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Brain Sci., Volume 8, Issue 6 (June 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Timely and efficient remyelination following demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system [...] Read more.
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Open AccessReview Neurophysiological Markers of Statistical Learning in Music and Language: Hierarchy, Entropy and Uncertainty
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060114
Received: 10 May 2018 / Revised: 14 June 2018 / Accepted: 18 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
Statistical learning (SL) is a method of learning based on the transitional probabilities embedded in sequential phenomena such as music and language. It has been considered an implicit and domain-general mechanism that is innate in the human brain and that functions independently of
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Statistical learning (SL) is a method of learning based on the transitional probabilities embedded in sequential phenomena such as music and language. It has been considered an implicit and domain-general mechanism that is innate in the human brain and that functions independently of intention to learn and awareness of what has been learned. SL is an interdisciplinary notion that incorporates information technology, artificial intelligence, musicology, and linguistics, as well as psychology and neuroscience. A body of recent study has suggested that SL can be reflected in neurophysiological responses based on the framework of information theory. This paper reviews a range of work on SL in adults and children that suggests overlapping and independent neural correlations in music and language, and that indicates disability of SL. Furthermore, this article discusses the relationships between the order of transitional probabilities (TPs) (i.e., hierarchy of local statistics) and entropy (i.e., global statistics) regarding SL strategies in human’s brains; claims importance of information-theoretical approaches to understand domain-general, higher-order, and global SL covering both real-world music and language; and proposes promising approaches for the application of therapy and pedagogy from various perspectives of psychology, neuroscience, computational studies, musicology, and linguistics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Neurocognition of Music and Language)
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Open AccessReview A Review of Traumatic Brain Injury and the Gut Microbiome: Insights into Novel Mechanisms of Secondary Brain Injury and Promising Targets for Neuroprotection
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060113
Received: 5 June 2018 / Revised: 15 June 2018 / Accepted: 17 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
The gut microbiome and its role in health and disease have recently been major focus areas of research. In this review, we summarize the different ways in which the gut microbiome interacts with the rest of the body, with focus areas on its
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The gut microbiome and its role in health and disease have recently been major focus areas of research. In this review, we summarize the different ways in which the gut microbiome interacts with the rest of the body, with focus areas on its relationships with immunity, the brain, and injury. The gut–brain axis, a communication network linking together the central and enteric nervous systems, represents a key bidirectional pathway with feed-forward and feedback mechanisms. The gut microbiota has a central role in this pathway and is significantly altered following injury, leading to a pro-inflammatory state within the central nervous system (CNS). Herein, we examine traumatic brain injury (TBI) in relation to this axis and explore potential interventions, which may serve as targets for improving clinical outcomes and preventing secondary brain injury. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Mechanisms and Strategies for Neural Repair)
Open AccessArticle Effective Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury in Rowett Nude Rats with Stromal Vascular Fraction Transplantation
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060112
Received: 22 May 2018 / Revised: 15 June 2018 / Accepted: 15 June 2018 / Published: 18 June 2018
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Abstract
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects 1.9 million Americans, including blast TBI that is the signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Our project investigated whether stromal vascular fraction (SVF) can assist in post-TBI recovery. We utilized strong acoustic waves (5.0 bar) to
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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects 1.9 million Americans, including blast TBI that is the signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Our project investigated whether stromal vascular fraction (SVF) can assist in post-TBI recovery. We utilized strong acoustic waves (5.0 bar) to induce TBI in the cortex of adult Rowett Nude (RNU) rats. One hour post-TBI, harvested human SVF (500,000 cells suspended in 0.5 mL lactated Ringers) was incubated with Q-Tracker cell label and administered into tail veins of RNU rats. For comparison, we utilized rats that received SVF 72 h post-TBI, and a control group that received lactated Ringers solution. Rotarod and water maze assays were used to monitor motor coordination and spatial memories. Rats treated immediately after TBI showed no signs of motor skills and memory regression. SVF treatment 72 h post-TBI enabled the rats maintain their motor skills, while controls treated with lactated Ringers were 25% worse statistically in both assays. Histological analysis showed the presence of Q-dot labeled human cells near the infarct in both SVF treatment groups; however, labeled cells were twice as numerous in the one hour group. Our study suggests that immediate treatment with SVF would serve as potential therapeutic agents in TBI. Full article
