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Brain Sci., Volume 14, Issue 7 (July 2024) – 91 articles

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17 pages, 776 KiB  
Article
The Enduring Challenge of Literacy Issues in Adulthood: Investigating Spelling Deficits among Dyslexic Italian University Students
by Francesca Vizzi, Marika Iaia, Maria Diletta Carlino, Chiara Valeria Marinelli, Marco Turi and Paola Angelelli
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 712; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070712 - 15 Jul 2024
Abstract
The issue of literacy challenges among dyslexic adults remains a significant concern. This study investigates spelling deficits among highly educated adults with dyslexia learning a transparent orthography. Thirty-eight Italian dyslexic university students were examined and compared to a group of age- and education-matched [...] Read more.
The issue of literacy challenges among dyslexic adults remains a significant concern. This study investigates spelling deficits among highly educated adults with dyslexia learning a transparent orthography. Thirty-eight Italian dyslexic university students were examined and compared to a group of age- and education-matched typical readers. Firstly, we analyzed spelling performance using a Passage Dictation Test. Additionally, lists of words varying in length and word frequency were dictated under two experimental conditions: a normal condition (NC) and an articulatory suppression condition (ASC). The ASC assessed the participants’ ability to spell with interference to the phonological (sublexical) spelling procedure, i.e., the most likely compensated spelling strategy of Italian dyslexic spellers. The results clearly indicated that, in spelling the meaningful passage, dyslexic participants underperformed compared to the controls, with a prevalence of lexical errors, despite the comparison with the normative reference data showing only mild spelling difficulties. In spelling isolated words in normal conditions, dyslexic participants performed within the reference norms and as accurately as control participants across all stimuli (short words, high- and low-frequency words), except for long words, where their spelling difficulties were evident. Articulatory suppression significantly impaired dyslexics’ performance on short stimuli, reducing the usual sublexical advantage associated with them, and exacerbated misspellings on long words. Additionally, articulatory suppression disproportionately affected dyslexics’ performance on high-frequency words, diminishing the typical lexical advantage associated with these words. Results are discussed in terms of their theoretical, clinical, and educational implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuropsychology of Reading)
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11 pages, 257 KiB  
Article
Adapting Minds: Exploring Cognition to Threatened Stimuli in the Post-COVID-19 Landscape Comparing Old and New Concerns about Pandemic
by Giuseppe Forte, Francesca Favieri, Ilaria Corbo, Giovanna Troisi, Giulia Marselli, Barbara Blasutto, Renato Ponce, Enrico Di Pace, Viviana Langher, Renata Tambelli and Maria Casagrande
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 711; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070711 - 15 Jul 2024
Abstract
The global population has been significantly affected by the pandemic in terms of physical and mental health. According to transactional theory, individuals have undergone an adaptation process influenced by cognitive control abilities. Emotional responses to COVID-19-related stimuli may interfere with top-down attentional processes, [...] Read more.
The global population has been significantly affected by the pandemic in terms of physical and mental health. According to transactional theory, individuals have undergone an adaptation process influenced by cognitive control abilities. Emotional responses to COVID-19-related stimuli may interfere with top-down attentional processes, thereby hindering adaptation. This study aimed to investigate the impact of COVID-19-related stimuli on attentional processing and to determine whether psychological factors could modulate these effects. A sample of 96 healthy undergraduate students participated in an emotional Stroop task in which they were presented with a series of stimuli, including both neutral and negative COVID-19-related as well as non-COVID-19 stimuli. COVID-19-related PTSD, as an index of distress (PTSS), and trait anxiety were evaluated. Results showed that participants were more accurate in identifying COVID-19-related stimuli compared to non-COVID-19 stimuli. Being female and having higher retrospective PTSS scores related to COVID-19 were predictive of faster reaction times for both neutral and negative COVID-19-related stimuli. This heightened attentional bias toward COVID-19-related stimuli suggests that individuals may be more sensitive to stimuli associated with the pandemic. The results suggest that the association between COVID-19 stimuli and attentional biases extends beyond emotional valence, being retrospectively influenced by mental health, suggesting potential pathways to future mental health challenges. Full article
15 pages, 1471 KiB  
Article
Effects of Adapted Physical Activity on White Matter Integrity in Patients with Schizophrenia
by Elise Leroux, Laura Masson, Maxime Tréhout and Sonia Dollfus
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 710; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070710 - 15 Jul 2024
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Abstract
Schizophrenia is associated with changes in white matter (WM) integrity and with reduced life expectancy, in part because of the cardiometabolic side effects of antipsychotics. Physical activity (PA) has emerged as a candidate lifestyle intervention that is safe and effective. The study aimed [...] Read more.
Schizophrenia is associated with changes in white matter (WM) integrity and with reduced life expectancy, in part because of the cardiometabolic side effects of antipsychotics. Physical activity (PA) has emerged as a candidate lifestyle intervention that is safe and effective. The study aimed to assess how an adapted PA program delivered remotely by web (e-APA) improved WM integrity in patients with schizophrenia (SZPs) and healthy controls (HCs) and to evaluate associations among WM integrity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and symptom severity. This longitudinal study was conducted over 16 weeks with 31 participants (18 SZPs and 13 HCs). Diffusion tensor imaging and tract-based spatial statistics were employed to assess WM integrity. Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured by maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), and assessments for clinical symptoms included the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, Self-evaluation of Negative Symptoms and the Brief Negative Syndrome Scale (BNSS). Only the SZPs had significantly increased WM integrity after the e-APA program, with increased fractional anisotropy and decreased radial diffusivity in fasciculi involved in motor functions and language process. Furthermore, decreased negative symptoms assessed with BNSS were associated with greater WM integrity following the program. These findings suggest that e-APA may improve WM integrity abnormalities and support e-APA as a promising therapeutic strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Psychiatric Diseases)
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10 pages, 367 KiB  
Case Report
Role of Alternative and Augmentative Communication in Three Cases of Severe Acquired Brain Injury: A Neurorehabilitative Approach
by Caterina Formica, Maria Cristina De Cola, Francesco Corallo and Viviana Lo Buono
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 709; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070709 - 15 Jul 2024
Viewed by 101
Abstract
Background: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) improved communicative skills in adults with post-stroke aphasia demonstrating the effectiveness in speech disorders and consequent improvement of patients’ communication skills. This study aimed to report the efficacy of AAC in the rehabilitation of cognitive disorders and [...] Read more.
