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Brain Sci., Volume 13, Issue 8 (August 2023) – 107 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Delayed intracranial hemorrhage is a rare kind of hemorrhagic complication following ventricular drainage procedures, occurring more than 48 hours after surgery. Though their pathophysiology remains unclear, a higher incidence has been demonstrated in patients with cerebrovascular diseases. We explore this unusual complication in a retrospective series of ten patients treated for chronic hydrocephalus after rupture of a brain arteriovenous malformation. Our series confirmed the poor prognosis of this complication, as four of our patients died, whereas three needed surgical management and the remaining three improved gradually with conservative management. These reports raise questions regarding the ideal management of hydrocephalus in patients with a history of AVM rupture. View this paper
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15 pages, 933 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Intradialytic Cognitive and Physical Training Program on the Physical and Cognitive Abilities in End-Stage Kidney Disease Patients: A Randomized Clinical Controlled Trial
by Aljaž Kren and Špela Bogataj
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1228; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081228 - 21 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1369
Abstract
Background: Hemodialysis (HD) patients have lower cognitive functioning and reduced physical fitness than age-matched healthy individuals. Clinicians typically do not recognize the declining cognitive performance in these patients; therefore, cognitive impairment is greatly underestimated and not appropriately treated. This study aimed to evaluate [...] Read more.
Background: Hemodialysis (HD) patients have lower cognitive functioning and reduced physical fitness than age-matched healthy individuals. Clinicians typically do not recognize the declining cognitive performance in these patients; therefore, cognitive impairment is greatly underestimated and not appropriately treated. This study aimed to evaluate the impact on cognitive function of combining cognitive training with physical exercise and physical performance in HD patients. Methods: Using a randomized, single-blinded control design, forty-four HD patients were recruited and randomly assigned to either an intradialytic physical exercise and cognitive training program (EXP group; n = 22; 54% male; 65.7 ± 9.7 years; 77.1 ± 21.9 kg; body mass index 26.8 ± 6.0) or a standard care control group (CON group; n = 21; 77% male; 67.2 ± 12.5 years; 74.2 ± 14.3 kg; body mass index 25.9 ± 3.8). The EXP group performed intradialytic cycling and cognitive training three days per week for 12 weeks. Study outcomes were assessed by the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), 10-repetition sit-to-stand test (10-STS), handgrip strength test (HGS), and stork balance test. Results: The results showed a significant time*group interaction effect for SDMT (p < 0.001; η2 = 0.267) and MoCA (p < 0.001; η2 = 0.266). Moreover, no significant interaction was observed for 10-STS, HGS, and stork balance test (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that incorporating intradialytic cognitive and physical exercise training could help to improve the functional status of HD patients. The innovative, nonpharmacological, bimodal intervention is cost-effective, safe, and easy to implement during the intradialytic period and offers a potential impact on patients’ quality of life and well-being. Full article
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10 pages, 2135 KiB  
Case Report
The Pathogenesis of Disinhibition in Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury: A Two Patient Case Report
by Takashi Hiraoka and Masami Yagi
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1227; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081227 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1213
Abstract
Higher brain dysfunction commonly occurs following traumatic brain injury (TBI), and may manifest in a social behavioral impairment which can significantly impede active social participation. We report two cases, one of voyeurism and the second of alcohol abuse, which might have been caused [...] Read more.
Higher brain dysfunction commonly occurs following traumatic brain injury (TBI), and may manifest in a social behavioral impairment which can significantly impede active social participation. We report two cases, one of voyeurism and the second of alcohol abuse, which might have been caused by TBI resulting in disinhibition, a type of social behavioral impairment. We discuss the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms to raise awareness of such cases and aid the development of effective interventions. Patient 1 suffered a TBI at 18 years of age, 2 years after which he presented repeated episodes of sexually deviant behavior (voyeurism). At 28, he committed suicide, since he was unable to control his aberrant behavior. Patient 2 suffered a TBI at the age of 13. He first displayed problematic behavior 7 years later, which included drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and stealing while inebriated. Despite both patients having sound moral judgment, they had irrational and uncontrollable impulses of desire. Imaging findings could explain the possible causes of impulse control impairments. Damage to the basal ganglia and limbic system, which are involved in social behavior, presumably led to desire-dominated behavior, leading to the patients conducting unlawful acts despite intact moral judgment. It is crucial to educate society about the prevalence of these disorders, explain how these disinhibitions start, and develop effective interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Behavioral Neuroscience)
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23 pages, 1205 KiB  
Review
Emerging Paradigms in Inflammatory Disease Management: Exploring Bioactive Compounds and the Gut Microbiota
by Tarek Benameur, Chiara Porro, Mohammed-Elfatih Twfieg, Nassima Benameur, Maria Antonietta Panaro, Francesca Martina Filannino and Abeir Hasan
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1226; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081226 - 21 Aug 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1850
Abstract
The human gut microbiota is a complex ecosystem of mutualistic microorganisms that play a critical role in maintaining human health through their individual interactions and with the host. The normal gastrointestinal microbiota plays a specific physiological function in host immunomodulation, nutrient metabolism, vitamin [...] Read more.
The human gut microbiota is a complex ecosystem of mutualistic microorganisms that play a critical role in maintaining human health through their individual interactions and with the host. The normal gastrointestinal microbiota plays a specific physiological function in host immunomodulation, nutrient metabolism, vitamin synthesis, xenobiotic and drug metabolism, maintenance of structural and functional integrity of the gut mucosal barrier, and protection against various pathogens. Inflammation is the innate immune response of living tissues to injury and damage caused by infections, physical and chemical trauma, immunological factors, and genetic derangements. Most diseases are associated with an underlying inflammatory process, with inflammation mediated through the contribution of active immune cells. Current strategies to control inflammatory pathways include pharmaceutical drugs, lifestyle, and dietary changes. However, this remains insufficient. Bioactive compounds (BCs) are nutritional constituents found in small quantities in food and plant extracts that provide numerous health benefits beyond their nutritional value. BCs are known for their antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticarcinogenic, anti-metabolic syndrome, and anti-inflammatory properties. Bioactive compounds have been shown to reduce the destructive effect of inflammation on tissues by inhibiting or modulating the effects of inflammatory mediators, offering hope for patients suffering from chronic inflammatory disorders like atherosclerosis, arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. The aim of the present review is to summarise the role of natural bioactive compounds in modulating inflammation and protecting human health, for their safety to preserve gut microbiota and improve their physiology and behaviour. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Nutritional Neuroscience)
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13 pages, 1550 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation on Fatigue Resistance
by Kayla A. De Guzman, Richard J. Young, Valentino Contini, Eliza Clinton, Ashley Hitchcock, Zachary A. Riley and Brach Poston
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1225; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081225 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1064
Abstract
Previous research has shown that some forms of non-invasive brain stimulation can increase fatigue resistance. The purpose of this study is to determine the influence of transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) on the time to task failure (TTF) of a precision grip task. [...] Read more.