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Open AccessReview Emerging Cellular and Molecular Strategies for Enhancing Central Nervous System (CNS) Remyelination
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060111
Received: 9 May 2018 / Revised: 12 June 2018 / Accepted: 13 June 2018 / Published: 15 June 2018
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Abstract
Myelination is critical for the normal functioning of the central nervous system (CNS) in vertebrates. Conditions in which the development of myelin is perturbed result in severely compromised individuals often with shorter lifespans, while loss of myelin in the adult results in a
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Myelination is critical for the normal functioning of the central nervous system (CNS) in vertebrates. Conditions in which the development of myelin is perturbed result in severely compromised individuals often with shorter lifespans, while loss of myelin in the adult results in a variety of functional deficits. Although some form of spontaneous remyelination often takes place, the repair process as a whole often fails. Several lines of evidence suggest it is feasible to develop strategies that enhance the capacity of the CNS to undergo remyelination and potentially reverse functional deficits. Such strategies include cellular therapies using either neural or mesenchymal stem cells as well as molecular regulators of oligodendrocyte development and differentiation. Given the prevalence of demyelinating diseases and their effects on the quality of life for affected individuals it is imperative that effective therapies are developed. Here we discuss some of the new approaches to CNS myelin repair that hold promise for reducing the burden of diseases characterized by myelin loss. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Mechanisms and Strategies for Neural Repair)
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Open AccessArticle Chaperonology: The Third Eye on Brain Gliomas
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060110
Received: 10 May 2018 / Revised: 5 June 2018 / Accepted: 13 June 2018 / Published: 14 June 2018
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Abstract
The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer/National Cancer Institute of Canada Phase III trial has validated as a current regimen for high-grade gliomas (HGG) a maximal safe surgical resection followed by radiotherapy with concurrent temozolamide. However, it is essential to balance
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The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer/National Cancer Institute of Canada Phase III trial has validated as a current regimen for high-grade gliomas (HGG) a maximal safe surgical resection followed by radiotherapy with concurrent temozolamide. However, it is essential to balance maximal tumor resection with preservation of the patient’s neurological functions. Important developments in the fields of pre-operative and intra-operative neuro-imaging and neuro-monitoring have ameliorated the survival rate and the quality of life for patients affected by HGG. Moreover, even though the natural history remains extremely poor, advancement in the molecular and genetic fields have opened up new potential frontiers in the management of this devastating brain disease. In this review, we aim to present a comprehensive account of the main current pre-operative, intra-operative and molecular approaches to HGG with particular attention to specific chaperones, also called heat shock proteins (Hsps), which represent potential novel biomarkers to detect and follow up HGG, and could also be therapeutic agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optimizing Management of High Grade Glioma)
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Open AccessReview History of Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) and Its Use for Spinal Cord Injury Repair
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060109
Received: 17 May 2018 / Revised: 10 June 2018 / Accepted: 11 June 2018 / Published: 13 June 2018
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Abstract
Following an initial mechanical insult, traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) induces a secondary wave of injury, resulting in a toxic lesion environment inhibitory to axonal regeneration. This review focuses on the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and its application, in combination with
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Following an initial mechanical insult, traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) induces a secondary wave of injury, resulting in a toxic lesion environment inhibitory to axonal regeneration. This review focuses on the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and its application, in combination with other factors and cell transplantations, for repairing the injured spinal cord. As studies of recent decades strongly suggest that combinational treatment approaches hold the greatest therapeutic potential for the central nervous system (CNS) trauma, future directions of combinational therapies will also be discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Mechanisms and Strategies for Neural Repair)
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Open AccessArticle Depression among Black Youth; Interaction of Class and Place
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060108
Received: 9 April 2018 / Revised: 4 June 2018 / Accepted: 10 June 2018 / Published: 12 June 2018
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Abstract
Although high socioeconomic status (SES) is traditionally conceptualized as a health protective factor, recent literature has documented positive associations between SES (e.g., income) and depression among Blacks, including Black youth. To extend the results of this recent literature, the current study used the