Background: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) improved communicative skills in adults with post-stroke aphasia demonstrating the effectiveness in speech disorders and consequent improvement of patients’ communication skills. This study aimed to report the efficacy of AAC in the rehabilitation of cognitive disorders and to estimate how the changes in cognitive and communicative functions could enhance the quality of life in patients affected by severe acquired brain injury. Methods: Three patients with pontine cerebral ischemia, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and meningioma expressed in the posterior cranial fossa, respectively, were submitted to rehabilitative training with AAC for 6 months. Patients underwent to neuropsychological and mood evaluations at the beginning of AAC treatment (T0) and after rehabilitative training (T1). Results: The results support the efficacy of AAC in the improvement of cognitive functions, particularly in memory, attention, and language domains. In addition, we described also an improvement in the quality of life and a decrease in depressive symptoms. Conclusions: The AAC seems to be an important rehabilitative technique for the recovery of cognitive functions with a consequent effect in improvement of psychological aspects and quality of life in patients with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurorehabilitation)
6 pages, 201 KiB  
Editorial
The Advantages of Combining Therapies in Treating Psychiatric Patients
by Ravi Philip Rajkumar
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 708; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070708 - 15 Jul 2024
Viewed by 164
Abstract
Mental illnesses are among the leading causes of morbidity and disability worldwide, and the burden associated with these disorders has increased steadily over the past three decades [...] Full article
18 pages, 1133 KiB  
Review
Mechanisms Underlying Sex Differences in Temporomandibular Disorders and Their Comorbidity with Migraine
by Adnan Khan, Sufang Liu and Feng Tao
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 707; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070707 - 15 Jul 2024
Viewed by 336
Abstract
Sexual dimorphism in temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) and their comorbidity with migraine are important phenomena observed in clinics. TMDs are the most prevalent orofacial pain conditions with jaw joint and masseter muscle dysfunction. Migraine is the predominant headache commonly associated with TMDs. Women much [...] Read more.
Sexual dimorphism in temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) and their comorbidity with migraine are important phenomena observed in clinics. TMDs are the most prevalent orofacial pain conditions with jaw joint and masseter muscle dysfunction. Migraine is the predominant headache commonly associated with TMDs. Women much more often suffer from this orofacial pain than men. However, currently, there is no gender-specific therapy for such pain conditions. Understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms behind sex differences in TMDs as well as their comorbidity with migraines is essential for developing novel approaches for gender-specific treatment of TMDs and related orofacial pain comorbidity. In this review, we summarize recent research progress regarding sex differences in TMDs, focusing on the underlying mechanisms including craniofacial anatomy, hormonal regulation, and roles of opioids, transient receptor potential channels, and endocannabinoid systems. We also discuss the mechanisms of comorbid TMDs and migraine. The information covered in this review will provide mechanistic insights into sex differences in TMDs and their comorbidity with migraine, which could aid in developing effective treatment strategies for the overlapping orofacial pain condition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neural Circuits for Pain Modulation)
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13 pages, 974 KiB  
Article
Frontoparietal Response to Working Memory Load Mediates the Association between Sleep Duration and Cognitive Function in Children
by Jie Yan, Haolei Bai, Yuqing Sun, Xueqi Sun, Zhian Hu, Bing Liu, Chao He and Xiaolong Zhang
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 706; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070706 - 14 Jul 2024
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Abstract
Lack of sleep has been found to be associated with cognitive impairment in children, yet the neural mechanism underlying this relationship remains poorly understood. To address this issue, this study utilized the data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study (n [...] Read more.
Lack of sleep has been found to be associated with cognitive impairment in children, yet the neural mechanism underlying this relationship remains poorly understood. To address this issue, this study utilized the data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study (n = 4930, aged 9–10), involving their sleep assessments, cognitive measures, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during an emotional n-back task. Using partial correlations analysis, we found that the out-of-scanner cognitive performance was positively correlated with sleep duration. Additionally, the activation of regions of interest (ROIs) in frontal and parietal cortices for the 2-back versus 0-back contrast was positively correlated with both sleep duration and cognitive performance. Mediation analysis revealed that this activation significantly mediated the relationship between sleep duration and cognitive function at both individual ROI level and network level. After performing analyses separately for different sexes, it was revealed that the mediation effect of the task-related activation was present in girls (n = 2546). These findings suggest that short sleep duration may lead to deficit in cognitive function of children, particularly in girls, through the modulation of frontoparietal activation during working memory load. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience)
10 pages, 912 KiB  
Brief Report
Sensitivity and Specificity of a Screening Test for the Detection of Deficiencies in Visuo-Perceptual Skills
by Elizabeth Casillas-Casillas, Luis Héctor Salas-Hernández, Katie Lynn Ortiz-Casillas, Tamara Petrosyan, Sergio Ramírez-González and Luis Fernando Barba-Gallardo
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 705; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070705 - 14 Jul 2024
Viewed by 193
Abstract
This study determines the sensitivity and specificity of a screening test to detect perceptual abnormalities and whether there are differences between gender. Vision is a complex process involving visual perception. Any alterations can affect learning, so having a screening test in Spanish that [...] Read more.
This study determines the sensitivity and specificity of a screening test to detect perceptual abnormalities and whether there are differences between gender. Vision is a complex process involving visual perception. Any alterations can affect learning, so having a screening test in Spanish that is easy to use and reliable for timely diagnosis will reduce the percentage of visuo-perceptual interference during learning process. A total of 200 subjects participated, aged between 8 and 15 years old, with good visual acuity, and no strabismus, amblyopia, ocular pathology, or neurological damage. The Petrosyan questionnaire (screening test) was employed to identify symptoms associated with perceptual impairment, and a subsequent assessment was conducted to evaluate perceptual abilities. The mean age was 11.5 years (57% male; 44% female). The screening test indicated that 30% of the subjects were suspected of having perceptual alteration, while 24% were diagnosed with a real alteration in perceptual abilities. The sensitivity was 1 and the specificity was 0.92. The Spanish version of the Petrosyan questionnaire has high sensitivity and specificity values and is therefore considered very accurate for identifying the need for a perceptual assessment. There are statistically significant differences in perceptual abilities according to gender. The female group shows more symptomatology and a higher percentage of alteration in perceptual skills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology)
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15 pages, 1937 KiB  
Article
OculoMotor & Vestibular Endurance Screening (MoVES) Normative, Repeatability, and Reliability Data
by Stephanie Iring-Sanchez, Michaela E. Dungan, Andrew Jones, Mitchell Malakhov, Stuti Mohan and Chang Yaramothu
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 704; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070704 - 14 Jul 2024
Viewed by 265
Abstract
This study aims to assess oculomotor and vestibular endurance by utilizing the Oculomotor and Vestibular Endurance Screening (MoVES) assessment in athletes’ pre-season and post-season and after a suspected head injury to detect impairment. Athletes (N = 311, 19.4 ± 1.3 years) were [...] Read more.
