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Brain Sci., Volume 9, Issue 11 (November 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Very limited knowledge exists regarding risk factors of insomnia among African-American older [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Transient Chemogenetic Inhibition of D1-MSNs in the Dorsal Striatum Enhances Methamphetamine Self-Administration
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 330; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110330 - 19 Nov 2019
Abstract
The dorsal striatum is important for the development of drug addiction; however, the role of dopamine D1 receptor (D1R) expressing medium-sized spiny striatonigral (direct pathway) neurons (D1-MSNs) in regulating excessive methamphetamine intake remains elusive. Here we seek to determine if modulating D1-MSNs in [...] Read more.
The dorsal striatum is important for the development of drug addiction; however, the role of dopamine D1 receptor (D1R) expressing medium-sized spiny striatonigral (direct pathway) neurons (D1-MSNs) in regulating excessive methamphetamine intake remains elusive. Here we seek to determine if modulating D1-MSNs in the dorsal striatum alters methamphetamine self-administration in animals that have demonstrated escalation of self-administration. A viral vector-mediated approach was used to induce expression of the inhibitory (Gi coupled-hM4D) or stimulatory (Gs coupled-rM3D) designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADDs) engineered to specifically respond to the exogenous ligand clozapine-N-oxide (CNO) selectively in D1-MSNs in the dorsal striatum. CNO in animals expressing hM4D increased responding for methamphetamine compared to vehicle in a within subject treatment paradigm. CNO in animals that did not express DREADDs (DREADD naïve-CNO) or expressed rM3D did not alter responding for methamphetamine, demonstrating specificity for hM4D-CNO interaction in increasing self-administration. Postmortem tissue analysis reveals that hM4D-CNO animals had reduced Fos immunoreactivity in the dorsal striatum compared to rM3D-CNO animals and DREADD naïve-CNO animals. Cellular mechanisms in the dorsal striatum in hM4D-CNO animals reveal enhanced expression of D1R and Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII). Conversely, rM3D-CNO animals had enhanced activity of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk1/2) and Akt in the dorsal striatum, supporting rM3D-CNO interaction in these animals compared with drug naïve controls, DREADD naïve-CNO and hM4D-CNO animals. Our studies indicate that transient inhibition of D1-MSNs-mediated strengthening of methamphetamine addiction-like behavior is associated with cellular adaptations that support dysfunctional dopamine signaling in the dorsal striatum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Dopamine in Neural Circuits)
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Open AccessArticle
Vestibular Compensation after Vestibular Dysfunction Induced by Arsanilic Acid in Mice
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 329; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110329 - 18 Nov 2019
Abstract
When vestibular function is lost, vestibular compensation works for the reacquisition of body balance. For the study of vestibular dysfunction and vestibular compensation, surgical or chemical labyrinthectomy has been performed in various animal species. In the present study, we performed chemical labyrinthectomy using [...] Read more.
When vestibular function is lost, vestibular compensation works for the reacquisition of body balance. For the study of vestibular dysfunction and vestibular compensation, surgical or chemical labyrinthectomy has been performed in various animal species. In the present study, we performed chemical labyrinthectomy using arsanilic acid in mice and investigated the time course of vestibular compensation through behavioral observations and histological studies. The surgical procedures required only paracentesis and storage of 50 µL of p-arsanilic acid sodium salt solution in the tympanic cavity for 5 min. From behavioral observations, vestibular functions were worst at 2 days and recovered by 7 days after surgery. Spontaneous nystagmus appeared at 1 day after surgery with arsanilic acid and disappeared by 2 days. Histological studies revealed specific damage to the vestibular endorgans. In the ipsilateral spinal vestibular nucleus, the medial vestibular nucleus, and the contralateral prepositus hypoglossal nucleus, a substantial number of c-Fos-immunoreactive cells appeared by 1 day after surgery with arsanilic acid, with a maximum increase in number by 2 days and complete disappearance by 7 days. Taken together, these findings indicate that chemical labyrinthectomy with arsanilic acid and the subsequent observation of vestibular compensation is a useful strategy for elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying vestibular pathophysiologies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antinociceptive and Abuse Potential Effects of Cannabinoid/Opioid Combinations in a Chronic Pain Model in Rats
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 328; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110328 - 17 Nov 2019
Abstract
Chronic pain is a persistent and debilitating health problem. Although the use of analgesics such as opioids is useful in mitigating pain, their prolonged use is associated with unwanted effects including abuse liability. This study assesses the antinociceptive effect of combining subtherapeutic doses [...] Read more.
Chronic pain is a persistent and debilitating health problem. Although the use of analgesics such as opioids is useful in mitigating pain, their prolonged use is associated with unwanted effects including abuse liability. This study assesses the antinociceptive effect of combining subtherapeutic doses of two opioids (morphine or tramadol) with the synthetic cannabinoid CP55940 (2-[(1R,2R,5R)-5-hydroxy-2-(3-hydroxypropyl)cyclohexyl]-5-(2-methyloctan -2-yl)phenol). It also evaluates the associated adverse effects of these drugs and combinations. Adult male rats were injected with intraplantar complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) to produce mechanical allodyia. Antinociceptive effect of morphine, tramadol, the synthetic cannabinoid CP55940, or their combinations was evaluated three to nine days post-CFA injections. Intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) was utilized to evaluate the abuse liability of these drugs or their combinations. All drugs alone produced a dose-dependent antinociceptive effect. Morphine produced minimal effect on ICSS, but both tramadol and CP55940 produced dose-dependent depression of ICSS. Morphine at a dose of 0.32 mg/kg enhanced the antinociceptive effects of CP55940, in that, CP55940 produced antinociception at a lower dose (0.1 mg/kg) when compared to the vehicle. The aforementioned combinations did not change CP55940-induced depression of ICSS. On the other hand, tramadol failed to enhance the antinociceptive effect of CP55940. Our data suggest that combining CP55940 with morphine, but not tramadol, shows a better antinociceptive profile with no additional risk of abuse liability, which represents a potential pain management approach. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Prism Adaptation on Reference Systems for Extrapersonal Space in Neglect Patients
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 327; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110327 - 16 Nov 2019
Abstract
Up to now, rehabilitation of unilateral spatial neglect has focused on egocentric forms of neglect, whereas less is known about the possibility to improve allocentric deficits. The present study aimed to examine the efficacy of prism adaptation (PA) training on patients with different [...] Read more.