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Although high socioeconomic status (SES) is traditionally conceptualized as a health protective factor, recent literature has documented positive associations between SES (e.g., income) and depression among Blacks, including Black youth. To extend the results of this recent literature, the current study used the Family and Community Health Study (FACHS) data to examine the multiplicative effects of gender, place, and SES on average depressive symptoms of Black youth over a long period of time. FACHS, 1997–2017, followed 889 Black children aged 10–12 years old for up to 18 years. Depressive symptoms were measured in seven waves. The main predictors of interest were two SES indicators, parent education and family income measured at baseline (1997). Main outcome of interest was average depressive symptoms over the 18 year follow up period. Place of residence and gender were the focal moderators. Linear regression models were used for data analysis. In the pooled sample, living in a predominantly White area was associated with higher average depressive symptoms over time, however, this association was fully explained by higher perceived racial discrimination in the predominantly White areas. We found an interaction between income and place of residence on average depressive symptoms, suggesting that higher income is associated with more depressive symptoms in predominantly White compared to predominantly Black areas. Place did not interact with parent education on average depressive symptoms. Gender also did not interact with education or income on depressive symptoms. Findings suggest that place and SES may interact on depressive symptoms of Black youth, with high income becoming a risk factor for depressive symptoms in predominantly White areas. How SES indicators, such as income, protect or become a risk factor depend on other contextual factors, such as place of residence. There is a need to reduce discrimination experienced by Blacks, especially in predominantly White areas. Meanwhile, Black youth who live in predominantly White areas may require additional help that enhances their coping. Full article
Open AccessReview Brain Connectivity Networks and the Aesthetic Experience of Music
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060107
Received: 22 April 2018 / Revised: 28 May 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 12 June 2018
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Abstract
Listening to music is above all a human experience, which becomes an aesthetic experience when an individual immerses himself/herself in the music, dedicating attention to perceptual-cognitive-affective interpretation and evaluation. The study of these processes where the individual perceives, understands, enjoys and evaluates a
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Listening to music is above all a human experience, which becomes an aesthetic experience when an individual immerses himself/herself in the music, dedicating attention to perceptual-cognitive-affective interpretation and evaluation. The study of these processes where the individual perceives, understands, enjoys and evaluates a set of auditory stimuli has mainly been focused on the effect of music on specific brain structures, as measured with neurophysiology and neuroimaging techniques. The very recent application of network science algorithms to brain research allows an insight into the functional connectivity between brain regions. These studies in network neuroscience have identified distinct circuits that function during goal-directed tasks and resting states. We review recent neuroimaging findings which indicate that music listening is traceable in terms of network connectivity and activations of target regions in the brain, in particular between the auditory cortex, the reward brain system and brain regions active during mind wandering. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Perinatal MAO Inhibition Produces Long-Lasting Impairment of Serotonin Function in Offspring
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060106
Received: 18 May 2018 / Revised: 7 June 2018 / Accepted: 9 June 2018 / Published: 11 June 2018
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Abstract
In addition to transmitter functions, many neuroamines have trophic or ontogenetic regulatory effects important to both normal and disordered brain development. In previous work (Mejia et al., 2002), we showed that pharmacologically inhibiting monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity during murine gestation increases the prevalence
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In addition to transmitter functions, many neuroamines have trophic or ontogenetic regulatory effects important to both normal and disordered brain development. In previous work (Mejia et al., 2002), we showed that pharmacologically inhibiting monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity during murine gestation increases the prevalence of behaviors thought to reflect impulsivity and aggression. The goal of the present study was to determine the extent to which this treatment influences dopamine and serotonin innervation of murine cortical and subcortical areas, as measured by regional density of dopamine (DAT) and serotonin transporters (SERT). We measured DAT and SERT densities at 3 developmental times (PND 14, 35 and 90) following inhibition of MAO A, or MAO B or both throughout murine gestation and early post-natal development. DAT binding was unaltered within the nigrostriatal pathway, but concurrent inhibition of MAO-A and MAO-B significantly and specifically reduced SERT binding by 10–25% in both the frontal cortex and raphe nuclei. Low levels of SERT binding persisted (PND 35, 90) after the termination (PND 21) of exposure to MAO inhibitors and was most marked in brain structures germane to the previously described behavioral changes. The relatively modest level of enzyme inhibition (25–40%) required to produce these effects mandates care in the use of any compound which might inhibit MAO activity during gestation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Depressive Symptoms and Self-Esteem in White and Black Older Adults in the United States