Previous research has shown that some forms of non-invasive brain stimulation can increase fatigue resistance. The purpose of this study is to determine the influence of transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) on the time to task failure (TTF) of a precision grip task. The study utilized a randomized, double-blind, SHAM-controlled, within-subjects design. Twenty-six young adults completed two experimental sessions (tACS and SHAM) with a 7-day washout period between sessions. Each session involved a fatiguing isometric contraction of the right hand with a precision grip with either a tACS or SHAM stimulation applied to the primary motor cortex (M1) simultaneously. For the fatiguing contraction, the participants matched an isometric target force of 20% of the maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) force until task failure. Pre- and post-MVCs were performed to quantify the force decline due to fatigue. Accordingly, the dependent variables were the TTF and MVC force decline as well as the average EMG activity, force error, and standard deviation (SD) of force during the fatiguing contractions. The results indicate that there were no significant differences in any of the dependent variables between the tACS and SHAM conditions (p value range: 0.256–0.820). These findings suggest that tACS does not increase the TTF during fatiguing contractions in young adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sensory and Motor Neuroscience)
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17 pages, 4640 KiB  
Article
Metabolomics Analysis of DRG and Serum in the CCI Model of Mice
by Kaimei Lu, Bin Fang, Yuqi Liu, Fangxia Xu, Chengcheng Zhou, Lijuan Wang, Lianhua Chen and Lina Huang
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1224; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081224 - 21 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1362
Abstract
Neuropathic pain (NP) is a chronic and intractable disease that is widely present in the general population. It causes painful behavior and even mood changes such as anxiety and depression by altering the metabolism of substances. However, there have been limited metabolomics studies [...] Read more.
Neuropathic pain (NP) is a chronic and intractable disease that is widely present in the general population. It causes painful behavior and even mood changes such as anxiety and depression by altering the metabolism of substances. However, there have been limited metabolomics studies conducted in relation to neuropathic pain. Therefore, in this study, the effects of NP on metabolites in serum and the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) were investigated using a non-targeted metabolomics approach detected by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) to uncover differential metabolites and affected metabolic pathways associated with NP. Sixty mice were divided into the following two groups: a chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve group and a sham group (n = 30, each). After 7 days of CCI modeling, the metabolite profiles of serum and the DRG were analyzed using GC/LC-MS for both the CCI and sham groups of mice. Multivariate analysis revealed differential metabolites and altered metabolic pathways between the CCI and sham groups. In the CCI group, our findings provided insights into the complex phospholipid, amino acid and acylcarnitine metabolic perturbations of DRG metabolism. In addition, phospholipid metabolic disorders and impaired glucose metabolism were observed in the serum. Moreover, the metabolic differences in the DRG and serum were correlated with each other. The results from this untargeted metabolomics study provide a perspective on the metabolic impact of NP on serum and the DRG. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience)
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12 pages, 727 KiB  
Article
Elevated Plasma Levels of Mature Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Major Depressive Disorder Patients with Higher Suicidal Ideation
by Haimei Li, Miaomiao Zhao, Chaonan Jiang, Haoyang Zhao, Congchong Wu, Ying Li, Shiyi Zhang, Pengfeng Xu, Tingting Mou, Yi Xu and Manli Huang
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1223; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081223 - 21 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1276
Abstract
Several pieces of evidence show that signaling via brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor, tropomycin receptor kinase B (TrkB), as well as inflammation, play a crucial part in the pathophysiology of depression. The purpose of our study was to evaluate plasma levels [...] Read more.
Several pieces of evidence show that signaling via brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor, tropomycin receptor kinase B (TrkB), as well as inflammation, play a crucial part in the pathophysiology of depression. The purpose of our study was to evaluate plasma levels of BDNF-TrkB signaling, which are inflammatory factors in major depressive disorder (MDD) patients, and assess their associations with clinical performance. This study recruited a total sample of 83 MDD patients and 93 healthy controls (CON). All the participants were tested with the Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD), the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation, and the NEO Five-Factor Inventory. The plasma level of selected BDNF-TrkB signaling components (mature BDNF (mBDNF), precursor BDNF (proBDNF), tyrosine kinase B (TrkB), and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)) and selected inflammatory factors (interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)) were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Further, we performed correlation analysis to indicate the relationship between the plasma levels of the factors and clinical characteristics. Results: (i) A higher level of mBDNF and lower openness were observed in MDD patients with higher suicidal ideation than patients with lower suicidal ideation. (ii) In MDD patients, mBDNF was positively correlated with the sum score of the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (BSS). (iii) The levels of mBDNF, tPA, IL-1 β and IL-6 were significantly higher in all MDD subjects compared to the healthy controls, while the levels of TrkB and proBDNF were lower in MDD subjects. Conclusion: Our study provides novel insights regarding the potential role of mBDNF in the neurobiology of the association between depression and suicidal ideation and, in particular, the relationship between BDNF-TrkB signaling, inflammatory factors, and clinical characteristics in MDD. Full article
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18 pages, 6695 KiB  
Article
Screening for Mild Cognitive Impairment with Speech Interaction Based on Virtual Reality and Wearable Devices
by Ruixuan Wu, Aoyu Li, Chen Xue, Jiali Chai, Yan Qiang, Juanjuan Zhao and Long Wang
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1222; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081222 - 21 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1756
Abstract
Significant advances in sensor technology and virtual reality (VR) offer new possibilities for early and effective detection of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and this wealth of data can improve the early detection and monitoring of patients. In this study, we proposed a non-invasive [...] Read more.
Significant advances in sensor technology and virtual reality (VR) offer new possibilities for early and effective detection of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and this wealth of data can improve the early detection and monitoring of patients. In this study, we proposed a non-invasive and effective MCI detection protocol based on electroencephalogram (EEG), speech, and digitized cognitive parameters. The EEG data, speech data, and digitized cognitive parameters of 86 participants (44 MCI patients and 42 healthy individuals) were monitored using a wearable EEG device and a VR device during the resting state and task (the VR-based language task we designed). Regarding the features selected under different modality combinations for all language tasks, we performed leave-one-out cross-validation for them using four different classifiers. We then compared the classification performance under multimodal data fusion using features from a single language task, features from all tasks, and using a weighted voting strategy, respectively. The experimental results showed that the collaborative screening of multimodal data yielded the highest classification performance compared to single-modal features. Among them, the SVM classifier using the RBF kernel obtained the best classification results with an accuracy of 87%. The overall classification performance was further improved using a weighted voting strategy with an accuracy of 89.8%, indicating that our proposed method can tap into the cognitive changes of MCI patients. The MCI detection scheme based on EEG, speech, and digital cognitive parameters proposed in this study provides a new direction and support for effective MCI detection, and suggests that VR and wearable devices will be a promising direction for easy-to-perform and effective MCI detection, offering new possibilities for the exploration of VR technology in the field of language cognition. Full article
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17 pages, 544 KiB  
Review
Can Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Be Considered a Biomarker for Bipolar Disorder? An Analysis of the Current Evidence
by Gianmarco De Felice, Mario Luciano, Alessia Boiano, Giulia Colangelo, Pierluigi Catapano, Bianca Della Rocca, Maria Vita Lapadula, Elena Piegari, Claudia Toni and Andrea Fiorillo
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1221; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081221 - 20 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1217
Abstract
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays a key role in brain development, contributing to neuronal survival and neuroplasticity. Previous works have found that BDNF is involved in several neurological or psychiatric diseases. In this review, we aimed to collect all available data on BDNF [...] Read more.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays a key role in brain development, contributing to neuronal survival and neuroplasticity. Previous works have found that BDNF is involved in several neurological or psychiatric diseases. In this review, we aimed to collect all available data on BDNF and bipolar disorder (BD) and assess if BDNF could be considered a biomarker for BD. We searched the most relevant medical databases and included studies reporting original data on BDNF circulating levels or Val66Met polymorphism. Only articles including a direct comparison with healthy controls (HC) and patients diagnosed with BD according to international classification systems were included. Of the 2430 identified articles, 29 were included in the present review. Results of the present review show a reduction in BDNF circulating levels during acute phases of BD compared to HC, which increase after effective therapy of the disorders. The Val66Met polymorphism was related to features usually associated with worse outcomes. High heterogeneity has been observed regarding sample size, clinical differences of included patients, and data analysis approaches, reducing comparisons among studies. Although more studies are needed, BDNF seems to be a promising biomarker for BD. Full article
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12 pages, 1013 KiB  
Article
Prediction of 3-Year Survival in Patients with Cognitive Impairment Based on Demographics, Neuropsychological Data, and Comorbidities: A Prospective Cohort Study
by Dianxia Xing, Lihua Chen, Wenbo Zhang, Qingjie Yi, Hong Huang, Jiani Wu, Weihua Yu and Yang Lü
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1220; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081220 - 19 Aug 2023
Viewed by 776
Abstract
Objectives: Based on readily available demographic data, neuropsychological assessment results, and comorbidity data, we aimed to develop and validate a 3-year survival prediction model for patients with cognitive impairment. Methods: In this prospective cohort study, 616 patients with cognitive impairment were included. Demographic [...] Read more.
