores were positively correlated with free-recall scores. In both quiet and four-talker babble noise conditions, sentence baselines after correction to the initial stimulus baseline increased significantly with increasing memory load. Larger sentence baselines but smaller peak pupil dilations seemed to be associated with noise interruption. The analysis method of pupil dilation used in this study is likely to provide a more thorough understanding of how listeners respond to a later recall task in comparison with previously used methods. Further studies are needed to confirm the applicability of our method in people with impaired hearing using multiple repetitions to estimate the allocation of relevant cognitive resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neural Bases of Cognitive Processing)
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Open AccessReview
Neuroprogression as an Illness Trajectory in Bipolar Disorder: A Selective Review of the Current Literature
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 276; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020276 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 339
Abstract
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic and disabling psychiatric condition that is linked to significant disability and psychosocial impairment. Although current neuropsychological, molecular, and neuroimaging evidence support the existence of neuroprogression and its effects on the course and outcome of this condition, whether [...] Read more.
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic and disabling psychiatric condition that is linked to significant disability and psychosocial impairment. Although current neuropsychological, molecular, and neuroimaging evidence support the existence of neuroprogression and its effects on the course and outcome of this condition, whether and to what extent neuroprogressive changes may impact the illness trajectory is still poorly understood. Thus, this selective review was aimed toward comprehensively and critically investigating the link between BD and neurodegeneration based on the currently available evidence. According to the most relevant findings of the present review, most of the existing neuropsychological, neuroimaging, and molecular evidence demonstrates the existence of neuroprogression, at least in a subgroup of BD patients. These studies mainly focused on the most relevant effects of neuroprogression on the course and outcome of BD. The main implications of this assumption are discussed in light of specific shortcomings/limitations, such as the inability to carry out a meta-analysis, the inclusion of studies with small sample sizes, retrospective study designs, and different longitudinal investigations at various time points. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Clinical Neuroscience)
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Open AccessReview
A Neurodevelopment Approach for a Transitional Model of Early Onset Schizophrenia
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 275; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020275 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 495
Abstract
In the last decades, the conceptualization of schizophrenia has dramatically changed, moving from a neurodegenerative process occurring in early adult life to a neurodevelopmental disorder starting be-fore birth, showing a variety of premorbid and prodromal symptoms and, in relatively few cases, evolving in [...] Read more.
In the last decades, the conceptualization of schizophrenia has dramatically changed, moving from a neurodegenerative process occurring in early adult life to a neurodevelopmental disorder starting be-fore birth, showing a variety of premorbid and prodromal symptoms and, in relatively few cases, evolving in the full-blown psychotic syndrome. High rates of co-occurring different neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism spectrum disorder and ADHD, predating the onset of SCZ, and neurobio-logical underpinning with significant similarities, support the notion of a pan-developmental disturbance consisting of impairments in neuromotor, receptive language, social and cognitive development. Con-sidering that many SCZ risk factors may be similar to symptoms of other neurodevelopmental psychi-atric disorders, transition processes from child & adolescent to adult systems of care should include both high risk people as well as subject with other neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders with different levels of severity. This descriptive mini-review discuss the need of innovative clinical approaches, re-considering specific diagnostic categories, stimulating a careful analysis of risk factors and promoting the appropriate use of new and safer medications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Developmental Neuroscience)
Open AccessArticle
A Muscular and Cerebral Physiological Indices Assessment for Stress Measuring during Virtual Wheelchair Guidance
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020274 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 405
Abstract
The work presented in this manuscript has the purpose to assess the relationship between human factors and physiological indices. We discuss the relationship between stress as human factor and cerebral and muscular signals as features. Ten male paraplegic, right-handed subjects were volunteers for [...] Read more.
The work presented in this manuscript has the purpose to assess the relationship between human factors and physiological indices. We discuss the relationship between stress as human factor and cerebral and muscular signals as features. Ten male paraplegic, right-handed subjects were volunteers for the experiment (mean age 34 ±6). They drove a virtual wheelchair in an indoor environment. They filled five missions where, in each one, an environmental parameter was changed. Meanwhile, they were equipped with Electromyography (EMG) sensors and Electroencephalography (EEG). Frequency and temporal features were filtered and extracted. Principal component analysis (PCA), Fisher’s tests, repeated measure Anova and post hoc Tukey test (α = 0.05) were implemented for statistics. Environmental modifications are subject to induce stress, which impacts muscular and cerebral activities. While the time pressure parameter was the most influent, the transition from static to moving obstacles (avatars), tends to have a significant impact on stress levels. However, adding more moving obstacles did not show any impact. A synchronization factor was noticed between cerebral and muscular features in higher stress levels. Further examination is needed to assess EEG reliability in these situations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cognitive Neuroscience)
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Open AccessArticle
Self-Reported Nonadherence to Medication Is Not Associated with Health-Related Quality of Life in Parkinson’s Disease
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020273 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 482
Abstract
Nonadherence is a growing issue in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Many factors are known to influence nonadherence, but little is known about the influence of quality of life (QoL). Detailed clinical data were obtained from 164 patients with PD using the [...] Read more.