This study aims to assess oculomotor and vestibular endurance by utilizing the Oculomotor and Vestibular Endurance Screening (MoVES) assessment in athletes’ pre-season and post-season and after a suspected head injury to detect impairment. Athletes (N = 311, 19.4 ± 1.3 years) were recruited to perform the following seven tasks: (1) horizontal saccades, (2) vertical saccades, (3) vergence jumps, (4) horizontal vestibular-oculomotor reflex (VOR), (5) vertical VOR, (6) amplitude of accommodation (AoA), and (7) near point of convergence (NPC). At pre-season, the observed number of eye movements in 60 s are horizontal saccades (74 ± 13 initial 30 s; 67 ± 11 latter 30 s), vertical saccades (70 ± 13; 66 ± 10), vergence jumps (48 ± 12; 45 ± 13), horizontal VOR (38 ± 11; 38 ± 11), and vertical VOR (8 ± 11; 38 ± 11). These results establish a normative database for eye movements within the MoVES assessment and show consistency in the number of movements from pre-season to post-season. The initial results show a trending decrease in the number of eye movements in the initial days post-head injury, which improves to pre-season measures 14–21 days post-injury. This foundation can be used by future studies to explore the extent of binocular and vestibular endurance dysfunctions caused by head injuries that subside within two weeks. Full article
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11 pages, 315 KiB  
Article
A Controlled Clinical Trial on the Effects of Aquatic Exercise on Cognitive Functions in Community-Dwelling Older Adults
by Renata Terra de Oliveira, Tayla Borges Lino, Gabriella Simões Scarmagnan, Suzi Rosa Miziara Barbosa, Ana Beatriz Gomes de Souza Pegorare and Gustavo Christofoletti
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 703; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070703 - 13 Jul 2024
Viewed by 381
Abstract
Several therapies have been developed to reduce cognitive decline associated with aging. Aquatic exercises, which are widely used to enhance functional capacity, may play a role in stimulating cognitive functions. This study investigated the effects of a 3-month aquatic exercise program on cognitive [...] Read more.
Several therapies have been developed to reduce cognitive decline associated with aging. Aquatic exercises, which are widely used to enhance functional capacity, may play a role in stimulating cognitive functions. This study investigated the effects of a 3-month aquatic exercise program on cognitive functions in community-dwelling older adults. In this prospective, single-blinded, controlled clinical trial, 31 participants were allocated to either the experimental (aquatic exercises) or control (no-exercise) group. The intervention program consisted of exercises conducted twice a week in a 1.2 m deep indoor pool. The main outcome measures were cognitive functions, assessed using Raven’s Progressive Matrices test and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. A repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to assess the impact of the exercise program. The effect sizes (η²p) were reported when a level of significance was achieved (p < 0.05). Compared with the control group, the participants who underwent aquatic exercises showed positive outcomes in Raven’s Progressive Matrices test (p = 0.046; η²p = 0.131) and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (p = 0.001, η²p = 0.589). Complementary analyses of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test indicated that the benefits of the aquatic exercise were observed in terms of the number of trials (p = 0.001, η²p = 0.478), number of errors (p = 0.001, η²p = 0.458), and number of non-perseverative errors (p = 0.001, η²p = 0.302). The results indicate that a period of three months of aquatic exercise was beneficial for stimulating specific aspects of the cognitive function of community-dwelling older individuals. Aquatic exercise should be prescribed to this population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Cognitive Training on Executive Function and Cognition)
20 pages, 4586 KiB  
Article
Neurohabilitation of Cognitive Functions in Pediatric Epilepsy Patients through LEGO®-Based Therapy
by Flor Lorena Zaldumbide-Alcocer, Norma Angélica Labra-Ruiz, Abril Astrid Carbó-Godinez, Matilde Ruíz-García, Julieta Griselda Mendoza-Torreblanca, Lizbeth Naranjo-Albarrán, Noemí Cárdenas-Rodríguez, Erika Valenzuela-Alarcón and Eduardo Espinosa-Garamendi
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 702; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070702 - 13 Jul 2024
Viewed by 243
Abstract
In the pediatric population, epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders that often results in cognitive dysfunction. It affects patients’ life quality by limiting academic performance and self-esteem and increasing social rejection. There are several interventions for the neurohabilitation of cognitive [...] Read more.
In the pediatric population, epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders that often results in cognitive dysfunction. It affects patients’ life quality by limiting academic performance and self-esteem and increasing social rejection. There are several interventions for the neurohabilitation of cognitive impairment, including LEGO®-based therapy (LEGO® B-T), which promotes neuronal connectivity and cortical plasticity through the use of assembly sets and robotic programming. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyze the effect of LEGO® B-T on cognitive processes in pediatric patients with epilepsy. Eligible patients were identified; in the treatment group, an initial evaluation was performed with the NEUROPSI and BANFE-2 neuropsychological tests. Then, the interventions were performed once a week, and a final test was performed. In the control group, after the initial evaluation, the final evaluation was performed. An overall improvement was observed in the LEGO® B-T patients, with a significant increase in BANFE-2 scores in the orbitomedial, anterior prefrontal, and dorsolateral areas. In addition, in the gain score analysis, the orbitomedial and memory scores were significantly different from the control group. LEGO® B-T neurohabilitation is a remarkable option for epilepsy patients, who are motivated when they observe improvements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Collection Series: Neurorehabilitation Insights in 2024)
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10 pages, 601 KiB  
Article
Acute Effects of Caffeine Ingestion on Postural Balance, Functional Capacity and Cognitive Function in Patients with End Stage Renal Disease
by Hayfa Ben Haj Hassen, Achraf Ammar, Amal Machfer, Nadia Fkih, Siwar Erriahi, Sirine Hamdi, Hamdi Chtourou and Mohamed Amine Bouzid
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 701; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070701 - 13 Jul 2024
Viewed by 360
Abstract
Patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) display many cognitive and physiological alterations resulting from renal failure and physical inactivity. Caffeine intake has been reported to improve cognitive/physical performance in several studies. However, whether the benefits of caffeine intake apply to patients with [...] Read more.
Patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) display many cognitive and physiological alterations resulting from renal failure and physical inactivity. Caffeine intake has been reported to improve cognitive/physical performance in several studies. However, whether the benefits of caffeine intake apply to patients with ESRD remains unknown. The aim of the present study was to explore the effect of caffeine intake on postural balance, cognitive function and functional capacity in patients with ESRD. In a randomized order, 12 patients with ESRD (age: 33.85 ± 8.57 years; Female: 45.5%) performed a battery of tests after either caffeine (CF) (400 mg) or placebo (PLA) ingestion. Postural balance was evaluated using a stabilometric platform. Functional capacity was assessed with the sit-to-stand and up-and-go tests, and for cognitive performances, reaction time test and a vigilance test were used. Results showed a significant improvement in up-and-go test (p = 0.01) and sit-to-stand test performances with CF compared to PLA (p < 0.01). Time of reaction test and vigilance test (p < 0.01) performances were significantly higher with CF. No significant difference was observed in postural balance between CF and PLA. The results of this study suggest that acute caffeine ingestion positively enhances cognitive function and functional capacity in patients with ESRD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Nutritional Neuroscience)
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28 pages, 749 KiB  
Systematic Review
The Clinical Impact of Real-Time fMRI Neurofeedback on Emotion Regulation: A Systematic Review
by Nadja Tschentscher, Julia C. Tafelmaier, Christian F. J. Woll, Oliver Pogarell, Maximilian Maywald, Larissa Vierl, Katrin Breitenstein and Susanne Karch
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 700; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070700 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 305
Abstract
Emotion dysregulation has long been considered a key symptom in multiple psychiatric disorders. Difficulties in emotion regulation have been associated with neural dysregulation in fronto-limbic circuits. Real-time fMRI-based neurofeedback (rt-fMRI-NFB) has become increasingly popular as a potential treatment for emotional dysregulation in psychiatric [...] Read more.