Objectives: Based on readily available demographic data, neuropsychological assessment results, and comorbidity data, we aimed to develop and validate a 3-year survival prediction model for patients with cognitive impairment. Methods: In this prospective cohort study, 616 patients with cognitive impairment were included. Demographic information, data on comorbidities, and scores of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) scale, and Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire were collected. Survival status was determined via telephone interviews and further verified in the official death register in the third year. A 7:3 ratio was used to divide patients into the training and validation sets. Variables with statistical significance (p < 0.05) in the single-factor analysis were incorporated into the binary logistic regression model. A nomogram was constructed according to multivariate analysis and validated. Results: The final cohort included 587 patients, of whom 525 (89.44%) survived and 62 (10.56%) died. Younger age, higher MMSE score, lower IADL score, absence of disinhibition, and Charlson comorbidity index score ≤ 1 were all associated with 3-year survival. These predictors yielded good discrimination with C-indices of 0.80 (0.73–0.87) and 0.85 (0.77–0.94) in the training and validation cohorts, respectively. According to the Hosmer–Lemeshow test results, neither cohort displayed any statistical significance, and calibration curves displayed a good match between predictions and results. Conclusions: Our study provided further insight into the factors contributing to the survival of patients with cognitive impairment. Clinical Implications: Our model showed good accuracy and discrimination ability, and it can be used at community hospitals or primary care facilities that lack sophisticated equipment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuropsychology)
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10 pages, 4135 KiB  
Article
Individualized Vibrotactile Neurofeedback Training in Patients with Chronic Bilateral Vestibulopathy
by Dietmar Basta, Marcos Rossi-Izquierdo, Kai Wonneberger, Cibele Brugnera, Roseli Saraiva Moreira Bittar, Mário Edvin Greters, Arne Ernst and Andrés Soto-Varela
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1219; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081219 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 999
Abstract
Patients with bilateral vestibulopathy (BVP) suffer from postural imbalance during daily life conditions, which in turn leads to a high frequency of falls. Unfortunately, vestibular rehabilitation has only modest and somewhat inconsistent effects in this patient group. Approximately 50% of BVP patients show [...] Read more.
Patients with bilateral vestibulopathy (BVP) suffer from postural imbalance during daily life conditions, which in turn leads to a high frequency of falls. Unfortunately, vestibular rehabilitation has only modest and somewhat inconsistent effects in this patient group. Approximately 50% of BVP patients show an improved postural control after conventional vestibular rehabilitation training. New and more promising approaches are required. The individualized vibrotactile neurofeedback training (IVNT) in stance and gait conditions has already been described as highly effective in patients with various vestibular disorders. The purpose of the present multicenter study was to determine the efficacy of the IVNT in improving balance, reducing self-perceived disability, and improving gait in patients with confirmed BVP. In total, 22 patients performed the IVNT with the Vertiguard® system for 10 daily sessions. The dizziness handicap inventory (DHI), the stance stability score of the sensory organization test (SOT) and the score for everyday life mobility in stance and gait tasks (SBDT) were obtained immediately before and after the rehabilitation training period, as well as 3 and 12 months later. All measures improved significantly after the IVNT. Between 77.3% and 94.4% of patients showed an individual benefit (depending on outcome measure). The effect was not significantly reduced within the follow-up period of 12 months. The results demonstrate a high efficacy of the IVNT for vestibular rehabilitation in BVP patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuro-otology and Neuro-ophthalmology)
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13 pages, 2169 KiB  
Article
Altered Estrous Cyclicity and Feeding Neurocircuitry, but Not Cardiovascular Indices in Female Offspring from Dams with Previous Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery
by Seth Johnson, Taylor N. Welch, Nandini Aravindan, Redin A. Spann, Bradley A. Welch and Bernadette E. Grayson
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1218; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081218 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1168
Abstract
Metabolic syndrome (MetS), which includes obesity, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and fatty-liver disease, affects more than two-thirds of the U.S. population. Surgical weight loss has been popularized in the last several decades as a means to produce significant weight loss and improvements in the [...] Read more.
Metabolic syndrome (MetS), which includes obesity, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and fatty-liver disease, affects more than two-thirds of the U.S. population. Surgical weight loss has been popularized in the last several decades as a means to produce significant weight loss and improvements in the comorbidities of MetS. Women are by far the most common recipients of these surgeries (more than 85%). Women of childbearing age are very likely to pursue surgical weight loss to improve their reproductive function and fertility for childbearing purposes. Significant research using pre-clinical models from our laboratory and clinical data from around the world suggest that surgical weight loss before pregnancy may have negative consequences for offspring. The present study investigates the metabolic endpoints in female-rodent offspring born to dams who had previously received vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) before pregnancy. Comparisons were made to offspring from lean and obese dams. In the adult offspring of either maternal VSG or sham surgery, no differences in body weight, body fat, or lean body mass between groups were identified. The blood pressure measured in a subset of female offspring showed no differences between the VSG and the sham groups. Estrus cyclicity measured by lavage on serial days showed altered cycles in the VSG offspring compared to the controls. For animals that had previously only been exposed to chow, rats were fasted overnight and then given a 1 g meal of either chow or a novel high-fat diet (HFD). The animals were euthanized and paraformaldehyde (PFA)-perfused to perform brain immunohistochemistry for c-Fos, an immediate–early gene activated by novel stimuli. In the VSG rats exposed to either the chow or the HFD meal, the c-Fos-activated cells were significantly blunted in the nucleus of the solitary tract (p < 0.05), the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN) (p < 0.05), and the dorsal medial nucleus of the hypothalamus (DMH) (p < 0.05) in comparison to the sham controls. These data suggest that the hypothalamic wiring within the brain that controls the response to nutrients and reproductive function was significantly altered in the VSG offspring compared to the offspring of the dams that did not receive weight-loss surgery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Nutritional Neuroscience)
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13 pages, 2648 KiB  
Article
The Potential of Gut Microbiota in Prediction of Stroke-Associated Pneumonia
by Zhongyuan Li, Mengmeng Gu, Huanhuan Sun, Xiangliang Chen, Junshan Zhou and Yingdong Zhang
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1217; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081217 - 17 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1205
Abstract
Background: Stroke-associated pneumonia (SAP) is a common stroke complication, and the changes in the gut microbiota composition may play a role. Our study aimed to evaluate the predictive ability of gut microbiota for SAP. Methods: Acute ischemic stroke patients were prospectively enrolled and [...] Read more.