Nonadherence is a growing issue in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Many factors are known to influence nonadherence, but little is known about the influence of quality of life (QoL). Detailed clinical data were obtained from 164 patients with PD using the Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire-39 (PDQ-39) and the German Stendal Adherence with Medication Score (SAMS). Descriptive statistics were used to identify reasons for nonadherence, and multivariable linear models were used to study associations between QoL and clinical parameters as well as nonadherence. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) were used to study the effect of the SAMS on PDQ domains and other medical covariates. The results showed that 10.4% (n = 17) of patients were fully adherent, 66.4% (n = 109) were moderately nonadherent, and 23.2% (n = 38) were nonadherent. Nonadherence was associated with male gender, lower Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) score, higher non-motor symptoms questionnaire (NMS-Quest) score, greater number of medications per day (an indicator of comorbidity), and higher Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) score. QoL was correlated with male gender, lower MoCA score, higher NMS-Quest score, more comorbidities, and higher BDI score, but was not correlated with nonadherence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Parkinsonian Syndromes)
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Open AccessArticle
Cuprizone-Induced Neurotoxicity in Human Neural Cell Lines Is Mediated by a Reversible Mitochondrial Dysfunction: Relevance for Demyelination Models
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020272 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 385
Abstract
Suitable in vivo and in vitro models are instrumental for the development of new drugs aimed at improving symptoms or progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). The cuprizone (CPZ)-induced murine model has gained momentum in recent decades, aiming to address the demyelination component of [...] Read more.
Suitable in vivo and in vitro models are instrumental for the development of new drugs aimed at improving symptoms or progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). The cuprizone (CPZ)-induced murine model has gained momentum in recent decades, aiming to address the demyelination component of the disease. This work aims at assessing the differential cytotoxicity of CPZ in cells of different types and from different species: human oligodendroglial (HOG), human neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y), human glioblastoma (T-98), and mouse microglial (N-9) cell lines. Moreover, the effect of CPZ was investigated in primary rat brain cells. Cell viability was assayed by oxygen rate consumption and by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide-based (MTT) method. Our results demonstrated that CPZ did not cause death in any of the assayed cell models but affected mitochondrial function and aerobic cell respiration, thus compromising cell metabolism in neural cells and neuron-glia co-cultures. In this sense, we found differential vulnerability between glial cells and neurons as is the case of the CPZ-induced mouse model of MS. In addition, our findings demonstrated that reduced viability was spontaneous reverted in a time-dependent manner by treatment discontinuation. This reversible cell-based model may help to further investigate the role of mitochondria in the disease, and study the molecular intricacies underlying the pathophysiology of the MS and other demyelinating diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience)
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Open AccessArticle
Is There a Relationship between the Elasticity of Brain Tumors, Changes in Diffusion Tensor Imaging, and Histological Findings? A Pilot Study Using Intraoperative Ultrasound Elastography
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020271 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 326
Abstract
Intraoperative ultrasound elastography (IOUS-E) is a novel image modality applied in brain tumor assessment. However, the potential links between elastographic findings and other histological and neuroimaging features are unknown. This study aims to find associations between brain tumor elasticity, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) [...] Read more.
Intraoperative ultrasound elastography (IOUS-E) is a novel image modality applied in brain tumor assessment. However, the potential links between elastographic findings and other histological and neuroimaging features are unknown. This study aims to find associations between brain tumor elasticity, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics, and cell proliferation. A retrospective study was conducted to analyze consecutively admitted patients who underwent craniotomy for supratentorial brain tumors between March 2018 and February 2020. Patients evaluated by IOUS-E and preoperative DTI were included. A semi-quantitative analysis was performed to calculate the mean tissue elasticity (MTE). Diffusion coefficients and the tumor proliferation index by Ki-67 were registered. Relationships between the continuous variables were determined using the Spearman ρ test. A predictive model was developed based on non-linear regression using the MTE as the dependent variable. Forty patients were evaluated. The pathologic diagnoses were as follows: 21 high-grade gliomas (HGG); 9 low-grade gliomas (LGG); and 10 meningiomas. Cases with a proliferation index of less than 10% had significantly higher medians of MTE (110.34 vs. 79.99, p < 0.001) and fractional anisotropy (FA) (0.24 vs. 0.19, p = 0.020). We found a strong positive correlation between MTE and FA (rs (38) = 0.91, p < 0.001). A cubic spline non-linear regression model was obtained to predict tumoral MTE from FA (R2 = 0.78, p < 0.001). According to our results, tumor elasticity is associated with histopathological and DTI-derived metrics. These findings support the usefulness of IOUS-E as a complementary tool in brain tumor surgery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuroimaging)
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Open AccessArticle
Visual Cortex Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy Patients: A Double-Blinded Randomized Exploratory Trial
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020270 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 370
Abstract
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is a severe complication of diabetes. PDR-related retinal hemorrhages often lead to severe vision loss. The main goals of management are to prevent visual impairment progression and improve residual vision. We explored the potential of transcranial direct current stimulation [...] Read more.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is a severe complication of diabetes. PDR-related retinal hemorrhages often lead to severe vision loss. The main goals of management are to prevent visual impairment progression and improve residual vision. We explored the potential of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to enhance residual vision. tDCS applied to the primary visual cortex (V1) may improve visual input processing from PDR patients’ retinas. Eleven PDR patients received cathodal tDCS stimulation of V1 (1 mA for 10 min), and another eleven patients received sham stimulation (1 mA for 30 s). Visual acuity (logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (LogMAR) scores) and number acuity (reaction times (RTs) and accuracy rates (ARs)) were measured before and immediately after stimulation. The LogMAR scores and the RTs of patients who received cathodal tDCS decreased significantly after stimulation. Cathodal tDCS has no significant effect on ARs. There were no significant changes in the LogMAR scores, RTs, and ARs of PDR patients who received sham stimulation. The results are compatible with our proposal that neuronal noise aggravates impaired visual function in PDR. The therapeutic effect indicates the potential of tDCS as a safe and effective vision rehabilitation tool for PDR patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Stimulation and Neuroplasticity)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Prepulse Inhibition in Cocaine Addiction and Dual Pathologies
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020269 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 505
Abstract
Cocaine addiction is frequently associated with different psychiatric disorders, especially schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder. A small number of studies have used prepulse inhibition (PPI) as a discriminating factor between these disorders. This work evaluated PPI and the phenotype of patients with cocaine-related [...] Read more.
