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Brain Sci., Volume 9, Issue 6 (June 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) In the last 15 years, increasing numbers of individuals have self-referred to research laboratories [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
The Limiting Case of Amodal Completion: The Phenomenal Salience and the Role of Contrast Polarity
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060149
Received: 28 April 2019 / Revised: 19 June 2019 / Accepted: 20 June 2019 / Published: 24 June 2019
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Abstract
In this work, we demonstrated unique and relevant visual properties imparted by contrast polarity in perceptual organization and in eliciting amodal completion, which is the vivid completion of a single continuous object of the visible parts of an occluded shape despite portions of [...] Read more.
In this work, we demonstrated unique and relevant visual properties imparted by contrast polarity in perceptual organization and in eliciting amodal completion, which is the vivid completion of a single continuous object of the visible parts of an occluded shape despite portions of its boundary contours not actually being seen. T-junction, good continuation, and closure are considered the main principles involved according to relevant explanations of amodal completion based on the simplicity–Prägnanz principle, Helmholtz’s likelihood, and Bayesian inference. The main interest of these approaches is to explain how the occluded object is completed, what is the amodal shape, and how contours of partially visible fragments are relatable behind an occluder. Different from these perspectives, amodal completion was considered here as a visual phenomenon and not as a process, i.e., the final outcome of perceptual processes and grouping principles. Therefore, the main question we addressed through our stimuli was “What is the role of shape formation and perceptual organization in inducing amodal completion?” To answer this question, novel stimuli, similar to limiting cases and instantiae crucis, were studied through Gestalt experimental phenomenology. The results demonstrated the domination of the contrast polarity against good continuation, T-junctions, and regularity. Moreover, the limiting conditions explored revealed a new kind of junction next to the T- and Y-junctions, respectively responsible for amodal completion and tessellation. We called them I-junctions. The results were theoretically discussed in relation to the previous approaches and in the light of the phenomenal salience imparted by contrast polarity. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
ERP Evidence for Co-Activation of English Words during Recognition of American Sign Language Signs
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060148
Received: 31 May 2019 / Revised: 18 June 2019 / Accepted: 20 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
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Abstract
Event-related potentials (ERPs) were used to investigate co-activation of English words during recognition of American Sign Language (ASL) signs. Deaf and hearing signers viewed pairs of ASL signs and judged their semantic relatedness. Half of the semantically unrelated signs had English translations that [...] Read more.
Event-related potentials (ERPs) were used to investigate co-activation of English words during recognition of American Sign Language (ASL) signs. Deaf and hearing signers viewed pairs of ASL signs and judged their semantic relatedness. Half of the semantically unrelated signs had English translations that shared an orthographic and phonological rime (e.g., BAR–STAR) and half did not (e.g., NURSE–STAR). Classic N400 and behavioral semantic priming effects were observed in both groups. For hearing signers, targets in sign pairs with English rime translations elicited a smaller N400 compared to targets in pairs with unrelated English translations. In contrast, a reversed N400 effect was observed for deaf signers: target signs in English rime translation pairs elicited a larger N400 compared to targets in pairs with unrelated English translations. This reversed effect was overtaken by a later, more typical ERP priming effect for deaf signers who were aware of the manipulation. These findings provide evidence that implicit language co-activation in bimodal bilinguals is bidirectional. However, the distinct pattern of effects in deaf and hearing signers suggests that it may be modulated by differences in language proficiency and dominance as well as by asymmetric reliance on orthographic versus phonological representations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive Neuroscience of Cross-Language Interaction in Bilinguals)
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Open AccessArticle
Activation of Membrane Estrogen Receptors Attenuates NOP-Mediated Tactile Antihypersensitivity in a Rodent Model of Neuropathic Pain
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060147
Received: 31 May 2019 / Revised: 16 June 2019 / Accepted: 19 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
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Abstract
Women manifest a higher prevalence of several chronic pain disorders compared to men. We demonstrated earlier that estrogen rapidly attenuates nociceptin/orphanin FQ (N/OFQ) peptide receptor (NOP)-mediated thermal antinociception through the activation of membrane estrogen receptors (mERs). However, the effect of mER activation on [...] Read more.
Women manifest a higher prevalence of several chronic pain disorders compared to men. We demonstrated earlier that estrogen rapidly attenuates nociceptin/orphanin FQ (N/OFQ) peptide receptor (NOP)-mediated thermal antinociception through the activation of membrane estrogen receptors (mERs). However, the effect of mER activation on NOP-mediated attenuation of tactile hypersensitivity in a neuropathic model of pain and the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Following spared nerve injury (SNI), male and ovariectomized (OVX) female rats were intrathecally (i.t.) injected with a selective mER agonist and nociceptin/orphanin FQ (N/OFQ), the endogenous ligand for NOP, and their effects on paw withdrawal thresholds (PWTs) were tested. In addition, spinal cord tissue was used to measure changes in phosphorylated extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK), protein kinase A (PKA), protein kinase C (PKC), and protein kinase B (Akt) levels. SNI significantly reduced PWTs in males and OVX females, indicating tactile hypersensitivity. N/OFQ restored PWTs, indicating an antihypersensitive effect. Selective mER activation attenuated the effect of N/OFQ in an antagonist-reversible manner. SNI led to a robust increase in the phosphorylation of ERK, PKA, PKC, and Akt. However, mER activation did not further affect it. Thus, we conclude that activation of mERs rapidly abolishes NOP-mediated tactile antihypersensitivity following SNI via an ERK-, PKA-, PKC-, and Akt-independent mechanism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex Differences in the Brain: The Estrogen Quandary)
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Open AccessArticle
Genetic and Environmental Predictors of Adolescent PTSD Symptom Trajectories Following a Natural Disaster
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060146
Received: 3 June 2019 / Accepted: 19 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
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Abstract
Genes, environmental factors, and their interplay affect posttrauma symptoms. Although environmental predictors of the longitudinal course of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are documented, there remains a need to incorporate genetic risk into these models, especially in youth who are underrepresented in genetic [...] Read more.