Background: Stroke-associated pneumonia (SAP) is a common stroke complication, and the changes in the gut microbiota composition may play a role. Our study aimed to evaluate the predictive ability of gut microbiota for SAP. Methods: Acute ischemic stroke patients were prospectively enrolled and divided into two groups based on the presence or absence of SAP. The composition of gut microbiota was characterized by the 16S RNA Miseq sequencing. The gut microbiota that differed significantly between groups were incorporated into the conventional risk scores, the Acute Ischemic Stroke-Associated Pneumonia Score (AIS-APS), and the Age, Atrial fibrillation, Dysphagia, Sex, Stroke Severity Score (A2DS2). The predictive performances were assessed in terms of the area under the curve (AUC), the Net Reclassification Improvement (NRI), and the Integrated Discrimination Improvement (IDI) indices. Results: A total of 135 patients were enrolled, of whom 43 had SAP (31%). The short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)-producing bacteria, such as Bacteroides, Fusicatenibacter, and Butyricicoccus, were decreased in the SAP group. The integrated models showed better predictive ability for SAP (AUC = 0.813, NRI = 0.333, p = 0.052, IDI = 0.038, p = 0.018, for AIS-APS; AUC = 0.816, NRI = 0.575, p < 0.001, IDI = 0.043, p = 0.007, for A2DS2) in comparison to the differential genera (AUC = 0.699) and each predictive score (AUCAISAPS = 0.777; AUCA2DS2 = 0.777). Conclusions: The lower abundance of SCFAs-producing gut microbiota after acute ischemic stroke was associated with SAP and may play a role in SAP prediction. Full article
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22 pages, 441 KiB  
Systematic Review
Early Maladaptive Schemas and Schema Modes among People with Histories of Suicidality and the Possibility of a Universal Pattern: A Systematic Review
by Anna Grażka and Dominik Strzelecki
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1216; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081216 - 17 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1881
Abstract
Background: The identification of variables affecting suicidality and the search for interventions to reduce suicide risk are priorities among mental health researchers. A promising direction for such research is schema therapy and its two main constructs, i.e., early maladaptive schemas (EMSs) and schema [...] Read more.
Background: The identification of variables affecting suicidality and the search for interventions to reduce suicide risk are priorities among mental health researchers. A promising direction for such research is schema therapy and its two main constructs, i.e., early maladaptive schemas (EMSs) and schema modes. Methods: This systematic review was designed in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. It summarizes the studies conducted to date that describe the relationship between EMSs and schema modes and measures of suicidality in individuals over the age of 16. Results: The review confirmed that there are many significant associations between EMSs (especially from the Disconnection/Rejection domain) and suicide risk. Although only one study was found that explores the association between schema modes and suicidality, the correlations it identified are also confirmed here. Discussion: The results show the unquestionable importance of EMSs and schema modes in assessing suicide risk. The co-occurrence of these variables represents the first step in further assessing causality and introducing schema therapy techniques into work with patients who are at risk of suicide. This issue requires more extensive experimental research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Linkage among Cognition, Emotion and Behavior)
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16 pages, 7122 KiB  
Article
A New Perspective on the Cavernous Sinus as Seen through Multiple Surgical Corridors: Anatomical Study Comparing the Transorbital, Endonasal, and Transcranial Routes and the Relative Coterminous Spatial Regions
by Sergio Corvino, Pedro L. Villanueva-Solórzano, Martina Offi, Daniele Armocida, Motonobu Nonaka, Giorgio Iaconetta, Felice Esposito, Luigi Maria Cavallo and Matteo de Notaris
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1215; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081215 - 17 Aug 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1349
Abstract
Background: The cavernous sinus (CS) is a highly vulnerable anatomical space, mainly due to the neurovascular structures that it contains; therefore, a detailed knowledge of its anatomy is mandatory for surgical unlocking. In this study, we compared the anatomy of this region [...] Read more.
Background: The cavernous sinus (CS) is a highly vulnerable anatomical space, mainly due to the neurovascular structures that it contains; therefore, a detailed knowledge of its anatomy is mandatory for surgical unlocking. In this study, we compared the anatomy of this region from different endoscopic and microsurgical operative corridors, further focusing on the corresponding anatomic landmarks encountered along these routes. Furthermore, we tried to define the safe entry zones to this venous space from these three different operative corridors, and to provide indications regarding the optimal approach according to the lesion’s location. Methods: Five embalmed and injected adult cadaveric specimens (10 sides) separately underwent dissection and exposure of the CS via superior eyelid endoscopic transorbital (SETOA), extended endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal-transethmoidal (EEEA), and microsurgical transcranial fronto-temporo-orbito-zygomatic (FTOZ) approaches. The anatomical landmarks and the content of this venous space were described and compared from these surgical perspectives. Results: The oculomotor triangle can be clearly exposed only by the FTOZ approach. Unlike EEEA, for the exposure of the clinoid triangle content, the anterior clinoid process removal is required for FTOZ and SETOA. The supra- and infratrochlear as well as the anteromedial and anterolateral triangles can be exposed by all three corridors. The most recently introduced SETOA allowed for the exposure of the entire lateral wall of the CS without entering its neurovascular structures and part of the posterior wall; furthermore, thanks to its anteroposterior trajectory, it allowed for the disclosure of the posterior ascending segment of the cavernous ICA with the related sympathetic plexus through the Mullan’s triangle, in a minimally invasive fashion. Through the anterolateral triangle, the transorbital corridor allowed us to expose the lateral 180 degrees of the Vidian nerve and artery in the homonymous canal, the anterolateral aspect of the lacerum segment of the ICA at the transition zone from the petrous horizontal to the ascending posterior cavernous segment, surrounded by the carotid sympathetic plexus, and the medial Meckel’s cave. Conclusions: Different regions of the cavernous sinus are better exposed by different surgical corridors. The relationship of the tumor with cranial nerves in the lateral wall guides the selection of the approach to cavernous sinus lesions. The transorbital endoscopic approach can be considered to be a safe and minimally invasive complementary surgical corridor to the well-established transcranial and endoscopic endonasal routes for the exposure of selected lesions of the cavernous sinus. Nevertheless, peer knowledge of the anatomy and a surgical learning curve are required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Skull Base Tumor Surgery: The Practical Pearls)
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18 pages, 3745 KiB  
Article
Cognitive Skills and DNA Methylation Are Correlating in Healthy and Novice College Students Practicing Preksha Dhyāna Meditation
by Bassam Abomoelak, Ray Prather, Samani U. Pragya, Samani C. Pragya, Neelam D. Mehta, Parvin Uddin, Pushya Veeramachaneni, Naina Mehta, Amanda Young, Saumya Kapoor and Devendra Mehta
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1214; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081214 - 17 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1261
Abstract
The impact of different meditation protocols on human health is explored at the cognitive and cellular levels. Preksha Dhyana meditation has been observed to seemingly affect the cognitive performance, transcriptome, and methylome of healthy and novice participant practitioners. In this study, we performed [...] Read more.