Up to now, rehabilitation of unilateral spatial neglect has focused on egocentric forms of neglect, whereas less is known about the possibility to improve allocentric deficits. The present study aimed to examine the efficacy of prism adaptation (PA) training on patients with different forms of neglect: egocentric, allocentric, or mixed. Twenty-eight patients were assessed with specific neglect tests before (T0) and after (T1) 10 sessions of PA training. Performance in the Apples Cancellation test was used to identify patients with egocentric (n = 6), allocentric (n = 5), or mixed (n = 17) forms of neglect. In the overall group of patients, PA training produced significant improvements in performance across different neglect tests. In terms of the egocentric–allocentric distinction, the training was effective in reducing omissions in the left part of space in the Apples Cancellation test both for patients with egocentric neglect and mixed neglect. By contrast, errors of commissions (marking the inability to detect the left part of the target stimulus, i.e., allocentric neglect) remained unchanged after PA in patients with allocentric neglect and actually increased marginally in patients with mixed neglect. The PA training is effective in improving egocentric neglect, while it is ineffective on the allocentric form of the disturbance. Notably, the allocentric component of neglect is frequently impaired, although this is most often in conjunction with the egocentric impairment, yielding the mixed form of neglect. This stresses the importance of developing exercises tuned to improving allocentric neglect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unilateral Neglect Assessment and Rehabilitation)
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Open AccessArticle
EEG Emotion Classification Using an Improved SincNet-Based Deep Learning Model
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110326 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Deep learning (DL) methods have been used increasingly widely, such as in the fields of speech and image recognition. However, how to design an appropriate DL model to accurately and efficiently classify electroencephalogram (EEG) signals is still a challenge, mainly because EEG signals [...] Read more.
Deep learning (DL) methods have been used increasingly widely, such as in the fields of speech and image recognition. However, how to design an appropriate DL model to accurately and efficiently classify electroencephalogram (EEG) signals is still a challenge, mainly because EEG signals are characterized by significant differences between two different subjects or vary over time within a single subject, non-stability, strong randomness, low signal-to-noise ratio. SincNet is an efficient classifier for speaker recognition, but it has some drawbacks in dealing with EEG signals classification. In this paper, we improve and propose a SincNet-based classifier, SincNet-R, which consists of three convolutional layers, and three deep neural network (DNN) layers. We then make use of SincNet-R to test the classification accuracy and robustness by emotional EEG signals. The comparable results with original SincNet model and other traditional classifiers such as CNN, LSTM and SVM, show that our proposed SincNet-R model has higher classification accuracy and better algorithm robustness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Plasticity, Cognitive Training and Mental States Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
Cystometric Measurements in Rats with an Experimentally Induced Traumatic Brain Injury and Voiding Dysfunction: A Time-Course Study
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110325 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a serious public health issue worldwide with increased mortality as well as severe disabilities and injuries caused by falls and road accidents. Unfortunately, there is no approved therapy for TBIs, and bladder dysfunction is a striking symptom. Accordingly, [...] Read more.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a serious public health issue worldwide with increased mortality as well as severe disabilities and injuries caused by falls and road accidents. Unfortunately, there is no approved therapy for TBIs, and bladder dysfunction is a striking symptom. Accordingly, we attempted to analyze bladder dysfunction and voiding efficiency in rats with a TBI at different time-course intervals. Time-dependent analyses were scheduled from the next day until four weeks after a TBI. Experimental animals were grouped and analyzed under the above conditions. Cystometric measurements were used for this analysis and were further elaborated as external urethral sphincter electromyographic (EUS-EMG) activity and cystometrogram (CMG) measurements. Moreover, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies were conducted to investigate secondary injury progression in TBI rats, and results were compared to normal control (NC) rats. Results of EUS-EMG revealed that the burst period, active period, and silent period in TBI rats were drastically reduced compared to NC rats, but they increased later and reached a stagnant phase. Likewise, in CMG measurements, bladder function, the voided volume, and voiding efficiency decreased immediately after the TBI, and other parameters like the volume threshold, inter-contraction interval, and residual volume drastically increased. Later, those levels changed, and all observed results were compared to NC rats. MRI results revealed the prevalence of cerebral edema and the progression of secondary injury. All of the above-stated results of the experiments were extensively substantiated. Thus, these innovative findings of our study model will surely pave the way for new therapeutic interventions for TBI treatment and prominently highlight their applications in the field of neuroscience in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Collection on Clinical Neuroscience)
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Open AccessArticle
Distinct Montages of Slow Oscillatory Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (so-tDCS) Constitute Different Mechanisms during Quiet Wakefulness
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 324; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110324 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Slow oscillatory- (so-) tDCS has been applied in many sleep studies aimed to modulate brain rhythms of slow wave sleep and memory consolidation. Yet, so-tDCS may also modify coupled oscillatory networks. Efficacy of weak electric brain stimulation is however variable and dependent upon [...] Read more.