Genes, environmental factors, and their interplay affect posttrauma symptoms. Although environmental predictors of the longitudinal course of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are documented, there remains a need to incorporate genetic risk into these models, especially in youth who are underrepresented in genetic studies. In an epidemiologic sample tornado-exposed adolescents (n = 707, 51% female, Mage = 14.54 years), trajectories of PTSD symptoms were examined at baseline and at 4-months and 12-months following baseline. This study aimed to determine if rare genetic variation in genes previously found in the sample to be related to PTSD diagnosis at baseline (MPHOSPH9, LGALS13, SLC2A2), environmental factors (disaster severity, social support), or their interplay were associated with symptom trajectories. A series of mixed effects models were conducted. Symptoms decreased over the three time points. Elevated tornado severity was associated with elevated baseline symptoms. Elevated recreational support was associated with lower baseline symptoms and attenuated improvement over time. Greater LGLAS13 variants attenuated symptom improvement over time. An interaction between MPHOSPH9 variants and tornado severity was associated with elevated baseline symptoms, but not change over time. Findings suggest the importance of rare genetic variation and environmental factors on the longitudinal course of PTSD symptoms following natural disaster trauma exposure. Full article
Open AccessPerspective
The Counteracting Effects of Exercise on High-Fat Diet-Induced Memory Impairment: A Systematic Review
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060145
Received: 15 May 2019 / Revised: 17 June 2019 / Accepted: 18 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
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Abstract
The objective of the present review was to evaluate whether exercise can counteract a potential high-fat diet-induced memory impairment effect. The evaluated databases included: Google Scholar, Sports Discus, Embase/PubMed, Web of Science, and PsychInfo. Studies were included if: (1) an experimental/intervention study was [...] Read more.
The objective of the present review was to evaluate whether exercise can counteract a potential high-fat diet-induced memory impairment effect. The evaluated databases included: Google Scholar, Sports Discus, Embase/PubMed, Web of Science, and PsychInfo. Studies were included if: (1) an experimental/intervention study was conducted, (2) the experiment/intervention included both a high-fat diet and exercise group, and evaluated whether exercise could counteract the negative effects of a high-fat diet on memory, and (3) evaluated memory function (any type) as the outcome measure. In total, 17 articles met the inclusionary criteria. All 17 studies (conducted in rodents) demonstrated that the high-fat diet protocol impaired memory function and all 17 studies demonstrated a counteracting effect with chronic exercise engagement. Mechanisms of these robust effects are discussed herein. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Uncovering Dynamic Brain Reconfiguration in MEG Working Memory n-Back Task Using Topological Data Analysis
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060144
Received: 5 May 2019 / Revised: 31 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 June 2019 / Published: 19 June 2019
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Abstract
The increasing availability of high temporal resolution neuroimaging data has increased the efforts to understand the dynamics of neural functions. Until recently, there are few studies on generative models supporting classification and prediction of neural systems compared to the description of the architecture. [...] Read more.
The increasing availability of high temporal resolution neuroimaging data has increased the efforts to understand the dynamics of neural functions. Until recently, there are few studies on generative models supporting classification and prediction of neural systems compared to the description of the architecture. However, the requirement of collapsing data spatially and temporally in the state-of-the art methods to analyze functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) data cause loss of important information. In this study, we addressed this issue using a topological data analysis (TDA) method, called Mapper, which visualizes evolving patterns of brain activity as a mathematical graph. Accordingly, we analyzed preprocessed MEG data of 83 subjects from Human Connectome Project (HCP) collected during working memory n-back task. We examined variation in the dynamics of the brain states with the Mapper graphs, and to determine how this variation relates to measures such as response time and performance. The application of the Mapper method to MEG data detected a novel neuroimaging marker that explained the performance of the participants along with the ground truth of response time. In addition, TDA enabled us to distinguish two task-positive brain activations during 0-back and 2-back tasks, which is hard to detect with the other pipelines that require collapsing the data in the spatial and temporal domain. Further, the Mapper graphs of the individuals also revealed one large group in the middle of the stimulus detecting the high engagement in the brain with fine temporal resolution, which could contribute to increase spatiotemporal resolution by merging different imaging modalities. Hence, our work provides another evidence to the effectiveness of the TDA methods for extracting subtle dynamic properties of high temporal resolution MEG data without the temporal and spatial collapse. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neuroimaging)
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Open AccessArticle
Imagery-Mediated Verbal Learning Depends on Vividness–Familiarity Interactions: The Possible Role of Dualistic Resting State Network Activity Interference
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060143
Received: 2 May 2019 / Revised: 16 June 2019 / Accepted: 17 June 2019 / Published: 18 June 2019
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Abstract
Using secondary database analysis, we tested whether the (implicit) familiarity of eliciting noun-cues and the (explicit) vividness of corresponding imagery exerted additive or interactive influences on verbal learning, as measured by the probability of incidental noun recall and image latency times (RTs). Noun-cues [...] Read more.