Emotion dysregulation has long been considered a key symptom in multiple psychiatric disorders. Difficulties in emotion regulation have been associated with neural dysregulation in fronto-limbic circuits. Real-time fMRI-based neurofeedback (rt-fMRI-NFB) has become increasingly popular as a potential treatment for emotional dysregulation in psychiatric disorders, as it is able to directly target the impaired neural circuits. However, the clinical impact of these rt-fMRI-NFB protocols in psychiatric populations is still largely unknown. Here we provide a comprehensive overview of primary studies from 2010 to 2023 that used rt-fMRI-NFB to target emotion regulation. We assessed 41 out of 4001 original studies for methodological quality and risk of bias and synthesised concerning the frequency of significant rt-fMRI-NFB-related effects on the neural and behaviour level. Successful modulation of brain activity was reported in between 25 and 50 percent of study samples, while neural effects in clinical samples were more diverse than in healthy samples. Interestingly, the frequency of rt-fMRI-NFB-related behavioural improvement was over 75 percent in clinical samples, while healthy samples showed behavioural improvements between 0 and 25 percent. Concerning clinical subsamples, rt-fMRI-NFB-related behavioural improvement was observed in up to 100 percent of major depressive disorder (MDD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) samples. Substance use samples showed behavioural benefits ranging between 50 and 75 percent. Neural effects appeared to be less frequent than behavioural improvements: most neural outcomes ranged between 25 and 50 percent for MDD and substance use and between 0 and 25 percent for PTSD. Using multiple individualised regions of interest (ROIs) for rt-fMRI-NFB training resulted in more frequent behavioural benefits than rt-fMRI-NFB solely based on the amygdala or the prefrontal cortex. While a significant improvement in behavioural outcomes was reported in most clinical studies, the study protocols were heterogeneous, which limits the current evaluation of rt-fMRI-NFB as a putative treatment for emotional dysregulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Brain Imaging in Mental Illness)
14 pages, 519 KiB  
Article
High-Density Lipoprotein Correlates with Cognitive Functioning in Schizophrenic Women
by Maria Staniek, Pawel Kapelski, Przemyslaw Zakowicz, Aleksandra Rajewska-Rager, Karolina Wasicka-Przewozna and Maria Skibinska
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 699; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070699 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 299
Abstract
(1) Background: Schizophrenia is a chronic and progressive neuropsychiatric illness. Apart from positive and negative symptoms, 98% of the population diagnosed with schizophrenia have impaired cognitive functioning, which significantly influences the quality of life. The correlation between lipids and cognitive functioning has been [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Schizophrenia is a chronic and progressive neuropsychiatric illness. Apart from positive and negative symptoms, 98% of the population diagnosed with schizophrenia have impaired cognitive functioning, which significantly influences the quality of life. The correlation between lipids and cognitive functioning has been well established. Our study aimed to investigate correlations between cognitive functions, the severity of schizophrenia symptoms, and lipid profiles. (2) Methods: Fifty-two women diagnosed with schizophrenia participated in this study. Cognitive functioning was measured using the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). The Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS) was used. The serum lipid profile, including low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), and triglycerides was measured. (3) Results: Better cognitive functions were associated with normal HDL levels, while low HDL levels correlated with worse WSCT scores. Only the PANSS negative subscale showed a correlation with HDL levels. Correlations with chronicity of schizophrenia and the patient’s age with poorer cognitive functions, but not with symptom severity, were detected. Early/late age at onset did not influence WSCT scores (4). Conclusions: Our results suggest high HDL levels might be a protective factor against cognitive impairment. The influences of age and illness duration also play a vital role in cognitive performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive Dysfunction in Schizophrenia)
9 pages, 810 KiB  
Article
The Significance of Off-Season Tailor-Made Baseline Measurements in the Assessment of Post-Concussion in University Athletes
by Kyosuke Goto, Yutaka Shigemori, Yoshitaka Tanabe, Shunya Otsubo, Nana Otsuka, Koki Terada, Rino Tsurusaki, Keita Yamaguchi, Kentaro Masuda, Hiroshi Fukushima, Muneyuki Tachihara, Hironobu Shimozono and Jun Murakami
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070698 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 300
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the significance of baseline measurements for amateur team athletes playing contact and collision team sports with a specific focus on the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) to improve concussion management. Symptoms of sports-related concussions (SRCs) can be diverse [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the significance of baseline measurements for amateur team athletes playing contact and collision team sports with a specific focus on the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) to improve concussion management. Symptoms of sports-related concussions (SRCs) can be diverse and long-lasting and include cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances, and vestibular dysfunction. Therefore, comprehensive baseline data are essential to preventing recurrent concussions and secondary injuries. This study was conducted during the 2023 off-season and evaluated the baseline condition of 65 male university rugby players using the SCAT5, which includes self-reported symptoms, and the modified Balance Error Scoring System (mBESS). The athletes were assessed for the presence or absence of SRC, and the mean values were compared using the Mann–Whitney U test. Among the participants, 35.38% (23/65) reported symptoms, with an average of 1.5 ± 2.8 symptoms per player and an average symptom score of 2.66 ± 5.93. In the mBESS, no errors were observed in the tandem stance test; however, 72.31% (47/65) made errors in the single-leg stance test on the non-dominant foot, with an average of 1.7 ± 1.5 errors. Many athletes self-reported symptoms and balance errors, even during asymptomatic periods before experiencing concussion, indicating unresolved issues. In the injury history survey, the baseline evaluations and injury histories of the participants classified into the SRC and non-SRC groups were compared. In the mBESS single-leg stance test (non-dominant foot), 84.21% (32/38) of the SRC group participants made errors, with an average score of 2.13 ± 1.52, whereas 55.55% (15/27) of the non-SRC group participants made errors, with an average score of 1.15 ± 1.35, showing a significant difference (p = 0.007). Additionally, significant differences were observed in the average number of ankle sprains (p = 0.027) and fractures (p = 0.048) between patients with and without a history of SRC. These findings indicate that athletes may have underlying issues even during normal periods before concussion. Moreover, the results highlighted the impact of previous concussions on motor control and injury risk. This underscores the importance of preseason baseline measurements using the SCAT to identify at-risk athletes and implement preventive measures. These findings align with the recommendations of the 6th International Conference on Concussion in Sport and suggest further refinement of concussion assessment tools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurosurgery and Neuroanatomy)
13 pages, 1101 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Mild Cognitive Impairment through Perientorhinal/Hippocampal Imaging and Comprehensive Neuropsychological and Psychophysical Assessment
by Sara Invitto, Paolo Boscolo-Rizzo, Giacomo Spinato, Giuseppe Trinchera, Giuseppe Accogli, Vincenzo Ciccarese, Luca Saba, Marcella Caggiula, Gaetano Barbagallo, Alfredo Pauciulo and Marina de Tommaso
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 697; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070697 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 473
Abstract
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a significant concern as it is a risk factor for AD progression, and early detection is vital in order to delay dementia onset and enable potential therapeutic interventions. Olfactory impairment is recognized as a predictive biomarker in neurodegenerative [...] Read more.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a significant concern as it is a risk factor for AD progression, and early detection is vital in order to delay dementia onset and enable potential therapeutic interventions. Olfactory impairment is recognized as a predictive biomarker in neurodegenerative processes. The aims of this study were to explore the degree of entorhinal cortical atrophy (ERICA) and the severity of MCI symptoms; to analyze magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) results for the entorhinal cortex, parahippocampal gyrus, peri entorhinal cortex, and the cerebellar tentorium; and to perform a comprehensive neuropsychological and psychophysical assessment. The main results highlighted that in our sample—multidomain amnesic MCI patients with hyposmic symptomatology—we found that ERICA scores were associated with the severity of anxiety symptomatology. One possible hypothesis to explain this observation is that anxiety may contribute to neurodegenerative processes by inducing chronic stress and inflammation. Future research should consider the longitudinal development of neuropsychological scores, anxiety disorders, and brain atrophy to determine their potential predictive value for MCI progression. These findings suggest the importance of psychological factors in MCI progression and the utility of neuropsychological assessment alongside neuroimaging techniques for early detection and follow-up in MCI patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Horizons in Multisensory Perception and Processing)