Slow oscillatory- (so-) tDCS has been applied in many sleep studies aimed to modulate brain rhythms of slow wave sleep and memory consolidation. Yet, so-tDCS may also modify coupled oscillatory networks. Efficacy of weak electric brain stimulation is however variable and dependent upon the brain state at the time of stimulation (subject and/or task-related) as well as on stimulation parameters (e.g., electrode placement and applied current. Anodal so-tDCS was applied during wakefulness with eyes-closed to examine efficacy when deviating from the dominant brain rhythm. Additionally, montages of different electrodes size and applied current strength were used. During a period of quiet wakefulness bilateral frontolateral stimulation (F3, F4; return electrodes at ipsilateral mastoids) was applied to two groups: ‘Group small’ (n = 16, f:8; small electrodes: 0.50 cm2; maximal current per electrode pair: 0.26 mA) and ‘Group Large’ (n = 16, f:8; 35 cm2; 0.35 mA). Anodal so-tDCS (0.75 Hz) was applied in five blocks of 5 min epochs with 1 min stimulation-free epochs between the blocks. A finger sequence tapping task (FSTT) was used to induce comparable cortical activity across sessions and subject groups. So-tDCS resulted in a suppression of alpha power over the parietal cortex. Interestingly, in Group Small alpha suppression occurred over the standard band (8–12 Hz), whereas for Group Large power of individual alpha frequency was suppressed. Group Small also revealed a decrease in FSTT performance at retest after stimulation. It is essential to include concordant measures of behavioral and brain activity to help understand variability and poor reproducibility in oscillatory-tDCS studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Collection on Neural Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Acute Normobaric Hypoxia on Memory Interference
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110323 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Purpose: Previous research has evaluated the effects of acute hypoxia exposure on cognitive function, notably executive function. No studies, to date, have evaluated the effects of acute hypoxia exposure on memory interference, which was the purpose of this experiment. Methods: A within-subjects, counterbalanced [...] Read more.
Purpose: Previous research has evaluated the effects of acute hypoxia exposure on cognitive function, notably executive function. No studies, to date, have evaluated the effects of acute hypoxia exposure on memory interference, which was the purpose of this experiment. Methods: A within-subjects, counterbalanced experimental design was employed, with condition (hypoxia vs. normoxia) and time (immediate vs. delayed) being the independent variables. Participants (N = 21; Mage = 21.0 years) completed two laboratory visits, involving 30 min of exposure to either hypoxia (FIO2 = 0.12) or normoxia (FIO2 = 0.21). Following this, they completed a memory interference task (AB/AC paradigm), assessing immediate and delayed proactive and retroactive interference. Results: For retroactive interference, we observed a significant main effect for condition, F(1, 20) = 5.48, p = 0.03, ƞ2 = 0.10, condition by time interaction, F(1, 20) = 4.96, p = 0.03, ƞ2 = 0.01, but no main effect for time, F(1, 20) = 1.75, p = 0.20, ƞ2 = 0.004. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that acute hypoxia exposure was facilitative in reducing memory interference. We discuss these findings in the context of the potential therapeutic effects of acute hypoxia exposure on synaptic plasticity. Full article
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Open AccessPerspective
Intranasal Pregabalin Administration: A Review of the Literature and the Worldwide Spontaneous Reporting System of Adverse Drug Reactions
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 322; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110322 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
Background: It is repeatedly reported that pregabalin (PRG) and gabapentin feature a potential for abuse/misuse, predominantly in patients with former or active substance use disorder. The most common route of use is oral, though reports of sublingual, intravenous, rectal, and smoking administration also [...] Read more.
Background: It is repeatedly reported that pregabalin (PRG) and gabapentin feature a potential for abuse/misuse, predominantly in patients with former or active substance use disorder. The most common route of use is oral, though reports of sublingual, intravenous, rectal, and smoking administration also exist. A narrative review was performed to provide an overview of current knowledge about nasal PRG use. Methods: A narrative review of the currently available literature of nasal PRG use was performed by searching the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases. The abstracts and articles identified were reviewed and examined for relevance. Secondly, a request regarding reports of cases of nasal PRG administration was performed in the worldwide spontaneous reporting system of adverse drug reactions of the European Medicines Agency (EMA, EudraVigilance database). Results: The literature search resulted in two reported cases of nasal PRG use. In the analysis of the EMA-database, 13 reported cases of nasal PRG use (11 male (two not specified), mean age of users = 34.2 years (four not specified)) were found. In two cases fatalities occurred related to PRG nasal use. Conclusions: Even if only little evidence can be found in current literature, the potential for misuse/abuse of PRG via nasal route might be of particular importance in the near future in PRG users who misuse it. Physicians should be aware of these alternative routes of administration. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Collection on Clinical Neuroscience)
Open AccessArticle
Lost in Classification: Lower Cognitive Functioning in Apparently Cognitive Normal Newly Diagnosed RRMS Patients
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 321; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110321 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
Cognitive functioning in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients is usually related to the classic, dichotomic classification of impaired vs. unimpaired cognition. However, this approach is far from mirroring the real efficiency of cognitive functioning. Applying a different approach in which cognitive functioning is considered [...] Read more.
Cognitive functioning in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients is usually related to the classic, dichotomic classification of impaired vs. unimpaired cognition. However, this approach is far from mirroring the real efficiency of cognitive functioning. Applying a different approach in which cognitive functioning is considered as a continuous variable, we aimed at showing that even newly diagnosed relapsing–remitting MS (RRMS) patients might suffer from reduced cognitive functioning with respect to a matched group of neurologically healthy controls (HCs), even if they were classified as having no cognitive impairment (CI). Fifty newly diagnosed RRMS patients and 36 HCs were tested with an extensive battery of neuropsychological tests. By using Z-scores applied to the whole group of RRMS and HCs together, a measure of cognitive functioning (Z-score index) was calculated. Among the 50 RRMS patients tested, 36 were classified as cognitively normal (CN). Even though classified as CN, RRMS patients performed worse than HCs at a global level (p = 0.004) and, more specifically, in the domains of memory (p = 0.005) and executive functioning (p = 0.006). These results highlight that reduced cognitive functioning can be present early in the disease course, even in patients without an evident CI. The current classification criteria of CI in MS should be considered with caution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research)
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Open AccessReview
C-Fiber Assays in the Cornea vs. Skin
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110320 - 12 Nov 2019
Abstract
C-fibers are unmyelinated nerve fibers that transmit high threshold mechanical, thermal, and chemical signals that are associated with pain sensations. This review examines current literature on measuring altered peripheral nerve morphology and discusses the most relevant aspects of corneal microscopy, especially whether corneal [...] Read more.