Cocaine addiction is frequently associated with different psychiatric disorders, especially schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder. A small number of studies have used prepulse inhibition (PPI) as a discriminating factor between these disorders. This work evaluated PPI and the phenotype of patients with cocaine-related disorder (CRD) who presented a dual diagnosis of schizophrenia or antisocial personality disorder. A total of 74 men aged 18–60 years were recruited for this research. The sample was divided into four groups: CRD (n = 14), CRD and schizophrenia (n = 21), CRD and antisocial personality disorder (n = 16), and a control group (n = 23). We evaluated the PPI and other possible vulnerability factors in these patients by using different assessment scales. PPI was higher in the CRD group at 30 ms (F(3, 64) = 2.972, p = 0.038). Three discriminant functions were obtained which allowed us to use the overall Hare Psychopathy Checklist Revised score, reward sensitivity, and PPI at 30 ms to predict inclusion of these patients in the different groups with a success rate of 79.7% (42.9% for CRD, 76.2% for CRD and schizophrenia, 100% for CRD and antisocial personality disorder, and 91.3% in the control group). Despite the differences we observed in PPI, this factor is of little use for discriminating between the different diagnostic groups and it acts more as a non-specific endophenotype in certain mental disorders, such as in patients with a dual diagnosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Systems Neuroscience)
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Open AccessCommentary
Conflict between Threat Sensitivity and Sensation Seeking in the Adolescent Brain: Role of the Hippocampus, and Neurobehavioural Plasticity Induced by Pleasurable Early Enriched Experience
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020268 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 316
Abstract
Adolescence is characterized both by the exacerbation of the experience of anxiety, fear or threat, on one hand, and by increased reward seeking (reward sensitivity) and risk taking on the other hand. The rise of these apparently opposite processes, i.e., threat-related anxiety and [...] Read more.
Adolescence is characterized both by the exacerbation of the experience of anxiety, fear or threat, on one hand, and by increased reward seeking (reward sensitivity) and risk taking on the other hand. The rise of these apparently opposite processes, i.e., threat-related anxiety and reward-related sensation seeking, seems to stem from a relatively decreased top-down inhibition of amygdala and striatal circuits by regulatory systems (e.g., prefrontal cortex, hippocampus) that mature later. The present commentary article aims to discuss recent related literature and focusses on two main issues: (i) the septo-hippocampal system (in particular the ventral hippocampus) might be a crucial region for the regulation of approach–avoidance conflict and also for the selection of the most appropriate responses during adolescence, and (ii) developmental studies involving early-life pleasurable-enriched experience (as opposed to early-life adversity) might be a useful study paradigm in order to decipher whether neuroplasticity induced by such experiences (for example, in the hippocampus and associated circuitry) may lead to better top-down inhibition and more “balanced” adolescent responses to environmental demands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Developmental Neuroscience)
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Open AccessArticle
Executive Functioning and Clinical Variables in Patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020267 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 346
Abstract
Background: Cognitive flexibility, response inhibition, and working memory are considered the main mechanisms responsible for executive control. This study examined differences in cognitive flexibility, inhibition, and working memory in patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) relative to a control group. Method: A total of [...] Read more.