Using secondary database analysis, we tested whether the (implicit) familiarity of eliciting noun-cues and the (explicit) vividness of corresponding imagery exerted additive or interactive influences on verbal learning, as measured by the probability of incidental noun recall and image latency times (RTs). Noun-cues with incongruent levels of vividness and familiarity (high/low; low/high, respectively) at encoding were subsequently associated at retrieval with the lowest recall probabilities, while noun-cues related with congruent levels (high/high; low/low) were associated with higher recall probabilities. RTs in the high vividness and high familiarity grouping were significantly faster than all other subsets (low/low, low/high, high/low) which did not significantly differ among each other. The findings contradict: (1) associative theories predicting positive monotonic relationships between memory strength and learning; and (2) non-monotonic plasticity hypothesis (NMPH), aiming at generalizing the non-monotonic relationship between a neuron’s excitation level and its synaptic strength to broad neural networks. We propose a dualistic neuropsychological model of memory consolidation that mimics the global activity in two large resting-state networks (RSNs), the default mode network (DMN) and the task-positive-network (TPN). Based on this model, we suggest that incongruence and congruence between vividness and familiarity reflect, respectively, competition and synergy between DMN and TPN activity. We argue that competition or synergy between these RSNs at the time of stimulus encoding disproportionately influences long term semantic memory consolidation in healthy controls. These findings could assist in developing neurophenomenological markers of core memory deficits currently hypothesized to be shared across multiple psychopathological conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Electrophysiological Responses to Emotional Facial Expressions Following a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060142
Received: 3 June 2019 / Revised: 11 June 2019 / Accepted: 17 June 2019 / Published: 18 June 2019
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Abstract
The present study aimed to measure neural information processing underlying emotional recognition from facial expressions in adults having sustained a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) as compared to healthy individuals. We thus measured early (N1, N170) and later (N2) event-related potential (ERP) components [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to measure neural information processing underlying emotional recognition from facial expressions in adults having sustained a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) as compared to healthy individuals. We thus measured early (N1, N170) and later (N2) event-related potential (ERP) components during presentation of fearful, neutral, and happy facial expressions in 10 adults with mTBI and 11 control participants. Findings indicated significant differences between groups, irrespective of emotional expression, in the early attentional stage (N1), which was altered in mTBI. The two groups showed similar perceptual integration of facial features (N170), with greater amplitude for fearful facial expressions in the right hemisphere. At a higher-level emotional discrimination stage (N2), both groups demonstrated preferential processing for fear as compared to happiness and neutrality. These findings suggest a reduced early selective attentional processing following mTBI, but no impact on the perceptual and higher-level cognitive processes stages. This study contributes to further improving our comprehension of attentional versus emotional recognition following a mild TBI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perceptual and Affective Mechanisms in Facial Expression Recognition)
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Open AccessArticle
Multiple Levels of Control Processes for Wisconsin Card Sorts: An Observational Study
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060141
Received: 21 May 2019 / Revised: 12 June 2019 / Accepted: 15 June 2019 / Published: 17 June 2019
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Abstract
We explored short-term behavioral plasticity on the Modified Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (M-WCST) by deriving novel error metrics by stratifying traditional set loss and perseverative errors. Separating the rule set and the response set allowed for the measurement of performance across four trial [...] Read more.
We explored short-term behavioral plasticity on the Modified Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (M-WCST) by deriving novel error metrics by stratifying traditional set loss and perseverative errors. Separating the rule set and the response set allowed for the measurement of performance across four trial types, crossing rule set (i.e., maintain vs. switch) and response demand (i.e., repeat vs. alternate). Critically, these four trial types can be grouped based on trial-wise feedback on t − 1 trials. Rewarded (correct) maintain t − 1 trials should lead to error enhancement when the response demands shift from repeat to alternate. In contrast, punished (incorrect) t − 1 trials should lead to error suppression when the response demands shift from repeat to alternate. The results supported the error suppression prediction: An error suppression effect (ESE) was observed across numerous patient samples. Exploratory analyses show that the ESE did not share substantial portions of variance with traditional neuropsychological measures of executive functioning. They further point into the direction that striatal or limbic circuit neuropathology may be associated with enhanced ESE. These data suggest that punishment of the recently executed response induces behavioral avoidance, which is detectable as the ESE on the WCST. The assessment of the ESE might provide an index of response-related avoidance learning on the WCST. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Collection on Cognitive Neuroscience)
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Open AccessEditorial
New Research in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Major Depression
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060140
Received: 13 June 2019 / Revised: 14 June 2019 / Accepted: 14 June 2019 / Published: 17 June 2019
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Abstract
Major depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are among the most frequent psychiatric disorders in the general population [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Mechanisms for Auditory Perception: A Neurocognitive Study of Second Language Learning of Mandarin Chinese
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060139
Received: 18 May 2019 / Revised: 5 June 2019 / Accepted: 11 June 2019 / Published: 17 June 2019
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Abstract
Speech perception is an important early skill for language learning. This study uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the relationship between auditory perception abilities and second language (L2) vocabulary learning in an effort to explore behavior-brain correlations. Twenty-one English monolinguals learned [...] Read more.