C-fibers are unmyelinated nerve fibers that transmit high threshold mechanical, thermal, and chemical signals that are associated with pain sensations. This review examines current literature on measuring altered peripheral nerve morphology and discusses the most relevant aspects of corneal microscopy, especially whether corneal imaging presents significant method advantages over skin biopsy. Given its relative merits, corneal confocal microscopy would seem to be a more practical and patient-centric approach than utilizing skin biopsies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms Underlying Alleviation of Pain)
Open AccessReview
Neuro-Inflammation in Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury—from Mechanisms to Inflammatory Networks
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 319; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110319 - 09 Nov 2019
Abstract
Compared to traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the adult population, pediatric TBI has received less research attention, despite its potential long-term impact on the lives of many children around the world. After numerous clinical trials and preclinical research studies examining various secondary mechanisms [...] Read more.
Compared to traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the adult population, pediatric TBI has received less research attention, despite its potential long-term impact on the lives of many children around the world. After numerous clinical trials and preclinical research studies examining various secondary mechanisms of injury, no definitive treatment has been found for pediatric TBIs of any severity. With the advent of high-throughput and high-resolution molecular biology and imaging techniques, inflammation has become an appealing target, due to its mixed effects on outcome, depending on the time point examined. In this review, we outline key mechanisms of inflammation, the contribution and interactions of the peripheral and CNS-based immune cells, and highlight knowledge gaps pertaining to inflammation in pediatric TBI. We also introduce the application of network analysis to leverage growing multivariate and non-linear inflammation data sets with the goal to gain a more comprehensive view of inflammation and develop prognostic and treatment tools in pediatric TBI. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Neuroinflammation in Post-Traumatic Epilepsy: Pathophysiology and Tractable Therapeutic Targets
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110318 - 09 Nov 2019
Abstract
Epilepsy is a common chronic consequence of traumatic brain injury (TBI), contributing to increased morbidity and mortality for survivors. As post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) is drug-resistant in at least one-third of patients, there is a clear need for novel therapeutic strategies to prevent epilepsy [...] Read more.
Epilepsy is a common chronic consequence of traumatic brain injury (TBI), contributing to increased morbidity and mortality for survivors. As post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) is drug-resistant in at least one-third of patients, there is a clear need for novel therapeutic strategies to prevent epilepsy from developing after TBI, or to mitigate its severity. It has long been recognized that seizure activity is associated with a local immune response, characterized by the activation of microglia and astrocytes and the release of a plethora of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. More recently, increasing evidence also supports a causal role for neuroinflammation in seizure induction and propagation, acting both directly and indirectly on neurons to promote regional hyperexcitability. In this narrative review, we focus on key aspects of the neuroinflammatory response that have been implicated in epilepsy, with a particular focus on PTE. The contributions of glial cells, blood-derived leukocytes, and the blood–brain barrier will be explored, as well as pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators. While the neuroinflammatory response to TBI appears to be largely pro-epileptogenic, further research is needed to clearly demonstrate causal relationships. This research has the potential to unveil new drug targets for PTE, and identify immune-based biomarkers for improved epilepsy prediction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating Performance in a Strenuous Physical Task from the Perspective of Self-Control
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 317; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110317 - 09 Nov 2019
Abstract
It has been proposed that one reason physical effort is perceived as costly is because of the self-control demands that are necessary to persist in a physically demanding task. The application of control has been conceptualized as a value-based decision, that hinges on [...] Read more.
It has been proposed that one reason physical effort is perceived as costly is because of the self-control demands that are necessary to persist in a physically demanding task. The application of control has been conceptualized as a value-based decision, that hinges on an optimization of the costs of control and available reward. Here, we drew on labor supply theory to investigate the effects of an Income Compensated Wage Decrease (ICWD) on persistence in a strenuous physical task. Research has shown that an ICWD reduced the amount of self-control participants are willing to apply, and we expected this to translate to a performance decrement in a strenuous physical task. Contrary to our expectations, participants in the ICWD group outperformed the control group in terms of persistence, without incurring higher levels of muscle fatigue or ratings of perceived exertion. Improved performance was accompanied by increases in task efficiency and a lesser increase in oxygenation of the prefrontal cortex, an area of relevance for the application of self-control. These results suggest that the relationship between the regulation of physical effort and self-control is less straightforward than initially assumed: less top-down self-control might allow for more efficient execution of motor tasks, thereby allowing for improved performance. Moreover, these findings indicate that psychological manipulations can affect physical performance, not by modulating how much one is willing to deplete limited physical resources, but by altering how tasks are executed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Studying Brain Activity in Sports Performance)
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Open AccessPerspective
Intracerebral Hemorrhage: Blood Components and Neurotoxicity
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 316; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110316 - 09 Nov 2019
Abstract
Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a subtype of stroke which is associated with the highest mortality and morbidity rates of all strokes. Although it is a major public health problem, there is no effective treatment for ICH. As a consequence of ICH, various blood [...] Read more.
Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a subtype of stroke which is associated with the highest mortality and morbidity rates of all strokes. Although it is a major public health problem, there is no effective treatment for ICH. As a consequence of ICH, various blood components accumulate in the brain parenchyma and are responsible for much of the secondary brain damage and ICH-induced neurological deficits. Therefore, the strategies that could attenuate the blood component-induced neurotoxicity and improve hematoma resolution are highly needed. The present article provides an overview of blood-induced brain injury after ICH and emphasizes the need to conduct further studies elucidating the mechanisms of hematoma resolution after ICH. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Left-Hemispheric Asymmetry for Object-Based Attention: an ERP Study
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110315 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
It has been shown that selective attention enhances the activity in visual regions associated with stimulus processing. The left hemisphere seems to have a prominent role when non-spatial attention is directed towards specific stimulus features (e.g., color, spatial frequency). The present electrophysiological study [...] Read more.