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060105
Received: 12 May 2018 / Revised: 24 May 2018 / Accepted: 9 June 2018 / Published: 11 June 2018
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Abstract
Background. Poor self-esteem is a core element of depression. According to recent research, some racial groups may vary in the magnitude of the link between depression and poor self-esteem. Using a national sample, we compared Black and White older Americans for the effect
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Background. Poor self-esteem is a core element of depression. According to recent research, some racial groups may vary in the magnitude of the link between depression and poor self-esteem. Using a national sample, we compared Black and White older Americans for the effect of baseline depressive symptoms on decline in self-esteem over time. Methods. This longitudinal study used data from the Religion, Aging, and Health Survey, 2001–2004. The study followed 1493 older adults (734 Black and 759 White) 65 years or older for three years. Baseline depressive symptoms (CES-D), measured in 2001, was the independent variable. Self-esteem, measured at the end of the follow up, was the dependent variable. Covariates included baseline demographic characteristics (age and gender), socioeconomic factors (education, income, and marital status), health (self-rated health), and baseline self-esteem. Race/ethnicity was the moderator. Linear multi-variable regression models were used for data analyses. Results. In the pooled sample, higher depressive symptoms at baseline were predictive of a larger decline in self-esteem over time, net of covariates. We found a significant interaction between race/ethnicity and baseline depressive symptoms on self-esteem decline, suggesting a weaker effect for Blacks compared to Whites. In race/ethnicity-specific models, high depressive symptoms at baseline was predictive of a decline in self-esteem for Whites but not Blacks. Conclusion. Depressive symptoms may be a more salient contributor to self-esteem decline for White than Black older adults. This finding has implications for psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy of depression of racially diverse populations. Full article
Open AccessReview Neuroprotective and Cognitive Enhancement Potentials of Baicalin: A Review
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060104
Received: 21 May 2018 / Revised: 5 June 2018 / Accepted: 8 June 2018 / Published: 11 June 2018
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Abstract
Neurodegenerative diseases are a heterogeneous group of disorders that are characterized by the gradual loss of neurons. The development of effective neuroprotective agents to prevent and control neurodegenerative diseases is specifically important. Recently, there has been an increasing interest in selecting flavonoid compounds
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Neurodegenerative diseases are a heterogeneous group of disorders that are characterized by the gradual loss of neurons. The development of effective neuroprotective agents to prevent and control neurodegenerative diseases is specifically important. Recently, there has been an increasing interest in selecting flavonoid compounds as potential neuroprotective agents, owing to their high effectiveness with low side effects. Baicalin is one of the important flavonoid compounds, which is mainly isolated from the root of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi (an important Chinese medicinal herb). In recent years, a number of studies have shown that baicalin has a potent neuroprotective effect in various in vitro and in vivo models of neuronal injury. In particular, baicalin effectively prevents neurodegenerative diseases through various pharmacological mechanisms, including antioxidative stress, anti-excitotoxicity, anti-apoptotic, anti-inflammatory, stimulating neurogenesis, promoting the expression of neuronal protective factors, etc. This review mainly focuses on the neuroprotective and cognitive enhancement effects of baicalin. The aim of the present review is to compile all information in relation to the neuroprotective and cognitive enhancement effects of baicalin and its molecular mechanisms of action in various in vitro and in vivo experimental models. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Inhibitory Projections in the Mouse Auditory Tectothalamic System
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060103
Received: 11 May 2018 / Revised: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 9 June 2018
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Abstract
The medial geniculate body (MGB) is the target of excitatory and inhibitory inputs from several neural sources. Among these, the inferior colliculus (IC) is an important nucleus in the midbrain that acts as a nexus for auditory projections, ascending and descending, throughout the
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The medial geniculate body (MGB) is the target of excitatory and inhibitory inputs from several neural sources. Among these, the inferior colliculus (IC) is an important nucleus in the midbrain that acts as a nexus for auditory projections, ascending and descending, throughout the rest of the central auditory system and provides both excitatory and inhibitory inputs to the MGB. In our study, we assessed the relative contribution from presumed excitatory and inhibitory IC neurons to the MGB in mice. Using retrograde tract tracing with cholera toxin beta subunit (CTβ)-Alexa Fluor 594 injected into the MGB of transgenic, vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT)-Venus mice, we quantitatively analyzed the projections from both the ipsilateral and contralateral IC to the MGB. Our results demonstrate inhibitory projections from both ICs to the MGB that likely play a significant role in shaping auditory processing. These results complement prior studies in other species, which suggest that the inhibitory tectothalamic pathway is important in the regulation of neuronal activity in the auditory forebrain. Full article