Speech perception is an important early skill for language learning. This study uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the relationship between auditory perception abilities and second language (L2) vocabulary learning in an effort to explore behavior-brain correlations. Twenty-one English monolinguals learned 48 auditory Chinese pseudowords over six weeks. Their pre-training abilities in non-linguistic pitch and linguistic tone perception significantly and positively predicted their novel word-learning performance, which correlated with their brain response patterns in the left Heschl’s gyrus. Analyses of regions of interest (ROIs) showed coactivation of the frontal and temporal regions during novel lexical retrieval, and the non-linguistic pitch perception ability modulated brain activations in these regions. Effective connectivity analyses further indicated a collaboration of a ventral stream for speech perception and a dorsal stream for sensory-motor mapping in the L2 network. The ventral stream, compared with the dorsal stream, played a more dominant role in auditory word learning as the L2 proficiency increased. Better pitch and tone perception abilities strengthened the ventral pathways and decreased the reliance on frontal regions. These findings are discussed in light of current models of speech processing and L2 learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive Neuroscience of Cross-Language Interaction in Bilinguals)
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Open AccessArticle
Morphogenetic Variability as Potential Biomarker of Functional Outcome After Ischemic Stroke
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060138
Received: 3 May 2019 / Revised: 7 June 2019 / Accepted: 12 June 2019 / Published: 14 June 2019
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Abstract
The aim of our study was to evaluate the role of morphogenetic variability in functional outcome of patients with ischemic stroke. The prospective study included 140 patients with acute ischemic stroke, all of whom were tested upon: admission; discharge; one month post-discharge; and [...] Read more.
The aim of our study was to evaluate the role of morphogenetic variability in functional outcome of patients with ischemic stroke. The prospective study included 140 patients with acute ischemic stroke, all of whom were tested upon: admission; discharge; one month post-discharge; and three months post-discharge. The age was analyzed, as well. The Functional Independence Measure (FIM) test and the Barthel Index (BI) were used for the evaluation of functional outcomes for the eligible participants. We analyzed the presence of 19 homozygous recessive characteristics (HRC) in the studied individuals. There was a significant change in FIM values at discharge (p = 0.033) and in BI values upon admission (p = 0.012) with regards to the presence of different HRCs. Age significantly negatively correlated for the FIM score and BI values at discharge for the group with 5 HRCs (p < 0.05), while for BI only, negative significant correlation was noticed for the group with 5 HRCs at three months post-discharge (p < 0.05), and for the group with 3 HRCs at one month post-discharge (p < 0.05) and three months post-discharge (p < 0.05). Morphogenetic variability might be one among potentially numerous factors that could have an impact on the response to defined treatment protocols for neurologically-impaired individuals who suffered an ischemic stroke. Full article
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Open AccessCase Report
First Case Report of Primary Carnitine Deficiency Manifested as Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060137
Received: 3 May 2019 / Revised: 12 June 2019 / Accepted: 12 June 2019 / Published: 13 June 2019
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Abstract
Systemic primary carnitine deficiency (PCD) is a genetic disorder caused by decreased or absent organic cation transporter type 2 (OCTN2) carnitine transporter activity, resulting in low serum carnitine levels and decreased carnitine accumulation inside cells. In early life, PCD is usually diagnosed as [...] Read more.
Systemic primary carnitine deficiency (PCD) is a genetic disorder caused by decreased or absent organic cation transporter type 2 (OCTN2) carnitine transporter activity, resulting in low serum carnitine levels and decreased carnitine accumulation inside cells. In early life, PCD is usually diagnosed as a metabolic decompensation, presenting as hypoketotic hypoglycemia, Reye syndrome, or sudden infant death; in childhood, PCD presents with skeletal or cardiac myopathy. However, the clinical presentation of PCD characterized by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with intellectual disability (ID) has seldom been reported in the literature. In this report, we describe the clinical features of a seven-year-old girl diagnosed with PCD who presented atypical features of the disease, including a developmental delay involving language skills, concentration, and attention span, as well as autistic features and brain alterations apparent in magnetic resonance imaging. We aim to highlight the difficulties related to the diagnostic and therapeutic approaches used to diagnose such patients. The case reported here presented typical signs of PCD, including frequent episodes of hypoglycemia, generalized muscle weakness, decreased muscle mass, and physical growth deficits. A molecular genetic study confirmed the definitive diagnosis of the disease (c.1345T>G (p.Y449D)) in gene SLC22A5, located in exon 8. PCD can be accompanied by less common clinical signs, which may delay its diagnosis because the resulting global clinical picture can closely resemble other metabolic disorders. In this case, the patient was prescribed a carnitine-enriched diet, as well as oral carnitine at a dose of 100 mg/kg/day. PCD has a better prognosis if it is diagnosed and treated early; however, a high level of clinical suspicion is required for its timely and accurate diagnosis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Increased Voluntary Activation of the Elbow Flexors Following a Single Session of Spinal Manipulation in a Subclinical Neck Pain Population
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060136
Received: 23 April 2019 / Revised: 6 June 2019 / Accepted: 11 June 2019 / Published: 12 June 2019
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Abstract
To investigate the effects of a single session of spinal manipulation (SM) on voluntary activation of the elbow flexors in participants with subclinical neck pain using an interpolated twitch technique with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), eighteen volunteers with subclinical neck pain participated in [...] Read more.