It has been shown that selective attention enhances the activity in visual regions associated with stimulus processing. The left hemisphere seems to have a prominent role when non-spatial attention is directed towards specific stimulus features (e.g., color, spatial frequency). The present electrophysiological study investigated the time course and neural correlates of object-based attention, under the assumption of left-hemispheric asymmetry. Twenty-nine right-handed participants were presented with 3D graphic images representing the shapes of different object categories (wooden dummies, chairs, structures of cubes) which lacked detail. They were instructed to press a button in response to a target stimulus indicated at the beginning of each run. The perception of non-target stimuli elicited a larger anterior N2 component, which was likely associated with motor inhibition. Conversely, target selection resulted in an enhanced selection negativity (SN) response lateralized over the left occipito-temporal regions, followed by a larger centro-parietal P300 response. These potentials were interpreted as indexing attentional selection and categorization processes, respectively. The standardized weighted low-resolution electromagnetic tomography (swLORETA) source reconstruction showed the engagement of a fronto-temporo-limbic network underlying object-based visual attention. Overall, the SN scalp distribution and relative neural generators hinted at a left-hemispheric advantage for non-spatial object-based visual attention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ERP and EEG Markers of Brain Visual Attentional Processing)
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Open AccessArticle
Does Empirically Derived Classification of Individuals with Subjective Cognitive Complaints Predict Dementia?
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110314 - 07 Nov 2019
Abstract
(1) Background: Early identification of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in people reporting subjective cognitive complaints (SCC) and the study of progression of cognitive decline are important issues in dementia research. This paper examines whether empirically derived procedures predict progression from MCI to dementia. [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Early identification of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in people reporting subjective cognitive complaints (SCC) and the study of progression of cognitive decline are important issues in dementia research. This paper examines whether empirically derived procedures predict progression from MCI to dementia. (2) Methods: At baseline, 192 participants with SCC were diagnosed according to clinical criteria as cognitively unimpaired (70), single-domain amnestic MCI (65), multiple-domain amnestic MCI (33) and multiple-domain non-amnestic MCI (24). A two-stage hierarchical cluster analysis was performed for empirical classification. Categorical regression analysis was then used to assess the predictive value of the clusters obtained. Participants were re-assessed after 36 months. (3) Results: Participants were grouped into four empirically derived clusters: Cluster 1, similar to multiple-domain amnestic MCI; Cluster 2, characterized by subjective cognitive decline (SCD) but with low scores in language and working memory; Cluster 3, with specific deterioration in episodic memory, similar to single-domain amnestic MCI; and Cluster 4, with SCD but with scores above the mean in all domains. The majority of participants who progressed to dementia were included in Cluster 1. (4) Conclusions: Cluster analysis differentiated between MCI and SCD in a sample of people with SCC and empirical criteria were more closely associated with progression to dementia than standard criteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dementia and Cognitive Ageing)
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Open AccessArticle
Obsessive Compulsive Symptoms and Psychopathological Profile in Children and Adolescents with KBG Syndrome
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 313; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110313 - 07 Nov 2019
Abstract
KBG syndrome is a rare multisystem developmental disorder caused by ankyrin repeat domain-containing protein 11 (ANKRD11) gene haploinsufficiency, resulting from either intragenic loss-of-function mutations or microdeletions encompassing the gene. Concerning the behavioral phenotype, a limited amount of research has been focused on attention [...] Read more.
KBG syndrome is a rare multisystem developmental disorder caused by ankyrin repeat domain-containing protein 11 (ANKRD11) gene haploinsufficiency, resulting from either intragenic loss-of-function mutations or microdeletions encompassing the gene. Concerning the behavioral phenotype, a limited amount of research has been focused on attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, autistic-like features, anxiety and impairments in emotion regulation, and no study has provided a systematic assessment. The aim of the present work is to investigate the psychopathological profile in children, adolescents, and young adults with KBG syndrome. Seventeen subjects with molecularly confirmed diagnoses were evaluated to investigate cognitive abilities and psychopathological features. Parametric and nonparametric indexes were used to describe the patient cohort according to type and distribution of specific measures. The KBG subjects were characterized by a low mean IQ score, with a distribution characterized by a variability similar to that occurring in the general population. Prevalence of neuropsychiatric disorders were computed as well as the corresponding confidence intervals to compare their prevalence to that reported for the general population. The KBG subjects were characterized by higher prevalence of obsessive-compulsive, tic, depressive and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a peculiar aspect characterizing the psychopathological profile of KBG patients, which does not seem to be related to the cognitive level. The present study provides new relevant information towards the definition of a psychopathological phenotype of KBG syndromes useful to plan a better treatment for patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Clinical Neuroscience)
Open AccessArticle
Neurophysiological Characterization of Thalamic Nuclei in Epileptic Anaesthetized Patients
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110312 - 07 Nov 2019
Abstract
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) requires precise localization, which is especially difficult at the thalamus, and even more difficult in anesthetized patients. We aimed to characterize the neurophysiological properties of the ventral intermediate (V.im), ventral caudal (V.c), and centromedian parvo (Ce.pc) and the magnocellular [...] Read more.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) requires precise localization, which is especially difficult at the thalamus, and even more difficult in anesthetized patients. We aimed to characterize the neurophysiological properties of the ventral intermediate (V.im), ventral caudal (V.c), and centromedian parvo (Ce.pc) and the magnocellular (Ce.mc) thalamic nuclei. We obtained microelectrode recordings from five patients with refractory epilepsy under general anesthesia. Somatosensory evoked potentials recorded by microelectrodes were used to identify the V.c nucleus. Trajectories were reconstructed off-line to identify the nucleus recorded, and the amplitude of the action potential (AP) and the tonic (i.e., mean frequency, density, probability of interspike interval) and phasic (i.e., burst index, pause index, and pause ratio) properties of the pattern discharges were analyzed. The Mahalanobis metric was used to evaluate the similarity of the patterns. The mean AP amplitude was higher for the V.im nucleus (172.7 ± 7.6 µV) than for the other nuclei, and the mean frequency was lower for the Ce.pc nucleus (7.2 ± 0.8 Hz) and higher for the V.c nucleus (11.9 ± 0.8 Hz) than for the other nuclei. The phasic properties showed a bursting pattern for the V.c nucleus and a tonic pattern for the centromedian and V.im nuclei. The Mahalanobis distance was the shortest for the V.im/V.c and Ce.mp/Ce.pc pairs. Therefore, the different properties of the thalamic nuclei, even for patients under general anesthesia, can be used to positively define the recorded structure, improving the exactness of electrode placement in DBS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurophysiological Techniques for Epilepsy)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Polymorphisms in the Serotonin Transporter Gene on Oscillatory Dynamics during Inhibition of Planned Movement in Children
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 311; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110311 - 06 Nov 2019
Abstract
The serotonin transporter plays an important role in serotonergic neuromodulation. It is known that polymorphisms in the serotonin transporter gene are linked to the dysregulation of emotions. In the current study, we aimed to investigate the impact of variation in the gene encoding [...] Read more.