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Open AccessReview The Role of Telehealth to Assist In-Home tDCS: Opportunities, Promising Results and Acceptability
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060102
Received: 9 May 2018 / Revised: 24 May 2018 / Accepted: 6 June 2018 / Published: 7 June 2018
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Abstract
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has shown great promise as a neuromodulatory intervention capable of improving behavioral outcomes in a range of neurological and psychiatric populations. Evidence indicates that the neuromodulatory effect of stimulation may be cumulative, with greater improvements in behavior observed
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Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has shown great promise as a neuromodulatory intervention capable of improving behavioral outcomes in a range of neurological and psychiatric populations. Evidence indicates that the neuromodulatory effect of stimulation may be cumulative, with greater improvements in behavior observed following multiple treatment sessions. However, the requirement to attend clinical or research departments for multiple treatment sessions may present a barrier for many people, particularly those with greater disability or living remotely. The portability of tDCS suggests that in-home stimulation may become an avenue for further investigation. However, safe and effective use of tDCS by a participant within their home requires a form of monitoring. This review discusses how telehealth may provide real-time visual monitoring to ensure correct tDCS set-up and adherence to stimulation protocols, manage technical issues and monitor adverse events. The combination of telehealth to supplement in-home tDCS use has potential to transform the way tDCS is delivered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation Applications)
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Open AccessReview Anti-Cytokine Therapy to Attenuate Ischemic-Reperfusion Associated Brain Injury in the Perinatal Period
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060101
Received: 11 May 2018 / Revised: 31 May 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 7 June 2018
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Abstract
Perinatal brain injury is a major cause of morbidity and long-standing disability in newborns. Hypothermia is the only therapy approved to attenuate brain injury in the newborn. However, this treatment is unfortunately only partially neuroprotective and can only be used to treat hypoxic-ischemic
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Perinatal brain injury is a major cause of morbidity and long-standing disability in newborns. Hypothermia is the only therapy approved to attenuate brain injury in the newborn. However, this treatment is unfortunately only partially neuroprotective and can only be used to treat hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in full term infants. Therefore, there is an urgent need for adjunctive therapeutic strategies. Post-ischemic neuro-inflammation is a crucial contributor to the evolution of brain injury in neonates and constitutes a promising therapeutic target. Recently, we demonstrated encouraging neuroprotective capacities of anti-cytokine monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) in an ischemic-reperfusion (I/R) model of brain injury in the ovine fetus. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current knowledge regarding the inflammatory response in the perinatal sheep brain after I/R injury and to review our recent findings regarding the beneficial effects of treatment with anti-cytokine mAbs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prevention and Intervention for Neonatal Brain Injury)
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Open AccessReply Reply to: “The Relationship between Eye Movements and Reading Difficulties”, Blythe, Kirkby & Liversedge
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060099
Received: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 31 May 2018 / Published: 4 June 2018
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This is my response to the critique by Blythe et al. of my review ‘What is Developmental Dyslexia?’. In this response, I provide greater detail about the evidence supporting the view that faulty eye movement control can cause dyslexics’ visual reading difficulties and
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This is my response to the critique by Blythe et al. of my review ‘What is Developmental Dyslexia?’. In this response, I provide greater detail about the evidence supporting the view that faulty eye movement control can cause dyslexics’ visual reading difficulties and that impaired development of the visual magnocellular system may be the underlying cause. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders)
Open AccessComment Comments on: “What Is Developmental Dyslexia?” Brain Sci. 2018, 8, 26. The Relationship between Eye Movements and Reading Difficulties
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060100
Received: 17 May 2018 / Accepted: 31 May 2018 / Published: 4 June 2018
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Abstract
We are writing in response to the review article: Stein. J. (2018). What is Developmental Dyslexia? Brain Sciences, 8, 26, doi:10.3390/brainsci8020026. We consider that the section entitled, “Eye Movement Control”, presents a misleading characterisation of current empirical and theoretical understanding. We