To investigate the effects of a single session of spinal manipulation (SM) on voluntary activation of the elbow flexors in participants with subclinical neck pain using an interpolated twitch technique with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), eighteen volunteers with subclinical neck pain participated in this randomized crossover trial. TMS was delivered during elbow flexion contractions at 50%, 75% and 100% of maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) before and after SM or control intervention. The amplitude of the superimposed twitches evoked during voluntary contractions was recorded and voluntary activation was calculated using a regression analysis. Dependent variables were analyzed with two-way (intervention × time) repeated measures ANOVAs. Significant intervention effects for SM compared to passive movement control were observed for elbow flexion MVC (p = 0.04), the amplitude of superimposed twitch (p = 0.04), and voluntary activation of elbow flexors (p =0.03). Significant within-group post-intervention changes were observed for the superimposed twitch (mean group decrease of 20.9%, p < 0.01) and voluntary activation (mean group increase of 3.0%, p < 0.01) following SM. No other significant within-group changes were observed. Voluntary activation of the elbow flexors increased immediately after one session of spinal manipulation in participants with subclinical neck pain. A decrease in the amplitude of superimposed twitch during elbow flexion MVC following spinal manipulation suggests a facilitation of motor cortical output. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Collection on Neural Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Emotional and Phenomenological Properties of Odor-Evoked Autobiographical Memories in Alzheimer’s Disease
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060135
Received: 10 May 2019 / Revised: 6 June 2019 / Accepted: 10 June 2019 / Published: 10 June 2019
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Abstract
Autobiographical memory, which contains all personal memories relative to our identity, has been found to be impaired in Alzheimer’ Disease (AD). Recent research has demonstrated that odor may serve as a powerful cue for the recovery of autobiographical memories in AD. Building on [...] Read more.
Autobiographical memory, which contains all personal memories relative to our identity, has been found to be impaired in Alzheimer’ Disease (AD). Recent research has demonstrated that odor may serve as a powerful cue for the recovery of autobiographical memories in AD. Building on this research, we investigated emotional characteristics (arousal and valence) and subjective reliving of odor-evoked autobiographical memories in AD. We also investigated the relationship between these characteristics and depression. To this end, we invited participants with mild AD and controls to retrieve autobiographical memories after odor exposure or without odor. Results showed higher arousal, subjective reliving and more positive memories after odor exposure compared with the odor-free condition, these differences being observed only in AD participants. We also found that emotion (arousal and valence) and subjective reliving triggered by odor were associated with depressive symptoms in AD. These findings demonstrate that odor may be a useful cue to trigger more detailed, vivid and positive events in AD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Olfaction as a Marker for Psychiatric and Neurological Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
Gamma Knife Radiosurgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia: A Comparison of Dose Protocols
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060134
Received: 24 April 2019 / Revised: 1 June 2019 / Accepted: 4 June 2019 / Published: 10 June 2019
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Abstract
Purpose: A variety of treatment plans including an array of prescription doses have been used in radiosurgery treatment of trigeminal neuralgia (TN). However, despite a considerable experience in the radiosurgical treatment of TN, an ideal prescription dose that balances facial dysesthesia risk with [...] Read more.
Purpose: A variety of treatment plans including an array of prescription doses have been used in radiosurgery treatment of trigeminal neuralgia (TN). However, despite a considerable experience in the radiosurgical treatment of TN, an ideal prescription dose that balances facial dysesthesia risk with pain relief durability has not been determined. Methods and Materials: This retrospective study of patients treated with radiosurgery for typical TN evaluates two treatment doses in relation to outcomes of pain freedom, bothersome facial numbness, and patient satisfaction with treatment. All patients were treated with radiosurgery for intractable and disabling TN. A treatment dose protocol change from 80 to 85 Gy provided an opportunity to compare two prescription doses. The variables evaluated were pain relief, treatment side-effect profile, and patient satisfaction. Results: Typical TN was treated with 80 Gy in 26 patients, and 85 Gy in 37 patients. A new face sensory disturbance was reported after 80 Gy in 16% and after 85 Gy in 27% (p = 0.4). Thirteen failed an 80 Gy dose whereas seven failed an 85 Gy dose. Kaplan–Meier analysis found that at 29 months 50% failed an 80 Gy treatment compared with 79% who had durable pain relief after 85 Gy treatment (p = 0.04). Conclusion: The 85 Gy dose for TN provided a more durable pain relief compared to the 80 Gy one without a significantly elevated occurrence of facial sensory disturbance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Surgery for Spine Disease and Intractable Pain)
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Open AccessArticle
Objective Patterns of Face Recognition Deficits in 165 Adults with Self-Reported Developmental Prosopagnosia
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060133
Received: 13 May 2019 / Revised: 30 May 2019 / Accepted: 5 June 2019 / Published: 6 June 2019
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Abstract
In the last 15 years, increasing numbers of individuals have self-referred to research laboratories in the belief that they experience severe everyday difficulties with face recognition. The condition “developmental prosopagnosia” (DP) is typically diagnosed when impairment is identified on at least two objective [...] Read more.