The impact of different meditation protocols on human health is explored at the cognitive and cellular levels. Preksha Dhyana meditation has been observed to seemingly affect the cognitive performance, transcriptome, and methylome of healthy and novice participant practitioners. In this study, we performed correlation analyses to investigate the presence of any relationships in the changes in cognitive performance and DNA methylation in a group of college students practicing Preksha Dhyāna (N = 34). Nine factors of cognitive performance were assessed at baseline and 8 weeks postintervention timepoints in the participants. Statistically significant improvements were observed in six of the nine assessments, which were predominantly relating to memory and affect. Using Illumina 850 K microarray technology, 470 differentially methylated sites (DMS) were identified between the two timepoints (baseline and 8 weeks), using a threshold of p-value < 0.05 and methylation levels beyond −3% to 3% at every site. Correlation analysis between the changes in performance on each of the nine assessments and every DMS unveiled statistically significant positive and negative relationships at several of these sites. The identified DMS were in proximity of essential genes involved in signaling and other important metabolic processes. Interestingly, we identified a set of sites that can be considered as biomarkers for Preksha meditation improvements at the genome level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Mental Health)
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11 pages, 488 KiB  
Article
Explanatory Capacity of Postural Control and Physical Fitness in Cognitive Impairment and Support Needs among Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities—A Cross-Sectional Pilot Study
by María Mercedes Reguera-García, Eva Fernández-Baró, Ignacio Diez-Vega, Irene Varona-Echave and Jesús Seco-Calvo
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1213; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081213 - 17 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1067
Abstract
Postural control is a skill associated with most motor activities and is essential for the performance of activities of daily living. People with intellectual disabilities (ID) present postural control deficits that can be attributed to several causes. The aim of this study was [...] Read more.
Postural control is a skill associated with most motor activities and is essential for the performance of activities of daily living. People with intellectual disabilities (ID) present postural control deficits that can be attributed to several causes. The aim of this study was to determine whether postural control and physical fitness could explain the cognitive impairment and support needs in this population. A cross-sectional pilot study was conducted with 18 people with ID. Data collection was based on assessments for postural control (Mini BESTest and Berg Balance Scale) and physical fitness (Senior Fitness Test). The data were analyzed using linear regression models. Anticipatory postural adjustments were associated with support needs, explaining up to 45% of these. Consecutive postural adjustments and upper limb strength were less significantly associated with support needs. However, none of the variables used explained cognitive impairment in ID. Knowledge of the relationships and behavior of the different measurement tools is essential for the development of appropriate interventions in this population. Full article
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15 pages, 740 KiB  
Review
Imaging Markers in Genetic Forms of Parkinson’s Disease
by Amgad Droby, Avner Thaler and Anat Mirelman
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1212; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081212 - 16 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1569
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor symptoms such as bradykinesia, rigidity, and resting tremor. While the majority of PD cases are sporadic, approximately 15–20% of cases have a genetic component. Advances in neuroimaging techniques have provided valuable insights [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor symptoms such as bradykinesia, rigidity, and resting tremor. While the majority of PD cases are sporadic, approximately 15–20% of cases have a genetic component. Advances in neuroimaging techniques have provided valuable insights into the pathophysiology of PD, including the different genetic forms of the disease. This literature review aims to summarize the current state of knowledge regarding neuroimaging findings in genetic PD, focusing on the most prevalent known genetic forms: mutations in the GBA1, LRRK2, and Parkin genes. In this review, we will highlight the contributions of various neuroimaging modalities, including positron emission tomography (PET), single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), in elucidating the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms and potentially identifying candidate biomarkers for genetic forms of PD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Updates in Parkinson's Disease)
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14 pages, 2542 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Some Modulators of the Renin–Angiotensin System on the Scopolamine-Induced Memory Loss Mice Model
by Daniela-Carmen Ababei, Ioana-Miruna Balmus, Walther Bild, Alin Stelian Ciobica, Radu Marian Lefter, Răzvan-Nicolae Rusu, Gabriela Dumitrita Stanciu, Sabina Cojocaru, Monica Hancianu and Veronica Bild
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1211; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081211 - 16 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1212
Abstract
As some of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS)-dependent mechanisms underlying the cognitive performance modulation could include oxidative balance alterations, in this study we aimed to describe some of the potential interactions between RAAS modulators (Losartan and Ramipril) and oxidative stress in a typical model [...] Read more.
As some of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS)-dependent mechanisms underlying the cognitive performance modulation could include oxidative balance alterations, in this study we aimed to describe some of the potential interactions between RAAS modulators (Losartan and Ramipril) and oxidative stress in a typical model of memory impairment. In this study, 48 white male Swiss mice were divided into six groups and received RAAS modulators (oral administration Ramipril 4 mg/kg, Losartan 20 mg/kg) and a muscarinic receptors inhibitor (intraperitoneal injection scopolamine, 0.5 mg/kg) for 8 consecutive days. Then, 24 h after the last administration, the animals were euthanized and whole blood and brain tissues were collected. Biological samples were then processed, and biochemical analysis was carried out to assess superoxide dismutase and glutathione activities and malondialdehyde concentrations. In the present experimental conditions, we showed that RAAS modulation via the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition (Ramipril) and via the angiotensin II receptor blockage (Losartan) chronic treatments could lead to oxidative stress modulation in a non-selective muscarinic receptors blocker (scopolamine) animal model. Our results showed that Losartan could exhibit a significant systemic antioxidant potential partly preventing the negative oxidative effects of scopolamine and a brain antioxidant potential, mainly by inhibiting the oxidative-stress-mediated cellular damage and apoptosis. Ramipril could also minimize the oxidative-mediated damage to the lipid components of brain tissue resulting from scopolamine administration. Both blood serum and brain changes in oxidative stress status were observed following 8-day treatments with Ramipril, Losartan, scopolamine, and combinations. While the serum oxidative stress modulation observed in this study could suggest the potential effect of RAAS modulation and scopolamine administration on the circulatory system, blood vessels endothelia, and arterial tension modulation, the observed brain tissues oxidative stress modulation could lead to important information on the complex interaction between renin–angiotensin and cholinergic systems. Full article
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9 pages, 7580 KiB  
Case Report
Multiple Independent Gene Disorders Causing Bardet–Biedl Syndrome, Congenital Hypothyroidism, and Hearing Loss in a Single Indian Patient
by Isabella Peixoto de Barcelos, Dong Li, Deborah Watson, Elizabeth M. McCormick, Lisa Elden, Thomas S. Aleman, Erin C. O’Neil, Marni J. Falk and Hakon Hakonarson
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1210; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081210 - 16 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1099
Abstract
We report a 20-year-old, female, adopted Indian patient with over 662 Mb regions of homozy-gosity who presented with intellectual disability, ataxia, schizophrenia, retinal dystrophy, moder-ate-to-severe progressive sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), congenital hypothyroidism, cleft mi-tral valve with mild mitral valve regurgitation, and dysmorphic features. [...] Read more.