Background: Cognitive flexibility, response inhibition, and working memory are considered the main mechanisms responsible for executive control. This study examined differences in cognitive flexibility, inhibition, and working memory in patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) relative to a control group. Method: A total of 62 obsessive-compulsive participants (OCD = 32; healthy control = 32) aged between 17 and 56 years old (M = 33.16, SD = 9.23) were administered the computerized Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Stroop Color–Word Test, Go/No-Go Task, Digit Test, and Corsi Block Test. Clinician-rated and self-reported obsessive–compulsive symptom severity, and anxiety, depression, and obsessive beliefs were evaluated. Results: The control group performed better than the OCD group in tasks involving cognitive flexibility, inhibition, and visuospatial working memory. Anxiety and obsessive beliefs influenced the participants’ performance on inhibition and working memory tasks. Similarly, comorbidity also influenced inhibition and working memory. In addition, the use of pharmacotherapy and the degree of OCD symptom severity influenced verbal working memory. Conclusions: Cognitive flexibility, inhibition, and visuospatial working memory deficits may be endophenotypes of OCD but require further examination for specificity. OCD severity, comorbidity patterns, anxiety, and obsessive beliefs may influence performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modulation of Interhemispheric Inhibition between Primary Motor Cortices Induced by Manual Motor Imitation: A Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Study
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020266 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 529
Abstract
Imitation has been proven effective in motor development and neurorehabilitation. However, the relationship between imitation and interhemispheric inhibition (IHI) remains unclear. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be used to investigate IHI. In this study, the modification effects of IHI resulting from mirror neuron [...] Read more.
Imitation has been proven effective in motor development and neurorehabilitation. However, the relationship between imitation and interhemispheric inhibition (IHI) remains unclear. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be used to investigate IHI. In this study, the modification effects of IHI resulting from mirror neuron system (MNS) activation during different imitations are addressed. We measured IHI between homologous primary motor cortex (M1) by analyzing the ipsilateral silent period (iSP) evoked by single-pulse focal TMS during imitation and analyzed the respective IHI modulation during and after different patterns of imitation. Our main results showed that throughout anatomical imitation, significant time-course changes of iSP duration through the experiment were observed in both directions. iSP duration declined from the pre-imitation time point to the post-imitation time point and did not return to baseline after 30 min rest. We also observed significant iSP reduction from the right hemisphere to the left hemisphere during anatomical and specular imitation, compared with non-imitative movement. Our findings indicate that using anatomical imitation in action observation and execution therapy promotes functional recovery in neurorehabilitation by regulating IHI. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Economic Evaluation in Neurological Physiotherapy: A Systematic Review
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020265 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 616
Abstract
This systematic review was carried out to compile and assess original studies that included economic evaluations of neurological physiotherapy interventions. A thorough search of PubMED, Cochrane and Embase was developed using keywords such as health economics, neurological physiotherapy and cost analysis, and studies [...] Read more.
This systematic review was carried out to compile and assess original studies that included economic evaluations of neurological physiotherapy interventions. A thorough search of PubMED, Cochrane and Embase was developed using keywords such as health economics, neurological physiotherapy and cost analysis, and studies published during the last six-year term were selected. A total of 3124 studies were analyzed, and 43 were eligible for inclusion. Among the studies analyzed, 48.8% were interventions for stroke patients, and 13.9% were focused on Parkinson’s disease. In terms of the countries involved, 46.5% of the studies included were developed in the UK, and 13.9% were from the USA. The economic analysis most frequently used was cost-utility, implemented in 22 of the studies. A cost-effectiveness analysis was also developed in nine of those studies. The distribution of studies including an economic evaluation in this discipline showed a clear geographic dominance in terms of the pathology. A clear upward trend was noted in the economic evaluation of interventions developed in neurological physiotherapy. However, these studies should be promoted for their use in evidence-based clinical practice and decision-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Neuroeconomics)
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Open AccessArticle
Self-Positivity or Self-Negativity as a Function of the Medial Prefrontal Cortex
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020264 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 436
Abstract
Self and emotions are key motivational factors of a person strivings for health and well-being. Understanding neural mechanisms supporting the relationship between these factors bear far-reaching implications for mental health disorders. Recent work indicates a substantial overlap between self-relevant and emotion information processing [...] Read more.
Self and emotions are key motivational factors of a person strivings for health and well-being. Understanding neural mechanisms supporting the relationship between these factors bear far-reaching implications for mental health disorders. Recent work indicates a substantial overlap between self-relevant and emotion information processing and has proposed the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) as one shared neural signature. However, the precise cognitive and neural mechanisms represented by the MPFC in investigations of self- and emotion-related processing are largely unknown. Here we examined whether the neural underpinnings of self-related processing in the MPFC link to positive or negative emotions. We collected fMRI data to test the distinct and shared neural circuits of self- and emotion-related processing while participants performed personal (self, friend, or stranger) and emotion (happy, sad, or neutral) associative matching tasks. By exploiting tight control over the factors that determine the effects of self-relevance and emotions (positive: Happy vs. neutral; negative: Sad vs. neutral), our univariate analysis revealed that the ventral part of the MPFC (vmPFC), which has established involvement in self-prioritisation effects, was not recruited in the negative emotion prioritisation effect. In contrast, there were no differences in brain activity between the effects of positive emotion- and self-prioritisation. These results were replicated by both region of interest (ROI)-based analysis in the vmPFC and the seed- to voxel functional connectivity analysis between the MPFC and the rest of the brain. The results suggest that the prioritisation effects for self and positive emotions are tightly linked together, and the MPFC plays a large role in discriminating between positive and negative emotions in relation to self-relevance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Bases of Conscious Awareness and Self-Representation)
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Open AccessArticle
Beyond Reading Modulation: Temporo-Parietal tDCS Alters Visuo-Spatial Attention and Motion Perception in Dyslexia
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020263 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 676
Abstract
Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder with an atypical activation of posterior left-hemisphere brain reading networks (i.e., temporo-occipital and temporo-parietal regions) and multiple neuropsychological deficits. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a tool for manipulating neural activity and, in turn, neurocognitive processes. While studies [...] Read more.
Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder with an atypical activation of posterior left-hemisphere brain reading networks (i.e., temporo-occipital and temporo-parietal regions) and multiple neuropsychological deficits. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a tool for manipulating neural activity and, in turn, neurocognitive processes. While studies have demonstrated the significant effects of tDCS on reading, neurocognitive changes beyond reading modulation have been poorly investigated. The present study aimed at examining whether tDCS on temporo-parietal regions affected not only reading, but also phonological skills, visuo-spatial working memory, visuo-spatial attention, and motion perception in a polarity-dependent way. In a within-subjects design, ten children and adolescents with dyslexia performed reading and neuropsychological tasks after 20 min of exposure to Left Anodal/Right Cathodal (LA/RC) and Right Anodal/Left Cathodal (RA/LC) tDCS. LA/RC tDCS compared to RA/LC tDCS improved text accuracy, word recognition speed, motion perception, and modified attentional focusing in our group of children and adolescents with dyslexia. Changes in text reading accuracy and word recognition speed—after LA/RC tDCS compared to RA/LC—were related to changes in motion perception and in visuo-spatial working memory, respectively. Our findings demonstrated that reading and domain-general neurocognitive functions in a group of children and adolescents with dyslexia change following tDCS and that they are polarity-dependent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiple Neurocognitive Deficits and Dyslexia)
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Open AccessArticle
PD-L1 Expression Correlated with p53 Expression in Pediatric Glioblastoma Multiforme
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 262; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020262 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 420
Abstract
High-grade gliomas are infrequent in the pediatric population compared to adults, nevertheless, mortality and morbidity caused by malignant gliomas in this group of patients remain significant. PD-L1 and PD-1 Immune checkpoints (IC) molecules maintain immunological balance between activation and suppression. Eighteen patients with [...] Read more.
High-grade gliomas are infrequent in the pediatric population compared to adults, nevertheless, mortality and morbidity caused by malignant gliomas in this group of patients remain significant. PD-L1 and PD-1 Immune checkpoints (IC) molecules maintain immunological balance between activation and suppression. Eighteen patients with a histopathological diagnosis of pediatric glioblastoma multiforme (GBM, WHO IV) were studied. In total, PD-L1 expression was detected in 8 patients (44%). The molecular aspect of IC and immunotherapy targeted on PD-1/PD-L1 axis in pediatric population may be a promising adjuvant therapy in pediatric glioblastoma multiform treatment, however, this subject requires further investigation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Effects of Seizures on Procedural Memory Performance in Patients with Epilepsy
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020261 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 384
Abstract
Memory complaints are frequently reported by patients with epilepsy and are associated with seizure occurrence. Yet, the direct effects of seizures on memory retention are difficult to assess given their unpredictability. Furthermore, previous investigations have predominantly assessed declarative memory. This study evaluated within-subject [...] Read more.
Memory complaints are frequently reported by patients with epilepsy and are associated with seizure occurrence. Yet, the direct effects of seizures on memory retention are difficult to assess given their unpredictability. Furthermore, previous investigations have predominantly assessed declarative memory. This study evaluated within-subject effects of seizure occurrence on retention and consolidation of a procedural motor sequence learning task in patients with epilepsy undergoing continuous monitoring for five consecutive days. Of the total sample of patients considered for analyses (N = 53, Mage = 32.92 ± 13.80 y, range = 18–66 y; 43% male), 15 patients experienced seizures and were used for within-patient analyses. Within-patient contrasts showed general improvements over seizure-free (day + night) and seizure-affected retention periods. Yet, exploratory within-subject contrasts for patients diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy (n = 10) showed that only seizure-free retention periods resulted in significant improvements, as no performance changes were observed following seizure-affected retention. These results indicate general performance improvements and offline consolidation of procedural memory during the day and night. Furthermore, these results suggest the relevance of healthy temporal lobe functioning for successful consolidation of procedural information, as well as the importance of seizure control for effective retention and consolidation of procedural memory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quantitative EEG and Cognitive Neuroscience)
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Open AccessArticle
Chronic Mild Unpredictable Stress and High-Fat Diet Given during Adolescence Impact Both Cognitive and Noncognitive Behaviors in Young Adult Mice
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020260 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 385
Abstract
Stress and diet are intricately linked, and they often interact in a negative fashion. Increases in stress can lead to poor food choices; adolescence is a period that is often accompanied by increased levels of stress. Stress and poor dietary choices can affect [...] Read more.