The serotonin transporter plays an important role in serotonergic neuromodulation. It is known that polymorphisms in the serotonin transporter gene are linked to the dysregulation of emotions. In the current study, we aimed to investigate the impact of variation in the gene encoding serotonin transporter polymorphism on oscillatory dynamics during inhibition of planned movement in the stop signal paradigm. During performance the stop signal paradigm, electroencephalograms (EEGs) were recorded in 90 healthy Caucasian children (39 girls) from 7 to 12 years. Buccal epithelium probes were taken from all participants. The La, Lg, and S alleles of serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) polymorphism were detected in the DNA samples using PCR. LaLa genotype carriers did not differ from LaS\LgS and LgS\LgLg\SS carriers in a number of successful inhibitions of a prepotent response. Carriers of LaLa exhibit higher alpha and beta event-related spectral perturbations (ERSP) in parietal and occipital cortices after the presentation of signal of inhibition of movement than LaS\LgS and LgS\LgLg\SS carriers. Results are consistent with current literature and confirm that S allele carriers are more predisposed to disturbances in cognitive control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cognitive Neuroscience)
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Open AccessArticle
Spanish Validation of the Child and Adolescent Perfectionism Scale: Factorial Invariance and Latent Means Differences across Sex and Age
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110310 - 06 Nov 2019
Abstract
The present study analyzed the psychometric properties of a Spanish translation of the child–adolescent perfectionism scale (CAPS-S), as well as its factorial invariance and latent means differences across sex and age. A sample of 1809 Spanish students of Primary Education, aged between 8 [...] Read more.
The present study analyzed the psychometric properties of a Spanish translation of the child–adolescent perfectionism scale (CAPS-S), as well as its factorial invariance and latent means differences across sex and age. A sample of 1809 Spanish students of Primary Education, aged between 8 and 11 (Mage = 9.53, SD = 1.11), was used. Confirmatory factor analyses and multigroup confirmatory factor analyses were applied to examine the factor structure of the CAPS-S. The results revealed that a model made up of 13 items structured in 3 factors—Self-Oriented Perfectionism-Striving (SOP-Striving), Self-Oriented Perfectionism-Critical (SOP-Critical), and Socially Prescribed Perfectionism (SPP)—showed a better fit than any of the previously tested models, and it was invariant across sex and age. SOP-Striving did not significantly correlate with school anxiety and aggression, whereas significant and positive correlations were found in the case of SOP-Critical and SPP. The levels of reliability and stability of the scale were ω = 0.91, 0.74, 0.73, and 0.80, and rxx = 0.73, 0.62, 0.73, and 0.74, for the total CAPS-S and for the SOP-Striving, SOP-Critical, and SPP dimensions, respectively. Analysis of latent means differences revealed that boys scored significantly higher than girls in SOP-Critical. The 9-year-olds scored significantly lower in SPP than their 8-year-old peers. Conversely, 11-year-olds scored higher in SOP-Critical than 8-year-olds. In addition, 10- and 11-year-olds scored higher than their 9-year-old peers. The CAPS-S presented in this research is a reliable and valid instrument to assess perfectionism in Spanish child population. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Manifold Learning of Dynamic Functional Connectivity Reliably Identifies Functionally Consistent Coupling Patterns in Human Brains
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110309 - 04 Nov 2019
Abstract
Most previous work on dynamic functional connectivity (dFC) has focused on analyzing temporal traits of functional connectivity (similar coupling patterns at different timepoints), dividing them into functional connectivity states and detecting their between-group differences. However, the coherent functional connectivity of brain activity among [...] Read more.
Most previous work on dynamic functional connectivity (dFC) has focused on analyzing temporal traits of functional connectivity (similar coupling patterns at different timepoints), dividing them into functional connectivity states and detecting their between-group differences. However, the coherent functional connectivity of brain activity among the temporal dynamics of functional connectivity remains unknown. In the study, we applied manifold learning of local linear embedding to explore the consistent coupling patterns (CCPs) that reflect functionally homogeneous regions underlying dFC throughout the entire scanning period. By embedding the whole-brain functional connectivity in a low-dimensional manifold space based on the Human Connectome Project (HCP) resting-state data, we identified ten stable patterns of functional coupling across regions that underpin the temporal evolution of dFC. Moreover, some of these CCPs exhibited significant neurophysiological meaning. Furthermore, we apply this method to HCP rsfMR and tfMRI data as well as sleep-deprivation data and found that the topological organization of these low-dimensional structures has high potential for predicting sleep-deprivation states (classification accuracy of 92.3%) and task types (100% identification for all seven tasks).In summary, this work provides a methodology for distilling coherent low-dimensional functional connectivity structures in complex brain dynamics that play an important role in performing tasks or characterizing specific states of the brain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuroimaging)
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Open AccessArticle
The Practical Use of White Cell Inflammatory Biomarkers in Prediction of Postoperative Delirium after Cardiac Surgery
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 308; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110308 - 02 Nov 2019
Abstract
Introduction: Postoperative delirium (POD) is associated with unfavorable outcomes. It may result from neuroinflammation and oxidative stress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of routinely available inflammatory markers derived from white blood cell count (WBC), for prognostic value in [...] Read more.