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19 pages, 3781 KiB  
Article
Neurophysiological Oscillatory Mechanisms Underlying the Effect of Mirror Visual Feedback-Induced Illusion of Hand Movements on Nociception and Cortical Activation
by Marco Rizzo, Laura Petrini, Claudio Del Percio, Lars Arendt-Nielsen and Claudio Babiloni
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 696; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070696 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 340
Abstract
Mirror Visual Feedback (MVF)-induced illusion of hand movements produces beneficial effects in patients with chronic pain. However, neurophysiological mechanisms underlying these effects are poorly known. In this preliminary study, we test the novel hypothesis that such an MVF-induced movement illusion may exert its [...] Read more.
Mirror Visual Feedback (MVF)-induced illusion of hand movements produces beneficial effects in patients with chronic pain. However, neurophysiological mechanisms underlying these effects are poorly known. In this preliminary study, we test the novel hypothesis that such an MVF-induced movement illusion may exert its effects by changing the activity in midline cortical areas associated with pain processing. Electrical stimuli with individually fixed intensity were applied to the left hand of healthy adults to produce painful and non-painful sensations during unilateral right-hand movements with such an MVF illusion and right and bilateral hand movements without MVF. During these events, electroencephalographic (EEG) activity was recorded from 64 scalp electrodes. Event-related desynchronization (ERD) of EEG alpha rhythms (8–12 Hz) indexed the neurophysiological oscillatory mechanisms inducing cortical activation. Compared to the painful sensations, the non-painful sensations were specifically characterized by (1) lower alpha ERD estimated in the cortical midline, angular gyrus, and lateral parietal regions during the experimental condition with MVF and (2) higher alpha ERD estimated in the lateral prefrontal and parietal regions during the control conditions without MVF. These preliminary results suggest that the MVF-induced movement illusion may affect nociception and neurophysiological oscillatory mechanisms, reducing the activation in cortical limbic and default mode regions. Full article
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17 pages, 687 KiB  
Review
The Role of Non-Invasive Brain Modulation in Identifying Disease Biomarkers for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Purposes in Parkinsonism
by Daniele Birreci, Martina De Riggi, Davide Costa, Luca Angelini, Antonio Cannavacciuolo, Massimiliano Passaretti, Giulia Paparella, Andrea Guerra and Matteo Bologna
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 695; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070695 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 328
Abstract
Over the past three decades, substantial advancements have occurred in non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS). These developments encompass various non-invasive techniques aimed at modulating brain function. Among the most widely utilized methods today are transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial electrical stimulation (TES), which [...] Read more.
Over the past three decades, substantial advancements have occurred in non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS). These developments encompass various non-invasive techniques aimed at modulating brain function. Among the most widely utilized methods today are transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial electrical stimulation (TES), which include direct- or alternating-current transcranial stimulation (tDCS/tACS). In addition to these established techniques, newer modalities have emerged, broadening the scope of non-invasive neuromodulation approaches available for research and clinical applications in movement disorders, particularly for Parkinson’s disease (PD) and, to a lesser extent, atypical Parkinsonism (AP). All NIBS techniques offer the opportunity to explore a wide range of neurophysiological mechanisms and exert influence over distinct brain regions implicated in the pathophysiology of Parkinsonism. This paper’s first aim is to provide a brief overview of the historical background and underlying physiological principles of primary NIBS techniques, focusing on their translational relevance. It aims to shed light on the potential identification of biomarkers for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, by summarising available experimental data on individuals with Parkinsonism. To date, despite promising findings indicating the potential utility of NIBS techniques in Parkinsonism, their integration into clinical routine for diagnostic or therapeutic protocols remains a subject of ongoing investigation and scientific debate. In this context, this paper addresses current unsolved issues and methodological challenges concerning the use of NIBS, focusing on the importance of future research endeavours for maximizing the efficacy and relevance of NIBS strategies for individuals with Parkinsonism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Approaches in the Exploration of Parkinson’s Disease)
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17 pages, 830 KiB  
Article
Non-Dominant Hemisphere Excitability Is Unaffected during and after Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation of the Dominant Hemisphere
by Erik W. Wilkins, Richard J. Young, Daniel Houston, Eric Kawana, Edgar Lopez Mora, Meghana S. Sunkara, Zachary A. Riley and Brach Poston
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 694; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070694 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 216
Abstract
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) increases primary motor cortex (M1) excitability and improves motor performance when applied unilaterally to the dominant hemisphere. However, the influence of tDCS on contralateral M1 excitability both during and after application has not been quantified. The purpose was [...] Read more.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) increases primary motor cortex (M1) excitability and improves motor performance when applied unilaterally to the dominant hemisphere. However, the influence of tDCS on contralateral M1 excitability both during and after application has not been quantified. The purpose was to determine the influence of tDCS applied to the dominant M1 on the excitability of the contralateral non-dominant M1. This study employed a double-blind, randomized, SHAM-controlled, within-subject crossover experimental design. Eighteen young adults performed two experimental sessions (tDCS, SHAM) in counterbalanced order separated by a one-week washout. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was used to quantify the excitability of the contralateral M1 to which anodal tDCS was applied for 20 min with a current strength of 1 mA. Motor evoked potential (MEP) amplitudes were assessed in 5 TMS test blocks (Pre, D5, D10, D15, and Post). The Pre and Post TMS test blocks were performed immediately before and after tDCS application, whereas the TMS test blocks performed during tDCS were completed at the 5, 10, and 15 min stimulation timepoints. MEPs were analyzed with a 2 condition (tDCS, SHAM) × 5 test (Pre, D5, D10, D15, Post) within-subject ANOVA. The main effect for condition (p = 0.213), the main effect for test (p = 0.502), and the condition × test interaction (p = 0.860) were all not statistically significant. These results indicate that tDCS does not modulate contralateral M1 excitability during or immediately after application, at least under the current set of common tDCS parameters of stimulation. Full article
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15 pages, 571 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Different Exercise Modes in Fitness and Cognitive Indicators: Hybrid versus Tele-Exercise in Patients with Long Post-COVID-19 Syndrome
by Vasileios T. Stavrou, George D. Vavougios, Kyriaki Astara, Dimitrios S. Mysiris, Glykeria Tsirimona, Eirini Papayianni, Stylianos Boutlas, Zoe Daniil, Georgios Hadjigeorgiou, Panagiotis Bargiotas and Konstantinos I. Gourgoulianis
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 693; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070693 - 11 Jul 2024
Viewed by 233
Abstract
The purpose of our study was to obtain evidence that an unsupervised tele-exercise program (TEgroup) via an online platform is a feasible alternative to a hybrid mode of supervised and unsupervised exercise (HEgroup) sessions for improving fitness indexes, respiratory [...] Read more.