Stress and diet are intricately linked, and they often interact in a negative fashion. Increases in stress can lead to poor food choices; adolescence is a period that is often accompanied by increased levels of stress. Stress and poor dietary choices can affect learning and memory; it is important to understand their combined effects when occurring during crucial developmental periods. Here, we present evidence that chronic mild unpredictable stress (CMUS) and high-fat diet (HFD) impact both cognitive and noncognitive behaviors when assessed after four weeks of manipulation in four-week old mice. CMUS mice had increased anxiety in the open field test (OFT) (p = 0.01) and spent more time in the open arms of the elevated zero maze (EZM) (p < 0.01). HFD administration was shown to interact with CMUS to impair spatial memory in the Morris Water Maze (MWM) (p < 0.05). Stress and diet also led to disturbances in non-cognitive behaviors: CMUS led to significantly more burrowing (p < 0.05) and HFD administration led to the poorer nest construction (p < 0.05). These findings allow for researchers to assess how modifying lifestyle factors (including diet and stress) during adolescence can serve as a potential strategy to improve cognition in young adulthood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Behavioral Neuroscience)
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Open AccessArticle
Phytochemical Analysis, In Vitro Anticholinesterase, Antioxidant Activity and In Vivo Nootropic Effect of Ferula ammoniacum (Dorema ammoniacum) D. Don. in Scopolamine-Induced Memory Impairment in Mice
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020259 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 448
Abstract
Background: Ferula ammoniacum (D. Don) is one of the endemic medicinal plants that is traditionally used to treat a number of diseases. Although the plant has been used to enhance memory, the investigational evidence supporting the nootropic effect was unsubstantial. Hence, the rationale [...] Read more.
Background: Ferula ammoniacum (D. Don) is one of the endemic medicinal plants that is traditionally used to treat a number of diseases. Although the plant has been used to enhance memory, the investigational evidence supporting the nootropic effect was unsubstantial. Hence, the rationale for this study was to assess the potential beneficial effect of F. ammoniacum seed extracts on learning and memory in mice. Methods: The powdered plant samples (aerial parts) were subjected to extraction ad fractionation. Among the extracts, crude and ethyl acetate extracts were screened for major phytochemicals through HPLC analysis. All the extracts were evaluated for the in vitro anticholinesterase (AChE and BChE) and antioxidant potentials. Among the extracts the active fraction was further assessed for improving learning and memory in mice using behavioural tests like Y-maze and novel object recognition test (NORT) using standard protocols. After behavioural tests, all the animals were sacrificed and brains tissues were assessed for the ex vivo anticholinesterase and antioxidant potentials. Results: Phytochemicals like chlorogenic acid, quercetin, mandelic acid, phloroglucinol, hydroxy benzoic acid, malic acid, epigallocatechin gallate, ellagic acid, rutin, and pyrogallol were identified in crude methanolic extract (Fa.Met) and ethyl acetate fraction (Fa.EtAc) through HPLC. Fa.EtAc and Fa.Chf extracts more potently inhibited AChE and BChE with IC50 values of 40 and 43 µg/mL, and 41 and 42 µg/mL, respectively. Similarly highest free radical scavenging potential was exhibited by Fa.EtAc fraction against DPPH (IC50 = 100 µg/mL) and ABTS (IC50 = 120 µg/mL). The extract doses, 100 and 200 mg/kg body weight significantly (p < 0.01) improved the short-term memory by increasing the percent spontaneous alternation in the Y-maze test along with increasing discrimination index in the NORT that clearly indicated the enhancement in the recognition memory of mice. Conclusion: The extracts more potently scavenged the tested free radicals, exhibited anticholinesterase activities, improved the learning abilities and reduced the memory impairment induced by scopolamine in mice model thus suggesting that these extracts could be effectively used for the management of oxidative stress, neurodegenerative diseases and memory loss. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Behavioral Neuroscience)
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Open AccessReview
Exosomes as Emerging Biomarker Tools in Neurodegenerative and Neuropsychiatric Disorders—A Proteomics Perspective
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020258 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 657
Abstract
Exosomes are synthesized and secreted by different cell types and contain proteins, lipids, metabolites and RNA species that reflect the physiological status of the cell of origin. As such, exosomes are increasingly being used as a novel reservoir for disease biomarker discovery. However, [...] Read more.
Exosomes are synthesized and secreted by different cell types and contain proteins, lipids, metabolites and RNA species that reflect the physiological status of the cell of origin. As such, exosomes are increasingly being used as a novel reservoir for disease biomarker discovery. However, isolation of exosomes can be challenging due to their nonuniformity of shape and variable tissue of origin. Moreover, various analytical techniques used for protein detection and quantitation remain insensitive to the low amounts of protein isolated from exosomes. Despite these challenges, techniques to improve proteomic yield and increase protein dynamic range continue to improve at a rapid rate. In this review, we highlight the importance of exosome proteomics in neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders and the associated technical difficulties. Furthermore, current progress and technological advancements in exosome proteomics research are discussed with an emphasis on disease-associated protein biomarkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience)
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Open AccessPerspective
Interpersonal Motor Interactions Shape Multisensory Representations of the Peripersonal Space
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020255 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 669
Abstract
This perspective review focuses on the proposal that predictive multisensory integration occurring in one’s peripersonal space (PPS) supports individuals’ ability to efficiently interact with others, and that integrating sensorimotor signals from the interacting partners leads to the emergence of a shared representation of [...] Read more.