In the last 15 years, increasing numbers of individuals have self-referred to research laboratories in the belief that they experience severe everyday difficulties with face recognition. The condition “developmental prosopagnosia” (DP) is typically diagnosed when impairment is identified on at least two objective face-processing tests, usually involving assessments of face perception, unfamiliar face memory, and famous face recognition. While existing evidence suggests that some individuals may have a mnemonic form of prosopagnosia, it is also possible that other subtypes exist. The current study assessed 165 adults who believe they experience DP, and 38% of the sample were impaired on at least two of the tests outlined above. While statistical dissociations between face perception and face memory were only observed in four cases, a further 25% of the sample displayed dissociations between impaired famous face recognition and intact short-term unfamiliar face memory and face perception. We discuss whether this pattern of findings reflects (a) limitations within dominant diagnostic tests and protocols, (b) a less severe form of DP, or (c) a currently unrecognized but prevalent form of the condition that affects long-term face memory, familiar face recognition or semantic processing. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Peer Victimization and Onset of Social Anxiety Disorder in Children and Adolescents
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060132
Received: 3 May 2019 / Revised: 4 June 2019 / Accepted: 5 June 2019 / Published: 6 June 2019
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Abstract
Background: In the literature, several studies have proposed that children and adolescents with social anxiety had experienced previously victimization from peers and siblings. The aim of this review was to contribute to the updating of recent findings about the relationship between peer victimization [...] Read more.
Background: In the literature, several studies have proposed that children and adolescents with social anxiety had experienced previously victimization from peers and siblings. The aim of this review was to contribute to the updating of recent findings about the relationship between peer victimization and onset of social anxiety in children and adolescents. Methods: A selective review of literature published between 2011 and 2018 on Social Anxiety Disorder in children and adolescents that experienced peer victimization during childhood and adolescence. Results: Seventeen studies are included. All studies showed that peer victimization is positively correlated to the presence of social anxiety. Moreover, the perpetration of peer victimization may contribute to the maintenance and the exacerbation of social anxiety symptoms. Conclusions: In children and adolescents with Social Anxiety Disorder, it is necessary to evaluate firstly the presence of peer victimization experiences. Subsequently, therapeutics programs targeted to elaborate these experiences and to reduce the anticipatory anxiety and the avoidance that characterized these children and adolescents can be proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Collection on Developmental Neuroscience)
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Open AccessReview
Major Depressive Disorder Is Associated with Impaired Interoceptive Accuracy: A Systematic Review
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060131
Received: 11 April 2019 / Revised: 30 May 2019 / Accepted: 1 June 2019 / Published: 6 June 2019
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Abstract
Interoception is the sense of the physiological condition of the entire body. Impaired interoception has been associated with aberrant activity of the insula in major depressive disorder (MDD) during heartbeat perception tasks. Despite clinical relevance, studies investigating interoceptive impairments in MDD have never [...] Read more.
Interoception is the sense of the physiological condition of the entire body. Impaired interoception has been associated with aberrant activity of the insula in major depressive disorder (MDD) during heartbeat perception tasks. Despite clinical relevance, studies investigating interoceptive impairments in MDD have never been reviewed systematically according to the guidelines of the PRISMA protocol, and therefore we collated studies that assessed accuracy in detecting heartbeat sensations (interoceptive accuracy, IAc) in MDD (databases: PubMed/Medline, PsycINFO, and PsycARTICLES). Out of 389 records, six studies met the inclusion criteria. The main findings suggest that (i) moderately depressed samples exhibit the largest interoceptive deficits as compared with healthy adults. (ii) difficulties in decision making and low affect intensity are correlated with low IAc, and (iii) IAc seems to normalize in severely depressed subjects. These associations may be confounded by sex, anxiety or panic disorder, and intake of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Our findings have implications for the development of interoceptive treatments that might relieve MDD-related symptoms or prevent relapse in recurrent depression by targeting the interoceptive nervous system. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Collection on Clinical Neuroscience)
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Open AccessHypothesis
Four Social Brain Regions, Their Dysfunctions, and Sequelae, Extensively Explain Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptomatology
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060130
Received: 26 April 2019 / Revised: 31 May 2019 / Accepted: 3 June 2019 / Published: 4 June 2019
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Abstract
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a challenging neurodevelopmental disorder with symptoms in social, language, sensory, motor, cognitive, emotional, repetitive behavior, and self-sufficient living domains. The important research question examined is the elucidation of the pathogenic neurocircuitry that underlies ASD symptomatology in all its [...] Read more.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a challenging neurodevelopmental disorder with symptoms in social, language, sensory, motor, cognitive, emotional, repetitive behavior, and self-sufficient living domains. The important research question examined is the elucidation of the pathogenic neurocircuitry that underlies ASD symptomatology in all its richness and heterogeneity. The presented model builds on earlier social brain research, and hypothesizes that four social brain regions largely drive ASD symptomatology: amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), temporoparietal cortex (TPC), and insula. The amygdala’s contributions to ASD largely derive from its major involvement in fine-grained intangible knowledge representations and high-level guidance of gaze. In addition, disrupted brain regions can drive disturbance of strongly interconnected brain regions to produce further symptoms. These and related effects are proposed to underlie abnormalities of the visual cortex, inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), caudate nucleus, and hippocampus as well as associated symptoms. The model is supported by neuroimaging, neuropsychological, neuroanatomical, cellular, physiological, and behavioral evidence. Collectively, the model proposes a novel, parsimonious, and empirically testable account of the pathogenic neurocircuitry of ASD, an extensive account of its symptomatology, a novel physiological biomarker with potential for earlier diagnosis, and novel experiments to further elucidate the mechanisms of brain abnormalities and symptomatology in ASD. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Focus on the Functions of Area 25
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060129
Received: 18 March 2019 / Revised: 24 May 2019 / Accepted: 29 May 2019 / Published: 3 June 2019
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Abstract
Subcallosal area 25 is one of the least understood regions of the anterior cingulate cortex, but activity in this area is emerging as a crucial correlate of mood and affective disorder symptomatology. The cortical and subcortical connectivity of area 25 suggests it may [...] Read more.