The purpose of our study was to obtain evidence that an unsupervised tele-exercise program (TEgroup) via an online platform is a feasible alternative to a hybrid mode of supervised and unsupervised exercise (HEgroup) sessions for improving fitness indexes, respiratory and cognitive functions, and biomarkers of oxidative stress in patients recovering from COVID-19. Forty-nine patients with long post-COVID-19 were randomly divided into two groups (HEgroup: n = 24, age 60.0 ± 9.5 years versus TEgroup: n = 25, age 58.7 ± 9.5 years). For each patient, we collected data from body composition, oxidative stress, pulmonary function, physical fitness, and cognitive function before and after the 12-week exercise rehabilitation program (ERP). Our data showed differences in both groups before and after 12-week ERP on fitness indicators, body composition, and pulmonary function indicators. Our findings demonstrated differences between groups after 12-week ERP on adjustment in the domains of cognitive function (HEgroup increased the “visuospatial” domain: 3.2 ± 1.1 versus 3.5 ± 0.8 score, p = 0.008 and TEgroup increased the “memory” domain: 3.3 ± 1.0 versus 3.8 ± 0.5 score, p = 0.003; after 12-week ERP showed differences between groups in domain “attention” TEgroup: 4.8 ± 1.5 versus HEgroup: 3.6 ± 1.8 score, p = 0.014) and the diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (HEgroup increased the percent of predicted values at 0.5 ± 32.3% and TEgroup at 26.0 ± 33.1%, p < 0.001). These findings may be attributed to the different ways of learning exercise programs, resulting in the recruitment of different neural circuits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience)
14 pages, 1371 KiB  
Protocol
Cope PPA—Adaptation of the Biographic-Narrative Approach for Persons with Primary Progressive Aphasia: Protocol for Clinical Trial Design
by Mirjam Gauch, Sabine Corsten, Anna-Lena Köb, Oliver Tüscher, Isabel Heinrich and Katharina Geschke
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 692; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070692 - 11 Jul 2024
Viewed by 247
Abstract
Persons with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) often experience limitations in their quality of life (QoL). Some studies have shown positive effects of speech and language therapy on QoL in persons with PPA. However, there is still a lack of evidence for disorder-specific approaches [...] Read more.
Persons with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) often experience limitations in their quality of life (QoL). Some studies have shown positive effects of speech and language therapy on QoL in persons with PPA. However, there is still a lack of evidence for disorder-specific approaches for this important therapeutic goal. The biographic-narrative approach (narraktiv) has been shown to significantly improve QoL in persons with post-stroke aphasia. In the planned study, the biographic-narrative approach will be adapted for persons with PPA (Cope PPA), and its efficacy will be investigated. First, a focus group interview with five persons with PPA will be conducted to identify the wishes and needs of participants. Based on the results, the narraktiv manual according to Corsten et al. (2015) will be revised. Second, an efficacy study will be conducted according to the new Cope PPA manual with 24 persons with PPA in a waiting group control design. The primary outcome, QoL, will be assessed using questionnaires (Stroke and Aphasia Quality of Life Scale-39) and semistructured interviews. Depressive symptoms, life satisfaction and cognitive/communicative functioning will also be assessed. If Cope PPA proves efficacy, this study may help to improve the treatment of persons with PPA. Full article
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10 pages, 455 KiB  
Review
The Impact of Social Cognition Deficits on Quality of Life in Multiple Sclerosis: A Scoping Review
by Giulia Marafioti, Davide Cardile, Laura Culicetto, Angelo Quartarone and Viviana Lo Buono
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 691; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070691 - 11 Jul 2024
Viewed by 237
Abstract
Background: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disease that affects the Central Nervous System by causing demyelination. Social cognition (SC) deficits are common among individuals with MS and can significantly impact their quality of life (QoL) due to difficulties in interpreting social [...] Read more.
Background: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disease that affects the Central Nervous System by causing demyelination. Social cognition (SC) deficits are common among individuals with MS and can significantly impact their quality of life (QoL) due to difficulties in interpreting social cues and establishing meaningful relationships. Objective: This scoping review aimed to investigate SC in subjects with MS and its impact on QoL. Methods: Systematic searches were performed in PubMed, Scopus, Embase, and Web of Science databases. After reading the full text of the selected studies and applying predefined inclusion criteria, four studies were included based on pertinence and relevance to the topic. Results: The findings highlight significant associations between SC deficits, social support, fatigue, and QoL outcomes. Cognitive decline was identified as a predictive factor for SC impairment in the MS population, which affects daily activities and relationships, thereby reducing QoL. Moreover, emotional impairments such as depression and anxiety exacerbate these challenges. Enhancing social support networks may improve psychological well-being and disease management in MS. Conclusions: Although evidence is limited, assessing SC is crucial in the care pathways for MS to develop tailored psychosocial interventions that address the cognitive, emotional, and social facets of the disease, thereby improving overall outcomes and QoL. Full article
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21 pages, 1190 KiB  
Article
Effects of Transcutaneous Auricular Vagus Nerve Stimulation on the P300: Do Stimulation Duration and Stimulation Type Matter?
by Manon Giraudier, Carlos Ventura-Bort and Mathias Weymar
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 690; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070690 - 10 Jul 2024
Viewed by 328
Abstract
Non-invasive transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) has attracted increasing interest as a neurostimulation tool with potential applications in modulating cognitive processes such as attention and memory, possibly through the modulation of the locus–coeruleus noradrenaline system. Studies examining the P300 brain-related component as [...] Read more.