This perspective review focuses on the proposal that predictive multisensory integration occurring in one’s peripersonal space (PPS) supports individuals’ ability to efficiently interact with others, and that integrating sensorimotor signals from the interacting partners leads to the emergence of a shared representation of the PPS. To support this proposal, we first introduce the features of body and PPS representations that are relevant for interpersonal motor interactions. Then, we highlight the role of action planning and execution on the dynamic expansion of the PPS. We continue by presenting evidence of PPS modulations after tool use and review studies suggesting that PPS expansions may be accounted for by Bayesian sensory filtering through predictive coding. In the central section, we describe how this conceptual framework can be used to explain the mechanisms through which the PPS may be modulated by the actions of our interaction partner, in order to facilitate interpersonal coordination. Last, we discuss how this proposal may support recent evidence concerning PPS rigidity in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and its possible relationship with ASD individuals’ difficulties during interpersonal coordination. Future studies will need to clarify the mechanisms and neural underpinning of these dynamic, interpersonal modulations of the PPS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Unfavorable Dynamics of Platelet Reactivity during Clopidogrel Treatment Predict Severe Course and Poor Clinical Outcome of Ischemic Stroke
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020257 - 18 Feb 2021
Viewed by 334
Abstract
Background: Previous studies have revealed that high platelet reactivity while on clopidogrel may affect the severe course and worse prognosis of ischemic stroke. However, the above findings were based on a single measurement of platelet function. We aimed to investigate whether the dynamics [...] Read more.
Background: Previous studies have revealed that high platelet reactivity while on clopidogrel may affect the severe course and worse prognosis of ischemic stroke. However, the above findings were based on a single measurement of platelet function. We aimed to investigate whether the dynamics of platelet reactivity over time would more accurately determine its actual impact on clinical outcome. Methods: We enrolled 74 ischemic stroke subjects, taking a dose of 75 mg a day of clopidogrel to this prospective, single-center, and observational study. The determination of platelet function was based on the impedance aggregometry 6–12 h after the first dose of clopidogrel and 48 h later. We defined a favorable dynamics of platelet reactivity as a decrease in values at least equal to the median obtained in the entire study. The clinical condition was assessed by the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale on the first, third, and ninetieth days and the functional status by modified Rankin Scale, respectively. Results: A favorable dynamics of platelet reactivity was associated with the mild clinical condition and favorable functional status, both early and late. Early neurological deterioration was related to unfavorable dynamics of platelet reactivity over time. In multivariate regression models, we found that unfavorable dynamics of platelet reactivity, alone and combined with a high baseline value of platelet reactivity, is an independent predictor of a severe clinical condition, the risk of deterioration, and poor early and late prognosis. Conclusion: We highlighted that dynamics of platelet reactivity over time predict the clinical course and prognosis of stroke better than a single value. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Forefront Users’ Experience Evaluation by Employing Together Virtual Reality and Electroencephalography: A Case Study on Cognitive Effects of Scents
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020256 - 18 Feb 2021
Viewed by 440
Abstract
Scents have the ability to affect peoples’ mental states and task performance with to different extents. It has been widely demonstrated that the lemon scent, included in most all-purpose cleaners, elicits stimulation and activation, while the lavender scent elicits relaxation and sedative effects. [...] Read more.
Scents have the ability to affect peoples’ mental states and task performance with to different extents. It has been widely demonstrated that the lemon scent, included in most all-purpose cleaners, elicits stimulation and activation, while the lavender scent elicits relaxation and sedative effects. The present study aimed at investigating and fostering a novel approach to evaluate users’ experience with respect to scents’ effects through the joint employment of Virtual Reality and users’ neurophysiological monitoring, in particular Electroencephalography. In particular, this study, involving 42 participants, aimed to compare the effects of lemon and lavender scents on the deployment of cognitive resources during a daily life experience consisting in a train journey carried out in virtual reality. Our findings showed a significant higher request of cognitive resources during the processing of an informative message for subjects exposed to the lavender scent with respect to the lemon exposure. No differences were found between lemon and lavender conditions on the self-reported items of pleasantness and involvement; as this study demonstrated, the employment of the lavender scent preserves the quality of the customer experience to the same extent as the more widely used lemon scent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Plasticity, Cognitive Training and Mental States Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
Corticomuscular Coherence and Motor Control Adaptations after Isometric Maximal Strength Training
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020254 - 18 Feb 2021
Viewed by 557
Abstract
Strength training (ST) induces corticomuscular adaptations leading to enhanced strength. ST alters the agonist and antagonist muscle activations, which changes the motor control, i.e., force production stability and accuracy. This study evaluated the alteration of corticomuscular communication and motor control through the quantification [...] Read more.