Introduction: Postoperative delirium (POD) is associated with unfavorable outcomes. It may result from neuroinflammation and oxidative stress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of routinely available inflammatory markers derived from white blood cell count (WBC), for prognostic value in diagnosing delirium after cardiac surgery. Methods: We performed an analysis of data collected from patients undergoing planned coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Differential WBC and CRP (C-reactive protein) concentration were evaluated preoperatively (T0) and postoperatively at day 1 (T1), 3 (T3), 5 (T5) after CABG. Differences in neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR) and platelet-to-WBC ratio (PWR) between patients with (Del +) and without delirium (Del −) were evaluated. Patients were screened using CAM-ICU. Results: We included 968 patients in the study. Incidence of delirium was 13.3%. In the group with POD, the majority of patients were men (87/129, 67.44%), and the mean age was 72 years. Preoperative WBC (8.21 ± 3.04 G/l vs. 7.55 ± 1.86 G/l, p = 0.029) were higher and mean platelet count was lower (217.7 ± 69.07 G/l vs. 227.44 ± 59.31 G/l, p = 0.031) in patients with POD. Lower pre-operative PLR values (109.87 ± 46.38 vs. 120.36 ± 52.98, p = 0.026) and PWR values (27.69 ± 7.50 vs. 31.32 ± 9.88 p < 0.001) were found in patients with POD. Association was strongest for PWR and remained significant at T1 (p < 0.001), T3 (p < 0.001) and T5 (p < 0.001). Basing on coefficients of logistic regression a model for optimal prediction of POD was calculated: CARDEL Index (CARdiac DELirium Index) = 0.108 × Age + 0.341 × HBA1C − 0.049 × PWR with AUC of 0.742 (p < 0.001). Conclusions: The results of this study show that lower pre-operative levels of PLR and PWR were associated with POD after cardiac surgery. Pre-operative PWR showed strongest correlation with POD and may be a potential new biomarker associated with postoperative delirium. CARDEL prognosis index composed of age, HbA1c and PWR is good at predicting development of delirium after CABG. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Clinical Neuroscience)
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Open AccessCommunication
More than Meets the Mind’s Eye? Preliminary Observations Hint at Heterogeneous Alpha Neuromarkers for Visual Attention
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110307 - 02 Nov 2019
Abstract
With their salient power distribution and privileged timescale for cognition and behavior, brainwaves within the 10 Hz band are special in human waking electroencephalography (EEG). From the inception of electroencephalographic technology, the contribution of alpha rhythm to attention is well-known: Its amplitude increases [...] Read more.
With their salient power distribution and privileged timescale for cognition and behavior, brainwaves within the 10 Hz band are special in human waking electroencephalography (EEG). From the inception of electroencephalographic technology, the contribution of alpha rhythm to attention is well-known: Its amplitude increases when visual attention wanes or visual input is removed. However, alpha is not alone in the 10 Hz frequency band. A number of other 10 Hz neuromarkers have function and topography clearly distinct from alpha. In small pilot studies, an activity that we named xi was found over left centroparietal scalp regions when subjects held their attention to spatially peripheral locations while maintaining their gaze centrally (“looking from the corner of the eyes”). I outline several potential functions for xi as a putative neuromarker of covert attention distinct from alpha. I review methodological aids to test and validate their functional role. They emphasize high spectral resolution, sufficient spatial resolution to provide topographical separation, and an acute attention to dynamics that caters to neuromarkers’ transiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ERP and EEG Markers of Brain Visual Attentional Processing)
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Open AccessArticle
Insomnia Symptoms among African-American Older Adults in Economically Disadvantaged Areas of South Los Angeles
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 306; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110306 - 02 Nov 2019
Abstract
Background. Although psychosocial and health factors impact insomnia symptoms, less is known about these effects in economically disadvantaged African-American older adults. Aims. This study investigated social and health determinants of insomnia symptoms among economically disadvantaged African-American older adults. Methods. This survey enrolled 398 [...] Read more.
Background. Although psychosocial and health factors impact insomnia symptoms, less is known about these effects in economically disadvantaged African-American older adults. Aims. This study investigated social and health determinants of insomnia symptoms among economically disadvantaged African-American older adults. Methods. This survey enrolled 398 African-American older adults (age ≥ 65 years) from economically disadvantaged areas of South Los Angeles. Gender, age, educational attainment, financial difficulty, number of chronic diseases, self-rated health, pain intensity, and depression were covariates. Total insomnia, insomnia symptoms, and insomnia impact were our outcomes. Linear regression was applied for data analysis. Results. Based on linear regression, higher financial difficulty (B = 0.48, 95% CI = 0.35–0.61), smoking status (B = 1.64, 95% CI = 0.13–3.16), higher pain intensity (B = 0.39, 95% CI = 0.11–0.67), higher number of chronic diseases (B = 0.34, 95% CI = 0.05–0.64), and more depressive symptoms (B = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.12–0.57) were associated with a higher frequency of insomnia symptoms. Based on a logistic regression model, lower age (B = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.91–1.00) and high financial difficulty (OR = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.08–1.24), pain (OR = 2.08, 95% CI = 1.14–3.80), chronic disease (OR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.07–1.51) and depression (OR = 2.38, 95% CI = 1.22–4.65) were associated with higher odds of possible clinical insomnia. We also found specific predictors for insomnia symptoms and insomnia impact. Conclusions. Among African-American older adults in economically disadvantaged areas of South Los Angeles, insomnia symptoms co-occur with other economic, physical, and mental health challenges such as financial difficulty, smoking, multimorbidity, pain, and depression. There is a need to address sleep as a component of care of economically disadvantaged African-American older adults who have multiple social and health challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disturbances of Sleep Among Older People)
Open AccessArticle
Attention Modulates Electrophysiological Responses to Simultaneous Music and Language Syntax Processing
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110305 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
Music and language are hypothesized to engage the same neural resources, particularly at the level of syntax processing. Recent reports suggest that attention modulates the shared processing of music and language, but the time-course of the effects of attention on music and language [...] Read more.
Music and language are hypothesized to engage the same neural resources, particularly at the level of syntax processing. Recent reports suggest that attention modulates the shared processing of music and language, but the time-course of the effects of attention on music and language syntax processing are yet unclear. In this EEG study we vary top-down attention to language and music, while manipulating the syntactic structure of simultaneously presented musical chord progressions and garden-path sentences in a modified rapid serial visual presentation paradigm. The Early Right Anterior Negativity (ERAN) was observed in response to both attended and unattended musical syntax violations. In contrast, an N400 was only observed in response to attended linguistic syntax violations, and a P3/P600 only in response to attended musical syntax violations. Results suggest that early processing of musical syntax, as indexed by the ERAN, is relatively automatic; however, top-down allocation of attention changes the processing of syntax in both music and language at later stages of cognitive processing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Neurocognition of Music and Language)
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Open AccessArticle
Electrical Stimulation in the Claustrum Area Induces a Deepening of Isoflurane Anesthesia in Rat
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110304 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
The role of the claustrum in consciousness and vigilance states was proposed more than two decades ago; however, its role in anesthesia is not yet understood, and this requires more investigation. The aim of our study was to assess the impact of claustrum [...] Read more.