Non-invasive transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) has attracted increasing interest as a neurostimulation tool with potential applications in modulating cognitive processes such as attention and memory, possibly through the modulation of the locus–coeruleus noradrenaline system. Studies examining the P300 brain-related component as a correlate of noradrenergic activity, however, have yielded inconsistent findings, possibly due to differences in stimulation parameters, thus necessitating further investigation. In this event-related potential study involving 61 participants, therefore, we examined how changes in taVNS parameters, specifically stimulation type (interval vs. continuous stimulation) and duration, influence P300 amplitudes during a visual novelty oddball task. Although no effects of stimulation were found over the whole cluster and time window of the P300, cluster-based permutation tests revealed a distinct impact of taVNS on the P300 response for a small electrode cluster, characterized by larger amplitudes observed for easy targets (i.e., stimuli that are easily discernible from standards) following taVNS compared to sham stimulation. Notably, our findings suggested that the type of stimulation significantly modulated taVNS effects on the P300, with continuous stimulation showing larger P300 differences (taVNS vs. sham) for hard targets and standards compared to interval stimulation. We observed no interaction effects of stimulation duration on the target-related P300. While our findings align with previous research, further investigation is warranted to fully elucidate the influence of taVNS on the P300 component and its potential utility as a reliable marker for neuromodulation in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurotechnology and Neuroimaging)
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23 pages, 1392 KiB  
Article
The Adaptation of the Communicative Effectiveness Index (CETI) into Greek: A Reliability and Validity Study
by Marina Charalambous, Phivos Phylactou, Eleftheria Antoniou, Maria Christodoulou and Maria Kambanaros
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 689; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070689 - 10 Jul 2024
Viewed by 585
Abstract
The Communicative Effectiveness Index (CETI) is an informant rating scale designed to measure changes in functional communication in people with aphasia (PWA) from the carer’s perspective. It offers a comprehensive view of aphasia’s impact on everyday communication situations, aiding clinicians in designing personalized [...] Read more.
The Communicative Effectiveness Index (CETI) is an informant rating scale designed to measure changes in functional communication in people with aphasia (PWA) from the carer’s perspective. It offers a comprehensive view of aphasia’s impact on everyday communication situations, aiding clinicians in designing personalized intervention plans. The aim of this study was to translate and adapt the CETI into Greek (CETI-GR) and validate its psychometric properties. The CETI-GR was translated into Greek using back-translation. A pilot and a content validity study ensured its acceptability. The study involved 30 people with aphasia and 30 carers. The CETI-GR’s psychometric properties were evaluated, including internal consistency, test–retest reliability, inter-rater reliability, and validity measures. The CETI-GR demonstrated excellent internal consistency (Cronbach’s α > 0.95) and excellent inter-rater reliability (ICC ≥ 0.93). Excellent consistency was revealed when testing the CETI responses given only by PWA (α = 0.91) versus their carers (α = 0.97). Test–retest reliability was high (ICC = 0.88). Significant correlations between the CETI-GR and measures of language severity, functional communication, and quality of life supported convergent validity. The CETI-GR is a reliable tool for assessing functional communication in chronic aphasia. Its Greek adaptation enhances aphasia rehabilitation, enabling person-centered care and improving the quality of life for people with aphasia and carers. Full article
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11 pages, 1112 KiB  
Article
MutaPT: A Multi-Task Pre-Trained Transformer for Classifying State of Disorders of Consciousness Using EEG Signal
by Zihan Wang, Junqi Yu, Jiahui Gao, Yang Bai and Zhijiang Wan
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 688; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070688 - 10 Jul 2024
Viewed by 343
Abstract
Deep learning (DL) has been demonstrated to be a valuable tool for classifying state of disorders of consciousness (DOC) using EEG signals. However, the performance of the DL-based DOC state classification is often challenged by the limited size of EEG datasets. To overcome [...] Read more.
Deep learning (DL) has been demonstrated to be a valuable tool for classifying state of disorders of consciousness (DOC) using EEG signals. However, the performance of the DL-based DOC state classification is often challenged by the limited size of EEG datasets. To overcome this issue, we introduce multiple open-source EEG datasets to increase data volume and train a novel multi-task pre-training Transformer model named MutaPT. Furthermore, we propose a cross-distribution self-supervised (CDS) pre-training strategy to enhance the model’s generalization ability, addressing data distribution shifts across multiple datasets. An EEG dataset of DOC patients is used to validate the effectiveness of our methods for the task of classifying DOC states. Experimental results show the superiority of our MutaPT over several DL models for EEG classification. Full article
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16 pages, 758 KiB  
Review
Neuroinflammation in Glioblastoma: Progress and Perspectives
by Xin Li, Wenting Gou and Xiaoqin Zhang
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 687; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070687 - 9 Jul 2024
Viewed by 313
Abstract
Glioblastoma is the most common and malignant primary brain tumor, with high morbidity and mortality. Despite an aggressive, multimodal treatment regimen, including surgical resection followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the prognosis of glioblastoma patients remains poor. One formidable challenge to advancing glioblastoma therapy [...] Read more.
Glioblastoma is the most common and malignant primary brain tumor, with high morbidity and mortality. Despite an aggressive, multimodal treatment regimen, including surgical resection followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the prognosis of glioblastoma patients remains poor. One formidable challenge to advancing glioblastoma therapy is the complexity of the tumor microenvironment. The tumor microenvironment of glioblastoma is a highly dynamic and heterogeneous system that consists of not only cancerous cells but also various resident or infiltrating inflammatory cells. These inflammatory cells not only provide a unique tumor environment for glioblastoma cells to develop and grow but also play important roles in regulating tumor aggressiveness and treatment resistance. Targeting the tumor microenvironment, especially neuroinflammation, has increasingly been recognized as a novel therapeutic approach in glioblastoma. In this review, we discuss the components of the tumor microenvironment in glioblastoma, focusing on neuroinflammation. We discuss the interactions between different tumor microenvironment components as well as their functions in regulating glioblastoma pathogenesis and progression. We will also discuss the anti-tumor microenvironment interventions that can be employed as potential therapeutic targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Neuroinflammation)
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23 pages, 1499 KiB  
Article
Age-Based Developmental Biomarkers in Eye Movements: A Retrospective Analysis Using Machine Learning
by Melissa Hunfalvay, Takumi Bolte, Abhishek Singh, Ethan Greenstein, Nicholas P. Murray and Frederick Robert Carrick
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 686; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070686 - 9 Jul 2024
Viewed by 612
Abstract
This study aimed to identify when and how eye movements change across the human lifespan to benchmark developmental biomarkers. The sample size comprised 45,696 participants, ranging in age from 6 to 80 years old (M = 30.39; SD = 17.46). Participants completed [...] Read more.