Strength training (ST) induces corticomuscular adaptations leading to enhanced strength. ST alters the agonist and antagonist muscle activations, which changes the motor control, i.e., force production stability and accuracy. This study evaluated the alteration of corticomuscular communication and motor control through the quantification of corticomuscular coherence (CMC) and absolute (AE) and variable error (VE) of the force production throughout a 3 week Maximal Strength Training (MST) intervention specifically designed to strengthen ankle plantarflexion (PF). Evaluation sessions with electroencephalography, electromyography, and torque recordings were conducted pre-training, 1 week after the training initiation, then post-training. Training effect was evaluated over the maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVIC), the submaximal torque production, AE and VE, muscle activation, and CMC changes during submaximal contractions at 20% of the initial and daily MVIC. MVIC increased significantly throughout the training completion. For submaximal contractions, agonist muscle activation decreased over time only for the initial torque level while antagonist muscle activation, AE, and VE decreased over time for each torque level. CMC remained unaltered by the MST. Our results revealed that neurophysiological adaptations are noticeable as soon as 1 week post-training. However, CMC remained unaltered by MST, suggesting that central motor adaptations may take longer to be translated into CMC alteration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Relationship between Cortical Activity and Physical Activity)
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Open AccessArticle
Specific Behavioral Responses Rather Than Autonomic Responses Can Indicate and Quantify Acute Pain among Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020253 - 18 Feb 2021
Viewed by 361
Abstract
Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are at a high risk of experiencing pain. Pain management requires assessment, a challenging mission considering the impaired communication skills in IDD. We analyzed subjective and objective responses following calibrated experimental stimuli to determine whether they [...] Read more.
Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are at a high risk of experiencing pain. Pain management requires assessment, a challenging mission considering the impaired communication skills in IDD. We analyzed subjective and objective responses following calibrated experimental stimuli to determine whether they can differentiate between painful and non-painful states, and adequately quantify pain among individuals with IDD. Eighteen adults with IDD and 21 healthy controls (HC) received experimental pressure stimuli (innocuous, mildly noxious, and moderately noxious). Facial expressions (analyzed with the Facial Action Coding System (FACS)) and autonomic function (heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), pulse, and galvanic skin response (GSR)) were continuously monitored, and self-reports using a pyramid and a numeric scale were obtained. Significant stimulus-response relationships were observed for the FACS and pyramid scores (but not for the numeric scores), and specific action units could differentiate between the noxious levels among the IDD group. FACS scores of the IDD group were higher and steeper than those of HC. HRV was overall lower among the IDD group, and GSR increased during noxious stimulation in both groups. In conclusion, the facial expressions and self-reports seem to reliably detect and quantify pain among individuals with mild-moderate IDD; their enhanced responses may indicate increased pain sensitivity that requires careful clinical consideration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pain Assessment in Impaired Cognition)
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Open AccessArticle
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of the Right Superior Parietal Lobule Modulates the Retro-Cue Benefit in Visual Short-Term Memory
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020252 - 18 Feb 2021
Viewed by 400
Abstract
Several studies have shown enhanced performance in change detection tasks when spatial cues indicating the probe’s location are presented after the memory array has disappeared (i.e., retro-cues) compared with spatial cues that are presented simultaneously with the test array (i.e., post-cues). This retro-cue [...] Read more.
Several studies have shown enhanced performance in change detection tasks when spatial cues indicating the probe’s location are presented after the memory array has disappeared (i.e., retro-cues) compared with spatial cues that are presented simultaneously with the test array (i.e., post-cues). This retro-cue benefit led some authors to propose the existence of two different stores of visual short-term memory: a weak but high-capacity store (fragile memory (FM)) linked to the effect of retro-cues and a robust but low-capacity store (working memory (WM)) linked to the effect of post-cues. The former is thought to be an attention-free system, whereas the latter would strictly depend on selective attention. Nonetheless, this dissociation is under debate, and several authors do not consider retro-cues as a proxy to measure the existence of an independent memory system (e.g., FM). We approached this controversial issue by altering the attention-related functions in the right superior parietal lobule (SPL) by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), whose effects were mediated by the integrity of the right superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF). Specifically, we asked whether TMS on the SPL affected the performance of retro cues vs. post-cues to a similar extent. The results showed that TMS on the SPL, mediated by right SLF-III integrity, produced a modulation of the retro-cue benefit, namely a memory capacity decrease in the post-cues but not in the retro-cues. These findings have strong implications for the debate on the existence of independent stages of visual short-term memory and for the growing literature showing a key role of the SLF for explaining the variability of TMS effects across participants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Behavioral Neuroscience)
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Open AccessSystematic Review
Parkinson’s Disease in Romania: A Scoping Review Protocol
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020251 - 17 Feb 2021
Viewed by 565
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a significant cause of disability, with a fast-growing prevalence. This review will summarize the epidemiological and clinical data in Romania and the interventions and diagnostic approaches used in this Eastern European country. This scoping review will primarily follow the [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a significant cause of disability, with a fast-growing prevalence. This review will summarize the epidemiological and clinical data in Romania and the interventions and diagnostic approaches used in this Eastern European country. This scoping review will primarily follow the recommendations on the scoping review methodology made by the Joanna Briggs Institute. In order to answer our research questions, we will search four databases using appropriate search terms. We will use pre-defined inclusion criteria and the data of eligible studies will be extracted in a standardized form. Results will be reported following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR). The proposed scoping review will map the evidence on PD in Romania through a literature review, focusing on epidemiology, clinical characteristics, interventions, and diagnosis, contributing to PD research advancement. We will provide information for policy-makers, public health specialists, and clinicians. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue At the Frontiers in Movement Disorders: In Romania)
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