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We are writing in response to the review article: Stein. J. (2018). What is Developmental Dyslexia? Brain Sciences, 8, 26, doi:10.3390/brainsci8020026. We consider that the section entitled, “Eye Movement Control”, presents a misleading characterisation of current empirical and theoretical understanding. We outline five specific points relating to Stein’s views on eye movement control and developmental dyslexia with which we disagree and conclude that disruption to oculomotor behaviour occurs as a consequence of processing difficulty that individuals with dyslexia experience as they engage in reading. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders)
Open AccessArticle From e-Health to i-Health: Prospective Reflexions on the Use of Intelligent Systems in Mental Health Care
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060098
Received: 25 April 2018 / Revised: 24 May 2018 / Accepted: 28 May 2018 / Published: 31 May 2018
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Abstract
Depressive disorders cover a set of disabling problems, often chronic or recurrent. They are characterized by a high level of psychiatric and somatic comorbidities and represent an important public health problem. To date, therapeutic solutions remain unsatisfactory. For some researchers, this is a
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Depressive disorders cover a set of disabling problems, often chronic or recurrent. They are characterized by a high level of psychiatric and somatic comorbidities and represent an important public health problem. To date, therapeutic solutions remain unsatisfactory. For some researchers, this is a sign of decisive paradigmatic failure due to the way in which disorders are conceptualized. They hypothesize that the symptoms of a categorical disorder, or of different comorbid disorders, can be interwoven in chains of interdependencies on different elements, of which it would be possible to act independently and synergistically to influence the functioning of the symptom system, rather than limiting oneself to targeting a hypothetical single underlying cause. New connected technologies make it possible to invent new observation and intervention tools allowing better phenotypic characterization of disorders and their evolution, that fit particularly well into this new “symptoms network” paradigm. Synergies are possible and desirable between these technological and epistemological innovations and can possibly help to solve some of the difficult problems people with mental disorders face in their everyday life, as we will show through a fictional case study exploring the possibilities of connected technologies in mental disorders in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Research in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Major Depression)
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Open AccessArticle Family Structure and Subsequent Anxiety Symptoms; Minorities’ Diminished Return
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060097
Received: 8 May 2018 / Revised: 28 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 31 May 2018
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Abstract
Background: Minorities’ Diminished Return (MDR) theory suggests that socioeconomic position (SEP) may have a smaller effect on health and well-being of members of the minority than the majority groups. Aim: Built on the MDR theory, this study compared Whites and African Americans for
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Background: Minorities’ Diminished Return (MDR) theory suggests that socioeconomic position (SEP) may have a smaller effect on health and well-being of members of the minority than the majority groups. Aim: Built on the MDR theory, this study compared Whites and African Americans for the effects of three family SEP indicators (family type, parental education, and parental employment) during adolescence on subsequent symptoms of anxiety 18 years later during young adulthood. Methods: Flint Adolescents Study (FAS), 1994–2012, followed 359 youth (ages 13 to 17, 295 African American and 64 Whites) for 18 years. The independent variables were family type, parental education, and parental employment during adolescence. The dependent variable was subsequent symptoms of anxiety, measured using the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), 18 years later. Age and gender were the covariates and race/ethnicity was the focal effect modifier (moderator). Four linear regression models were estimated to investigate the effects of the three family SEP indicators at age 15 on subsequent symptoms of anxiety at age 33 in the pooled sample and also by race/ethnicity. Results: In the pooled sample, having married parents at age 15 was inversely associated with symptoms of anxiety at age 33. We found an interaction between race/ethnicity and family type, indicating a smaller protective effect of having married parents against symptoms of anxiety for African American compared to White participants. The other two SEP indicators did not show any effect and did not interact with race/ethnicity on the outcome. Conclusion: In support of the MDR theory, marital status of parents during adolescence protects White but not African American young adults against anxiety symptoms. Diminished return of SEP is one of many underlying mechanisms involved in shaping racial and ethnic disparities in anxiety, however, that is often overlooked. Future research that examines economic and social policies and programs that can equalize the health gains that follow SEP resources among racial groups would be a useful next step. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle A Study on Photostability of Amphetamines and Ketamine in Hair Irradiated under Artificial Sunlight
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060096
Received: 29 April 2018 / Revised: 23 May 2018 / Accepted: 24 May 2018 / Published: 28 May 2018
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Abstract