Subcallosal area 25 is one of the least understood regions of the anterior cingulate cortex, but activity in this area is emerging as a crucial correlate of mood and affective disorder symptomatology. The cortical and subcortical connectivity of area 25 suggests it may act as an interface between the bioregulatory and emotional states that are aberrant in disorders such as depression. However, evidence for such a role is limited because of uncertainty over the functional homologue of area 25 in rodents, which hinders cross-species translation. This emphasizes the need for causal manipulations in monkeys in which area 25, and the prefrontal and cingulate regions in which it is embedded, resemble those of humans more than rodents. In this review, we consider physiological and behavioral evidence from non-pathological and pathological studies in humans and from manipulations of area 25 in monkeys and its putative homologue, the infralimbic cortex (IL), in rodents. We highlight the similarities between area 25 function in monkeys and IL function in rodents with respect to the regulation of reward-driven responses, but also the apparent inconsistencies in the regulation of threat responses, not only between the rodent and monkey literatures, but also within the rodent literature. Overall, we provide evidence for a causal role of area 25 in both the enhanced negative affect and decreased positive affect that is characteristic of affective disorders, and the cardiovascular and endocrine perturbations that accompany these mood changes. We end with a brief consideration of how future studies should be tailored to best translate these findings into the clinic. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Relationship between Adult Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Criminogenic Cognitions
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060128
Received: 16 February 2019 / Revised: 8 May 2019 / Accepted: 29 May 2019 / Published: 2 June 2019
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Abstract
The relationship between ADHD—in particular hyperactivity—and criminal behavior is well documented. The current study investigated the role of criminogenic cognitions in the explanation of this relationship by examining which symptoms of ADHD are associated with criminogenic cognitions. Community-recruited adults (N = 192) [...] Read more.
The relationship between ADHD—in particular hyperactivity—and criminal behavior is well documented. The current study investigated the role of criminogenic cognitions in the explanation of this relationship by examining which symptoms of ADHD are associated with criminogenic cognitions. Community-recruited adults (N = 192) completed self-report questionnaires for symptoms of ADHD and criminogenic cognitions. Symptoms of inattention were consistently and strongly related to criminogenic cognitions. In particular, inattention was significantly related to cutoff, cognitive indolence, and discontinuity. There was also evidence that impulsivity was positively related to criminogenic cognitions, and specifically, to the power orientation subscale. In contrast, and contrary to expectations, symptoms of hyperactivity were not related to criminogenic cognitions. These results indicate that in community-recruited adults, inattention rather than hyperactivity is related to criminogenic cognitions. We discuss the implications of these findings contrasting with those of previous studies that used forensic and clinical samples. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Self-Paced Online vs. Cue-Based Offline Brain–Computer Interfaces for Inducing Neural Plasticity
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060127
Received: 8 April 2019 / Revised: 23 May 2019 / Accepted: 28 May 2019 / Published: 1 June 2019
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Abstract
Brain–computer interfaces (BCIs), operated in a cue-based (offline) or self-paced (online) mode, can be used for inducing cortical plasticity for stroke rehabilitation by the pairing of movement-related brain activity with peripheral electrical stimulation. The aim of this study was to compare the difference [...] Read more.
Brain–computer interfaces (BCIs), operated in a cue-based (offline) or self-paced (online) mode, can be used for inducing cortical plasticity for stroke rehabilitation by the pairing of movement-related brain activity with peripheral electrical stimulation. The aim of this study was to compare the difference in cortical plasticity induced by the two BCI modes. Fifteen healthy participants participated in two experimental sessions: cue-based BCI and self-paced BCI. In both sessions, imagined dorsiflexions were extracted from continuous electroencephalogram (EEG) and paired 50 times with the electrical stimulation of the common peroneal nerve. Before, immediately after, and 30 min after each intervention, the cortical excitability was measured through the motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) of tibialis anterior elicited through transcranial magnetic stimulation. Linear mixed regression models showed that the MEP amplitudes increased significantly (p < 0.05) from pre- to post- and 30-min post-intervention in terms of both the absolute and relative units, regardless of the intervention type. Compared to pre-interventions, the absolute MEP size increased by 79% in post- and 68% in 30-min post-intervention in the self-paced mode (with a true positive rate of ~75%), and by 37% in post- and 55% in 30-min post-intervention in the cue-based mode. The two modes were significantly different (p = 0.03) at post-intervention (relative units) but were similar at both post timepoints (absolute units). These findings suggest that immediate changes in cortical excitability may have implications for stroke rehabilitation, where it could be used as a priming protocol in conjunction with another intervention; however, the findings need to be validated in studies involving stroke patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Collection on Neural Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Testing for Nonselective Bilingual Lexical Access Using L1 Attrited Bilinguals
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060126
Received: 5 April 2019 / Revised: 12 May 2019 / Accepted: 27 May 2019 / Published: 1 June 2019
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Abstract
Research in the past few decades generally supported a nonselective view of bilingual lexical access, where a bilingual’s two languages are both active during monolingual processing. However, recent work by Costa et al. (2017) brought this into question by reinterpreting evidence for nonselectivity [...] Read more.