We report a 20-year-old, female, adopted Indian patient with over 662 Mb regions of homozy-gosity who presented with intellectual disability, ataxia, schizophrenia, retinal dystrophy, moder-ate-to-severe progressive sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), congenital hypothyroidism, cleft mi-tral valve with mild mitral valve regurgitation, and dysmorphic features. Exome analysis first on a clinical basis and subsequently on research reanalysis uncovered pathogenic variants in three nu-clear genes following two modes of inheritance that were causal to her complex phenotype. These included (1) compound heterozygous variants in BBS6 potentially causative for Bardet–Biedl syn-drome 6; (2) a homozygous, known pathogenic variant in the stereocilin (STRC) gene associated with nonsyndromic deafness; and (3) a homozygous variant in dual oxidase 2 (DUOX2) gene asso-ciated with congenital hypothyroidism. A variant of uncertain significance was identified in a fourth gene, troponin T2 (TNNT2), associated with cardiomyopathy but not the cleft mitral valve, with mild mitral regurgitation seen in this case. This patient was the product of an apparent first-degree relationship, explaining the multiple independent inherited findings. This case high-lights the need to carefully evaluate multiple independent genetic etiologies for complex pheno-types, particularly in the case of consanguinity, rather than presuming unexplained features are expansions of known gene disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurogenetic Disorders across Human Life: From Infancy to Adulthood)
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16 pages, 3607 KiB  
Article
Corticospinal Adaptation to Short-Term Horizontal Balance Perturbation Training
by Nijia Hu, Jarmo M. Piirainen, Dawson J. Kidgell, Simon Walker and Janne Avela
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1209; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081209 - 15 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1162
Abstract
Sensorimotor training and strength training can improve balance control. Currently, little is known about how repeated balance perturbation training affects balance performance and its neural mechanisms. This study investigated corticospinal adaptation assessed by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and Hoffman-reflex (H-reflex) measurements during balance [...] Read more.
Sensorimotor training and strength training can improve balance control. Currently, little is known about how repeated balance perturbation training affects balance performance and its neural mechanisms. This study investigated corticospinal adaptation assessed by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and Hoffman-reflex (H-reflex) measurements during balance perturbation induced by perturbation training. Fourteen subjects completed three perturbation sessions (PS1, PS2, and PS3). The perturbation system operated at 0.25 m/s, accelerating at 2.5 m/s2 over a 0.3 m displacement in anterior and posterior directions. Subjects were trained by over 200 perturbations in PS2. In PS1 and PS3, TMS and electrical stimulation elicited motor evoked potentials (MEP) and H-reflexes in the right leg soleus muscle, at standing rest and two time points (40 ms and 140 ms) after perturbation. Body sway was assessed using the displacement and velocity of the center of pressure (COP), which showed a decrease in PS3. No significant changes were observed in MEP or H-reflex between sessions. Nevertheless, Δ MEP at 40 ms demonstrated a positive correlation with Δ COP, while Δ H-reflex at 40 ms demonstrated a negative correlation with Δ COP. Balance perturbation training led to less body sway and a potential increase in spinal-level involvement, indicating that movement automaticity may be suggested after perturbation training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurostimulation Techniques and Physical Exercise)
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21 pages, 2043 KiB  
Review
Morphology of the Sella Turcica: A Meta-Analysis Based on the Results of 18,364 Patients
by Tomasz Iskra, Bartłomiej Stachera, Kamil Możdżeń, Agnieszka Murawska, Patryk Ostrowski, Michał Bonczar, Iwona Gregorczyk-Maga, Jerzy Walocha, Mateusz Koziej, Grzegorz Wysiadecki, Krzysztof Balawender and Andrzej Żytkowski
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1208; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081208 - 15 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3858
Abstract
Background: This meta-analysis aimed to present data on the sella turcica (ST) morphology and variations. Furthermore, a detailed morphometric analysis of the ST was conducted. Methods: Major online databases such as PubMed, Scopus, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library were searched [...] Read more.
Background: This meta-analysis aimed to present data on the sella turcica (ST) morphology and variations. Furthermore, a detailed morphometric analysis of the ST was conducted. Methods: Major online databases such as PubMed, Scopus, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library were searched through. The overall search process was conducted in three stages. Results: This meta-analysis was based on the results of 18,364 patients and demonstrates the most up-to-date and relevant data regarding the morphology of the ST in the available literature. Four classification methods of the ST shape can be distinguished, in which the most commonly occurring variants are the normal ST (55.56%), the U-shaped ST (73.58%), the circular type of ST (42.29%), and non-bridging ST (55.64%). The overall midpoint height of the ST was 6.59 mm (SE = 0.13). The overall length of the ST was 9.06 mm (SE = 0.15). The overall volume of the ST was 845.80 mm3 (SE = 288.92). Four main classification methods of ST morphology can be distinguished in the available literature. Various morphometric characteristics of the ST may be applied in clinical practice to evaluate its shape, dimensions, and normal or pathological variants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurosurgery and Neuroanatomy)
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10 pages, 763 KiB  
Article
Association between Reaction Times in the Joint Simon Task and Personality Traits
by Shun Irie, Atsumichi Tachibana and Akiko Matsuo
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1207; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081207 - 15 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1292
Abstract
Joint go and no-go effects (joint Simon effects; JSEs) are considered to have a stimulus–response compatibility effect on joint reaction time tasks (joint Simon task) caused by the presence of other people. Additionally, JSEs are known to be associated with various social factors [...] Read more.
Joint go and no-go effects (joint Simon effects; JSEs) are considered to have a stimulus–response compatibility effect on joint reaction time tasks (joint Simon task) caused by the presence of other people. Additionally, JSEs are known to be associated with various social factors and are therefore a potential clinical marker for communicative function; however, the relationship with the personality that is associated with communication skills remains unclear. In this study, we focused on the association between JSE and personality traits. Thirty Japanese participants (fifteen women) were recruited. First, personality trait scores were obtained using the Japanese version of the ten-item personality inventory before the experiment. Second, we measured reaction times in the joint Simon task and single go and no-go tasks with the go signal presented on the congruent and incongruent sides. At last, we analyzed the association between reaction times and personality traits by using Spearman’s correlation analysis. As a result, we observed two pairs with significant correlations: JSE and neuroticism and short reaction times in the joint condition and agreeableness. In conclusion, we identified potential psychological markers associated with the joint Simon task. These findings may lead to an additional hypothesis regarding the neurobiological mechanisms of JSEs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neural Mechanisms of Object Recognition)
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28 pages, 746 KiB  
Systematic Review
Pharmacological Treatment of Alcohol Cravings
by Matheus Cheibub David Marin, Maria Olívia Pozzolo Pedro, Giuliana Perrotte, Anderson S. Martins-da-Silva, Dangela L. S. Lassi, Israel Kanaan Blaas, Fernando Ikeda Castaldelli, Maria Beatriz Brisola dos Santos, Guilherme Trevizan Kortas, Marcela Waisman Campos, Julio Torales, Antonio Ventriglio, Cintia de Azevedo-Marques Périco, André B. Negrão, Kae Leopoldo, Arthur Guerra de Andrade, André Malbergier and João Maurício Castaldelli-Maia
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1206; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081206 - 15 Aug 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2441
Abstract
(1) Background: The treatment of substance addiction is challenging and has persisted for decades, with only a few therapeutic options. Although there are some recommendations for specific treatments for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), there is no specific medication used to treat alcohol cravings, [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The treatment of substance addiction is challenging and has persisted for decades, with only a few therapeutic options. Although there are some recommendations for specific treatments for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), there is no specific medication used to treat alcohol cravings, which could benefit millions of patients that are suffering from alcoholism. Cravings, or the urge to use drugs, refer to the desire to experience the effects of a previously experienced psychoactive substance. (2) Methods: We included original studies of alcohol abuse or dependence extracted from a controlled, blind, pharmacological treatment study which presented measures and outcomes related to alcohol cravings. (3) Results: Specific drugs used for the treatment of alcoholism, such as Naltrexone and Acamprosate, have had the best results in relieving craving symptoms, as well as promoting abstinence. Baclofen and anticonvulsants such as Gabapentin and Topiramate have shown good results in promoting abstinence and the cessation of cravings. (4) Conclusions: Specific drugs used for the treatment of alcoholism to obtain the best results can be considered the gold standard for promoting abstinence and relieving cravings. Anticonvulsants and Baclofen also had good results, with these medications being considered as second-line ones. Varenicline is an option for alcohol dependents who also concomitantly ingest tobacco. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuropharmacology and Neuropathology)
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9 pages, 872 KiB  
Review
Modern Aspects of the Complex Interactions between Biodiversity and the Main Neuropsychiatric Disorders
by Madalina Borca, Alin Ciobica and Alin Iordache
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1205; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081205 - 15 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1323
Abstract
The high incidence of psychopathologies recorded in today’s human society, correlated with the high percentages of biodiversity loss, point to the need for an interdisciplinary approach of the scientific fields under study—neuroscience and biodiversity conservation. Thus, our approach here presents, in a synergistic [...] Read more.