Drugs incorporated into hair are exposed to the environment, and cosmetic and chemical treatments, with possible decreases in their content. Knowledge concerning the effect of sunlight on drug content in hair can be helpful to forensic toxicologists, in particular, when investigating drug concentrations
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Drugs incorporated into hair are exposed to the environment, and cosmetic and chemical treatments, with possible decreases in their content. Knowledge concerning the effect of sunlight on drug content in hair can be helpful to forensic toxicologists, in particular, when investigating drug concentrations above or below pre-determined cut-offs. Twenty authentic positive hair samples were selected which had previously tested positive for amphetamines and/or ketamine. Washed hair were divided into two identical strands, with the former exposed at 765 W/m2 (300–800 nm spectrum of irradiance) for 48 h in a solar simulator, and the latter kept in the dark. Hair samples were extracted and analyzed by liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry detection. The percentage of photodegradation was calculated for each analyte (i.e., amphetamine, methamphetamine, methylendioxyamphetamine, ketamine, and norketamine). In parallel, photodegradation processes of standard molecules dissolved in aqueous and organic solutions were studied. In 20 hair samples positive for the targeted analytes, exposure to artificial sunlight induced an appreciable decrease in drug concentrations. The concentration ranges in the non-irradiated hair samples were 0.01–24 ng/mg, and 65% of samples exhibited a decrease in post-irradiation samples, with reduction from 3% to 100%. When more drugs were present in the same hair sample (i.e., MDMA and ketamine) the degradation yields were compound dependent. A degradation product induced by irradiation of ketamine in aqueous and methanol solutions was identified; it was also found to be present in a true positive hair sample after irradiation. Ketamine, amphetamines, and their metabolites incorporated in the hair of drug users undergo degradation when irradiated by artificial sunlight. Only for ketamine was a photoproduct identified in irradiated standard solutions and in true positive irradiated hair. When decisional cut-offs are applied to hair analysis, photodegradation must be taken into account since sunlight may produce false negative results. Moreover, new markers could be investigated as evidence of illicit drug use. Full article
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Open AccessReview Neuromodulatory Treatments for Alcohol Use Disorder: A Review
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060095
Received: 3 April 2018 / Revised: 15 May 2018 / Accepted: 21 May 2018 / Published: 28 May 2018
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Abstract
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a prevalent condition characterized by chronic alcohol-seeking behaviors and has become a significant economic burden with global ramifications on public health. While numerous treatment options are available for AUD, many are unable to sustain long-term sobriety. The nucleus
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Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a prevalent condition characterized by chronic alcohol-seeking behaviors and has become a significant economic burden with global ramifications on public health. While numerous treatment options are available for AUD, many are unable to sustain long-term sobriety. The nucleus accumbens (NAcc) upholds an integral role in mediating reward behavior and has been implicated as a potential target for deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the context of AUD. DBS is empirically thought to disrupt pathological neuronal synchrony, a hallmark of binge behavior. Pre-clinical animal models and pilot human clinical studies utilizing DBS for the treatment of AUD have shown promise for reducing alcohol-related cravings and prolonging abstinence. In this review, we outline the various interventions available for AUD, and the translational potential DBS has to modulate functionality of the NAcc as a treatment for AUD. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Sound of Words Evokes Affective Brain Responses
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060094
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 17 May 2018 / Accepted: 21 May 2018 / Published: 23 May 2018
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Abstract
The long history of poetry and the arts, as well as recent empirical results suggest that the way a word sounds (e.g., soft vs. harsh) can convey affective information related to emotional responses (e.g., pleasantness vs. harshness). However, the neural correlates of the
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The long history of poetry and the arts, as well as recent empirical results suggest that the way a word sounds (e.g., soft vs. harsh) can convey affective information related to emotional responses (e.g., pleasantness vs. harshness). However, the neural correlates of the affective potential of the sound of words remain unknown. In an fMRI study involving passive listening, we focused on the affective dimension of arousal and presented words organized in two discrete groups of sublexical (i.e., sound) arousal (high vs. low), while controlling for lexical (i.e., semantic) arousal. Words sounding high arousing, compared to their low arousing counterparts, resulted in an enhanced BOLD signal in bilateral posterior insula, the right auditory and premotor cortex, and the right supramarginal gyrus. This finding provides first evidence on the neural correlates of affectivity in the sound of words. Given the similarity of this neural network to that of nonverbal emotional expressions and affective prosody, our results support a unifying view that suggests a core neural network underlying any type of affective sound processing. Full article
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