Research in the past few decades generally supported a nonselective view of bilingual lexical access, where a bilingual’s two languages are both active during monolingual processing. However, recent work by Costa et al. (2017) brought this into question by reinterpreting evidence for nonselectivity in a selective manner. We manipulated the factor of first language (L1) attrition in an event-related potential (ERP) experiment to disentangle Costa and colleagues’ selective processing proposal versus the traditional nonselective processing view of bilingual lexical access. Spanish–English bilinguals demonstrated an N400 effect of L1 attrition during implicit L1 processing in a second language (L2) semantic judgment task, indicating the contribution of variable L1 lexical access during L2 processing. These results are incompatible with Costa and colleagues’ selective model, adding to the literature supporting a nonselective view of bilingual lexical access. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive Neuroscience of Cross-Language Interaction in Bilinguals)
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Open AccessCase Report
Self Manipulated Cervical Spine Leads to Posterior Disc Herniation and Spinal Stenosis
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060125
Received: 29 April 2019 / Revised: 24 May 2019 / Accepted: 27 May 2019 / Published: 29 May 2019
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Abstract
The authors report a case in which a 38-year-old male who presented himself to the emergency department with a chief complaint of cervical neck pain and paresthesia radiating from the right pectoral region down his distal right arm following self-manipulation of the patient’s [...] Read more.
The authors report a case in which a 38-year-old male who presented himself to the emergency department with a chief complaint of cervical neck pain and paresthesia radiating from the right pectoral region down his distal right arm following self-manipulation of the patient’s own cervical vertebrae. Initial emergency department imaging via cervical x-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) without contrast revealed no cervical fractures; however, there was evidence of an acute cervical disc herniation (C3–C7) with severe herniation and spinal stenosis located at C5–C6. Immediate discectomy at C5–C6 and anterior arthrodesis was conducted in order to decompress the cervical spinal cord. Acute traumatic cervical disc herniation is rare in comparison to disc herniation due to the chronic degradation of the posterior annulus fibrosus and nucleus pulposus. Traumatic cervical hernias usually arise due to a very large external force causing hyperflexion or hyperextension of the cervical vertebrae. However, there have been reports of cervical injury arising from cervical spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) where a licensed professional applies a rotary force component. This can be concerning, considering that 12 million Americans receive SMT annually (Powell, F.C.; Hanigan, W.C.; Olivero, W.C. A risk/benefit analysis of spinal manipulation therapy for relief of lumbar or cervical pain. Neurosurgery 1993, 33, 73–79.). This case study involved an individual who was able to apply enough rotary force to his own cervical vertebrae, causing severe neurological damage requiring surgical intervention. Individuals with neck pain should be advised of the complications of SMT, and provided with alternative treatment methods, especially if one is willing to self manipulate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Surgery for Spine Disease and Intractable Pain)
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Open AccessArticle
Cellular Changes in Injured Rat Spinal Cord Following Electrical Brainstem Stimulation
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060124
Received: 6 May 2019 / Revised: 23 May 2019 / Accepted: 27 May 2019 / Published: 28 May 2019
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Abstract
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a major cause of disability and pain, but little progress has been made in its clinical management. Low-frequency electrical stimulation (LFS) of various anti-nociceptive targets improves outcomes after SCI, including motor recovery and mechanical allodynia. However, the mechanisms [...] Read more.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a major cause of disability and pain, but little progress has been made in its clinical management. Low-frequency electrical stimulation (LFS) of various anti-nociceptive targets improves outcomes after SCI, including motor recovery and mechanical allodynia. However, the mechanisms of these beneficial effects are incompletely delineated and probably multiple. Our aim was to explore near-term effects of LFS in the hindbrain’s nucleus raphe magnus (NRM) on cellular proliferation in a rat SCI model. Starting 24 h after incomplete contusional SCI at C5, intermittent LFS at 8 Hz was delivered wirelessly to NRM. Controls were given inactive stimulators. At 48 h, 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) was administered and, at 72 h, spinal cords were extracted and immunostained for various immune and neuroglial progenitor markers and BrdU at the level of the lesion and proximally and distally. LFS altered cell marker counts predominantly at the dorsal injury site. BrdU cell counts were decreased. Individually and in combination with BrdU, there were reductions in CD68 (monocytes) and Sox2 (immature neural precursors) and increases in Blbp (radial glia) expression. CD68-positive cells showed increased co-staining with iNOS. No differences in the expression of GFAP (glia) and NG2 (oligodendrocytes) or in GFAP cell morphology were found. In conclusion, our work shows that LFS of NRM in subacute SCI influences the proliferation of cell types implicated in inflammation and repair, thus providing mechanistic insight into deep brain stimulation as a neuromodulatory treatment for this devastating pathology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Surgery for Spine Disease and Intractable Pain)
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