The high incidence of psychopathologies recorded in today’s human society, correlated with the high percentages of biodiversity loss, point to the need for an interdisciplinary approach of the scientific fields under study—neuroscience and biodiversity conservation. Thus, our approach here presents, in a synergistic manner, the significant correlation between mental health and the increased values of biodiversity in the ecosystems located in the immediate vicinity, especially those located in the middle of cities. Our approach aims to emphasize the importance of biodiversity conservation in the context of preserving mental health and general well-being. There are a series of recent experimental demonstrations that outline the influence of natural elements on the human psyche and, implicitly, the effects of nature in the prevention and reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression. And beyond the cognitive barriers of humanity in relating to the surrounding biodiversity must lie the desire to know the values of biodiversity and the absolute importance of its conservation. The sustainable relationship between humans and living nature, seen as a complex of biodiversity, is dealt with by a branch of science called human ecology. Therefore, this study emphasizes the crucial need to know and respect the connection between man and nature, based, since time immemorial, on biophilia. And with the regression of ignorance and the correlated approach of several scientific fields, some at the intersection of the humanities and natural sciences, one can observe the progress of preserving the dynamic balance within ecosystems and, implicitly, the preservation of mental health and human well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Psychiatric Diseases)
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18 pages, 1835 KiB  
Article
Skilled Performers Show Right Parietal Lateralization during Anticipation of Volleyball Attacks
by Brady S. DeCouto, Nicholas J. Smeeton and A. Mark Williams
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1204; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081204 - 15 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1102
Abstract
Global and local biological motion processing are likely influenced by an observer’s perceptual experience. Skilled athletes anticipating an opponent’s movements use globally distributed motion information, while less skilled athletes focus on single kinematic cues. Published reports have demonstrated that attention can be primed [...] Read more.
Global and local biological motion processing are likely influenced by an observer’s perceptual experience. Skilled athletes anticipating an opponent’s movements use globally distributed motion information, while less skilled athletes focus on single kinematic cues. Published reports have demonstrated that attention can be primed globally or locally before perceptual tasks; such an intervention could highlight motion processing mechanisms used by skilled and less skilled observers. In this study, we examined skill differences in biological motion processing using attentional priming. Skilled (N = 16) and less skilled (N = 16) players anticipated temporally occluded videos of volleyball attacks after being primed using a Navon matching task while parietal EEG was measured. Skilled players were more accurate than less skilled players across priming conditions. Global priming improved performance in both skill groups. Skilled players showed significantly reduced alpha and beta power in the right compared to left parietal region, but brain activity was not affected by the priming interventions. Our findings highlight the importance of right parietal dominance for skilled performers, which may be functional for inhibiting left hemispheric local processing or enhancing visual spatial attention for dynamic visual scenes. Further work is needed to systematically determine the function of this pattern of brain activity during skilled anticipation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Behavioral Neuroscience)
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19 pages, 942 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Role of Second Chance Schools and COVID-19 Pandemic on the Mental Health and Self-Image of Greek Adult Students
by Georgia Karakitsiou, Spyridon Plakias, Katerina Kedraka, Aikaterini Arvaniti, Christos Kokkotis, Anna Tsiakiri and Maria Samakouri
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1203; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081203 - 14 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1224
Abstract
COVID-19 has globally impacted both physical and mental health. This study aimed to explore the impact of Second Chance Schools (SCS) and the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and self-image of Greek SCS students. A total of 251 SCS students from two [...] Read more.
COVID-19 has globally impacted both physical and mental health. This study aimed to explore the impact of Second Chance Schools (SCS) and the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and self-image of Greek SCS students. A total of 251 SCS students from two consecutive study cycles participated, completing the research instruments at the beginning and end of their studies. Participants’ anxiety, depressive symptomatology, well-being, self-esteem and self-efficacy were evaluated by means of the GAD-7, PHQ-8, WHO-5 Well-being Index, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale, respectively. The research spanned three years, including a year of universal lockdown, a year with protective measures and a year without anti-COVID-19 measures. Factor analysis, regression analyses and two two-way repeated measures ANOVAs were applied to the collected data. All five psychological dimensions measured by the study’s instruments were grouped into two factors, namely mental health and self-image. Well-being positively influenced mental health, while anxiety and depression had a negative impact. On the other hand, self-efficacy and self-esteem positively contributed to self-image. Mental health and self-image were moderately correlated. Pre-SCS values of mental health and self-image predicted a higher percentage of variance in post-SCS values compared to anxiety, depression, well-being, self-efficacy and self-esteem. Moreover, mental health improved after the completion of SCS, but only for participants after the lifting of anti-COVID-19 measures. Conversely, self-image improved for all participants regardless of the presence of anti-COVID-19 measures. Overall, the SCS had a considerable impact on the participants’ mental health and self-image, although the effect was influenced by COVID-19. Full article
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40 pages, 2407 KiB  
Review
Neurological Insights into Sleep Disorders in Parkinson’s Disease
by Subramanian Thangaleela, Bhagavathi Sundaram Sivamaruthi, Periyanaina Kesika, Subramanian Mariappan, Subramanian Rashmi, Thiwanya Choeisoongnern, Phakkharawat Sittiprapaporn and Chaiyavat Chaiyasut
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1202; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081202 - 14 Aug 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3499
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common multidimensional neurological disorder characterized by motor and non-motor features and is more prevalent in the elderly. Sleep disorders and cognitive disturbances are also significant characteristics of PD. Sleep is an important physiological process for normal human cognition [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common multidimensional neurological disorder characterized by motor and non-motor features and is more prevalent in the elderly. Sleep disorders and cognitive disturbances are also significant characteristics of PD. Sleep is an important physiological process for normal human cognition and physical functioning. Sleep deprivation negatively impacts human physical, mental, and behavioral functions. Sleep disturbances include problems falling asleep, disturbances occurring during sleep, abnormal movements during sleep, insufficient sleep, and excessive sleep. The most recognizable and known sleep disorders, such as rapid-eye-movement behavior disorder (RBD), insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), restless legs syndrome (RLS), sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBDs), and circadian-rhythm-related sleep–wake disorders (CRSWDs), have been associated with PD. RBD and associated emotional disorders are common non-motor symptoms of PD. In individuals, sleep disorders and cognitive impairment are important prognostic factors for predicting progressing neurodegeneration and developing dementia conditions in PD. Studies have focused on RBD and its associated neurological changes and functional deficits in PD patients. Other risks, such as cognitive decline, anxiety, and depression, are related to RBD. Sleep-disorder diagnosis is challenging, especially in identifying the essential factors that disturb the sleep–wake cycle and the co-existence of other concomitant sleep issues, motor symptoms, and breathing disorders. Focusing on sleep patterns and their disturbances, including genetic and other neurochemical changes, helps us to better understand the central causes of sleep alterations and cognitive functions in PD patients. Relations between α-synuclein aggregation in the brain and gender differences in sleep disorders have been reported. The existing correlation between sleep disorders and levels of α-synuclein in the cerebrospinal fluid indicates the risk of progression of synucleinopathies. Multidirectional approaches are required to correlate sleep disorders and neuropsychiatric symptoms and diagnose sensitive biomarkers for neurodegeneration. The evaluation of sleep pattern disturbances and cognitive impairment may aid in the development of novel and effective treatments for PD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sleep Disorders in Parkinson’s Disease)
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29 pages, 5598 KiB  
Article
Temporal Feature Extraction and Machine Learning for Classification of Sleep Stages Using Telemetry Polysomnography
by Utkarsh Lal, Suhas Mathavu Vasanthsena and Anitha Hoblidar
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1201; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081201 - 14 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2220
Abstract
Accurate sleep stage detection is crucial for diagnosing sleep disorders and tailoring treatment plans. Polysomnography (PSG) is considered the gold standard for sleep assessment since it captures a diverse set of physiological signals. While various studies have employed complex neural networks for sleep [...] Read more.