The role of the claustrum in consciousness and vigilance states was proposed more than two decades ago; however, its role in anesthesia is not yet understood, and this requires more investigation. The aim of our study was to assess the impact of claustrum electrical stimulation during isoflurane anesthesia in adult rats. The claustrum in the left hemisphere was electrically stimulated using a bipolar tungsten electrode inserted stereotaxically. In order to monitor the anesthetic depth, the electrocorticogram (ECoG) was recorded before, during, and after claustrum stimulation using frontal and parietal epidural electrodes placed over the left hemisphere. After reaching stabilized slow-wave isoflurane anesthesia, twenty stimuli, each of one second duration with ten seconds interstimulus duration, were applied. ECoG analysis has shown that, after a delay from the beginning of stimulation, the slow-wave ECoG signal changed to a transient burst suppression (BS) pattern. Our results show that electrical stimulation of the claustrum area during slow-wave isoflurane anesthesia induces a transitory increase in anesthetic depth, documented by the appearance of a BS ECoG pattern, and suggests a potential role of claustrum in anesthesia. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Collection on Systems Neuroscience)
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Open AccessArticle
Electrical Stimulation of C6 Glia-Precursor Cells In Vitro Differentially Modulates Gene Expression Related to Chronic Pain Pathways
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110303 - 31 Oct 2019
Abstract
Glial cells comprise the majority of cells in the central nervous system and exhibit diverse functions including the development of persistent neuropathic pain. While earlier theories have proposed that the applied electric field specifically affects neurons, it has been demonstrated that electrical stimulation [...] Read more.
Glial cells comprise the majority of cells in the central nervous system and exhibit diverse functions including the development of persistent neuropathic pain. While earlier theories have proposed that the applied electric field specifically affects neurons, it has been demonstrated that electrical stimulation (ES) of neural tissue modulates gene expression of the glial cells. This study examines the effect of ES on the expression of eight genes related to oxidative stress and neuroprotection in cultured rodent glioma cells. Concentric bipolar electrodes under seven different ES types were used to stimulate cells for 30 min in the presence and absence of extracellular glutamate. ES consisted of rectangular pulses at 50 Hz in varying proportions of anodic and cathodic phases. Real-time reverse-transcribed quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to determine gene expression using the ∆∆Cq method. The results demonstrate that glutamate has a significant effect on gene expression in both stimulated and non-stimulated groups. Furthermore, stimulation parameters have differential effects on gene expression, both in the presence and absence of glutamate. ES has an effect on glial cell gene expression that is dependent on waveform composition. Optimization of ES therapy for chronic pain applications can be enhanced by this understanding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms Underlying Alleviation of Pain)
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Open AccessArticle
D-Stellate Neurons of the Ventral Cochlear Nucleus Decrease in Auditory Nerve-Evoked Activity during Age-Related Hearing Loss
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 302; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110302 - 31 Oct 2019
Abstract
Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) is associated with weakened inhibition in the central auditory nervous system including the cochlear nucleus. One of the main inhibitory neurons of the cochlear nucleus is the D-stellate neuron, which provides extensive glycinergic inhibition within the local neural network. [...] Read more.
Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) is associated with weakened inhibition in the central auditory nervous system including the cochlear nucleus. One of the main inhibitory neurons of the cochlear nucleus is the D-stellate neuron, which provides extensive glycinergic inhibition within the local neural network. It remains unclear how physiological activities of D-stellate neurons change during ARHL and what are the underlying mechanisms. Using in vitro whole-cell patch clamp technique, we studied the intrinsic membrane properties of D-stellate neurons, the changes of their firing properties, and the underlying mechanisms in CBA/CaJ mice at the ages of 3–4 months (young), 17–19 months (middle age), and 27–33 months (aged). We found that the intrinsic membrane properties of D-stellate neurons were unchanged among these three age groups. However, these neurons showed decreased firing rate with age in response to sustained auditory nerve stimulation. Further investigation showed that auditory nerve-evoked excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) were significantly reduced in strength with age. These findings suggest that D-stellate neurons receive weakened synaptic inputs from the auditory nerve and decreased sound driven activity with age, which are expected to reduce the overall inhibition and enhance the central gain in the cochlear nucleus during ARHL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Central Auditory Plasticity)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring Shopper’s Browsing Behavior and Attention Level with an EEG Biosensor Cap
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 301; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9110301 - 31 Oct 2019
Abstract
The online shopping market is developing rapidly, meaning that it is important for retailers and manufacturers to understand how consumers behave online compared to when in brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers want consumers to spend time shopping, browsing, and searching for products in the hope [...] Read more.
The online shopping market is developing rapidly, meaning that it is important for retailers and manufacturers to understand how consumers behave online compared to when in brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers want consumers to spend time shopping, browsing, and searching for products in the hope a purchase is made. On the other hand, consumers may want to restrict their duration of stay on websites due to perceived risk of loss of time or convenience. This phenomenon underlies the need to reduce the duration of consumer stay (namely, time pressure) on websites. In this paper, the browsing behavior and attention span of shoppers engaging in online shopping under time pressure were investigated. The attention and meditation level are measured by an electroencephalogram (EEG) biosensor cap. The results indicated that when under time pressure shoppers engaging in online shopping are less attentive. Thus, marketers may need to find strategies to increase a shopper’s attention. Shoppers unfamiliar with product catalogs on shopping websites are less attentive, therefore marketers should adopt an interesting style for product catalogs to hold a shopper’s attention. We discuss our findings and outline their business implications. Full article
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