This study aimed to identify when and how eye movements change across the human lifespan to benchmark developmental biomarkers. The sample size comprised 45,696 participants, ranging in age from 6 to 80 years old (M = 30.39; SD = 17.46). Participants completed six eye movement tests: Circular Smooth Pursuit, Horizontal Smooth Pursuit, Vertical Smooth Pursuit, Horizontal Saccades, Vertical Saccades, and Fixation Stability. These tests examined all four major eye movements (fixations, saccades, pursuits, and vergence) using 89 eye-tracking algorithms. A semi-supervised, self-training, machine learning classifier was used to group the data into age ranges. This classifier resulted in 12 age groups: 6–7, 8–11, 12–14, 15–25, 26–31, 32–38, 39–45, 46–53, 54–60, 61–68, 69–76, and 77–80 years. To provide a descriptive indication of the strength of the self-training classifier, a series of multiple analyses of variance (MANOVA) were conducted on the multivariate effect of the age groups by test set. Each MANOVA revealed a significant multivariate effect on age groups (p < 0.001). Developmental changes in eye movements across age categories were identified. Specifically, similarities were observed between very young and elderly individuals. Middle-aged individuals (30s) generally showed the best eye movement metrics. Clinicians and researchers may use the findings from this study to inform decision-making on patients’ health and wellness and guide effective research methodologies. Full article
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22 pages, 5336 KiB  
Article
Disrupted Brain Network Measures in Parkinson’s Disease Patients with Severe Hyposmia and Cognitively Normal Ability
by Karthik Siva, Palanisamy Ponnusamy and Malmathanraj Ramanathan
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 685; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070685 - 8 Jul 2024
Viewed by 391
Abstract
Neuroscience has revolved around brain structural changes, functional activity, and connectivity alteration in Parkinson’s Disease (PD); however, how the network topology organization becomes altered is still unclear, specifically in Parkinson’s patients with severe hyposmia. In this study, we have examined the functional network [...] Read more.
Neuroscience has revolved around brain structural changes, functional activity, and connectivity alteration in Parkinson’s Disease (PD); however, how the network topology organization becomes altered is still unclear, specifically in Parkinson’s patients with severe hyposmia. In this study, we have examined the functional network topological alteration in patients affected by Parkinson’s Disease with normal cognitive ability (ODN), Parkinson’s Disease with severe hyposmia (ODP), and healthy controls (HCs) using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) data. We have analyzed brain topological organization using popular graph measures such as network segregation (clustering coefficient, modularity), network integration (participation coefficient, path length), small-worldness, efficiency, centrality, and assortativity. Then, we used a feature ranking approach based on the diagonal adaptation of neighborhood component analysis, aiming to determine a graph measure that is sensitive enough to distinguish between these three different groups. We noted significantly lower segregation and local efficiency and small-worldness in ODP compared to ODN and HCs. On the contrary, we did not find differences in network integration in ODP compared to ODN and HCs, which indicates that the brain network becomes fragmented in ODP. At the brain network level, a progressive increase in the DMN (Default Mode Network) was observed from healthy controls to ODN to ODP, and a continuous decrease in the cingulo-opercular network was observed from healthy controls to ODN to ODP. Further, the feature ranking approach has shown that the whole-brain clustering coefficient and small-worldness are sensitive measures to classify ODP vs. ODN, as well as HCs. Looking at the brain regional network segregation, we have found that the cerebellum and limbic, fronto-parietal, and occipital lobes have higher ODP reductions than ODN and HCs. Our results suggest network topological measures, specifically whole-brain segregation and small-worldness decreases. At the network level, an increase in DMN and a decrease in the cingulo-opercular network could be used as biomarkers to characterize ODN and ODP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Approaches in the Exploration of Parkinson’s Disease)
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18 pages, 818 KiB  
Article
Can Occupational Safety and Health Preventive Measures Taken by the Employer Influence Sleep Disturbances in Teleworkers? Results from the Quantitative Study on Working Life with COVID-19 in Latvia
by Linda Matisāne, Diāna Inga Paegle, Linda Paegle, Lāsma Akūlova, Monta Matisāne and Ivars Vanadziņš
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 684; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070684 - 8 Jul 2024
Viewed by 427
Abstract
This research on sleep disturbances emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our study investigated the association between self-reported sleep disturbances among teleworkers and the preventive measures employers took to improve their working environment. Answers obtained via a web survey gathered from 1086 teleworkers (517 [...] Read more.
This research on sleep disturbances emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our study investigated the association between self-reported sleep disturbances among teleworkers and the preventive measures employers took to improve their working environment. Answers obtained via a web survey gathered from 1086 teleworkers (517 in the spring of 2021 and 569 in the spring of 2022) were analysed. The odds of self-reported sleep disturbances were significantly higher for all preventive measures in the group of respondents reporting a lack of a particular measure. The highest odds ratios were observed for the statement “My employer identified conditions where I am teleworking” (adjusted OR = 2.98, 95% CI 2.10–4.23) and “Online team-building events were organised” (adjusted OR = 2.85, 95% CI 1.88–4.35). The results of our study have revealed that workplace interventions that serve as a mediator for sleep disorders, even if they are not directly targeted at managing sleep disturbances or stress, can reduce the number of teleworkers reporting sleep disturbances. According to our knowledge, this is the first study reporting the effectiveness of employer interventions that help teleworkers manage their sleep disturbances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience)
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21 pages, 2267 KiB  
Article
Intermittent Theta Burst Stimulation Combined with Cognitive Training to Improve Negative Symptoms and Cognitive Impairment in Schizophrenia: A Pilot Study
by Alessandra Vergallito, Camilla Gesi and Sara Torriero
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 683; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070683 - 8 Jul 2024
Viewed by 457
Abstract
Schizophrenia is a chronic psychiatric disorder severely affecting patients’ functioning and quality of life. Unlike positive symptoms, cognitive impairment and negative symptoms cannot be treated pharmacologically and represent consistent predictors of the illness’s prognosis. Cognitive remediation (CR) interventions have been applied to target [...] Read more.
Schizophrenia is a chronic psychiatric disorder severely affecting patients’ functioning and quality of life. Unlike positive symptoms, cognitive impairment and negative symptoms cannot be treated pharmacologically and represent consistent predictors of the illness’s prognosis. Cognitive remediation (CR) interventions have been applied to target these symptoms. Brain stimulation also provides promising yet preliminary results in reducing negative symptoms, whereas its effect on cognitive impairment remains heterogeneous. Here, we combined intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) with CR to improve negative symptoms and cognitive impairment in schizophrenia spectrum patients. One hundred eligible patients were invited, and twenty-one participated. We randomized them into four groups, manipulating the stimulation condition (real vs. sham) and CR (no training vs. training). We delivered fifteen iTBS sessions over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex for three weeks, followed (or not) by 50 min of training. Consensus-based clinical and cognitive assessment was administered at baseline and after the treatment, plus at three follow-ups occurring one, three, and six months after the intervention. Mixed-model analyses were run on cognitive and negative symptom scores. The preliminary findings highlighted a marginal modulation of iTBS on negative symptoms, whereas CR improved isolated cognitive functions. We herein discuss the limitations and strengths of the methodological approach. Full article
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