Accurate sleep stage detection is crucial for diagnosing sleep disorders and tailoring treatment plans. Polysomnography (PSG) is considered the gold standard for sleep assessment since it captures a diverse set of physiological signals. While various studies have employed complex neural networks for sleep staging using PSG, our research emphasises the efficacy of a simpler and more efficient architecture. We aimed to integrate a diverse set of feature extraction measures with straightforward machine learning, potentially offering a more efficient avenue for sleep staging. We also aimed to conduct a comprehensive comparative analysis of feature extraction measures, including the power spectral density, Higuchi fractal dimension, singular value decomposition entropy, permutation entropy, and detrended fluctuation analysis, coupled with several machine-learning models, including XGBoost, Extra Trees, Random Forest, and LightGBM. Furthermore, data augmentation methods like the Synthetic Minority Oversampling Technique were also employed to rectify the inherent class imbalance in sleep data. The subsequent results highlighted that the XGBoost classifier, when used with a combination of all feature extraction measures as an ensemble, achieved the highest performance, with accuracies of 87%, 90%, 93%, 96%, and 97% and average F1-scores of 84.6%, 89%, 90.33%, 93.5%, and 93.5% for distinguishing between five-stage, four-stage, three-stage, and two distinct two-stage sleep configurations, respectively. This combined feature extraction technique represents a novel addition to the body of research since it achieves higher performance than many recently developed deep neural networks by utilising simpler machine-learning models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Computational Neuroscience and Neuroinformatics)
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14 pages, 666 KiB  
Article
Depression and Pseudodementia: Decoding the Intricate Bonds in an Italian Outpatient Setting
by Beatrice Buccianelli, Donatella Marazziti, Alessandro Arone, Stefania Palermo, Marly Simoncini, Manuel Glauco Carbone, Leonardo Massoni, Miriam Violi and Liliana Dell’Osso
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1200; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081200 - 13 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1547
Abstract
In spite of the uncertainties of its diagnostic framework, pseudodementia may be conceptualized as a condition characterized by depressive symptoms and cognitive impairment in the absence of dementia. Given the controversies on this topic, the aim of the present study was to assess [...] Read more.
In spite of the uncertainties of its diagnostic framework, pseudodementia may be conceptualized as a condition characterized by depressive symptoms and cognitive impairment in the absence of dementia. Given the controversies on this topic, the aim of the present study was to assess neurological and cognitive dysfunctions in a sample of elderly depressed subjects, and the eventual relationship between cognitive impairment and depressive symptoms. Fifty-seven elderly depressed outpatients of both sexes were included in the study. A series of rating scales were used to assess diagnoses, depressive and cognitive impairment. Comparisons for continuous variables were performed with the independent-sample Student’s t-test. Comparisons for categorical variables were conducted by the χ2 test (or Fisher’s exact test when appropriate). The correlations between between socio-demographic characteristics and clinical features, as well as between cognitive impairment and depressive symptoms were explored by Pearson’s correlation coefficient or Spearman’s rank correlation. Our data showed the presence of a mild–moderate depression and of a mild cognitive impairment that was only partially related to the severity of depression. These dysfunctions became more evident when analyzing behavioral responses, besides cognitive functions. A high educational qualification seemed to protect against cognitive decline, but not against depression. Single individuals were more prone to cognitive disturbance but were similar to married subjects in terms of the severity of depressive symptoms. Previous depressive episodes had no impact on the severity of depression or cognitive functioning. Although data are needed to draw firm conclusions, our findings strengthen the notion that pseudodementia represents a borderline condition between depression and cognitive decline that should be rapidly identified and adequately treated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Psychiatric Diseases)
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Study Protocol
The Efficacy of Psychoeducational Family Intervention for Major Depression: Study Protocol of a Randomized Controlled Trial
by Claudia Toni, Mario Luciano, Eleonora Arsenio, Alessia Boiano, Emilia Corvino, Bianca Della Rocca, Maria Vita Lapadula, Lucia Tretola, Gaia Sampogna and Andrea Fiorillo
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(8), 1199; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13081199 - 13 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1523
Abstract
This study aims to assess the efficacy of a psychoeducational family intervention (PFI) to reduce the severity of depressive symptoms and to improve psychosocial functioning and to increase social contacts in a sample of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). The degree to [...] Read more.
This study aims to assess the efficacy of a psychoeducational family intervention (PFI) to reduce the severity of depressive symptoms and to improve psychosocial functioning and to increase social contacts in a sample of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). The degree to which PFI will reduce patients’ relapses, hospitalizations, and self-stigmatization and will improve their quality of life will also be assessed. Other secondary outcomes include the improvement of relatives’ coping strategies, family burden, expressed emotions and quality of life. This non-profit, unfunded, national, multicentric randomized controlled trial with blinded outcome assessments will be carried out in 24 Italian university outpatient units. Families will be assessed at baseline and at 6, 12, and 24 months post-randomization. Our working hypothesis is that the PFIs will reduce the patients’ severity of depressive symptoms, their relapses, and their hospitalizations, and that they will improve their psychosocial functioning and quality of life. We expect these results to be maintained after 12 and 24 months, albeit with a reduction in magnitude. The sample will consist of 384 patients randomized at a 1:1 ratio and stratified according to center, age, gender, and educational level. Full article
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