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NeuroSci, Volume 2, Issue 2 (June 2021) – 10 articles

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11 pages, 391 KiB  
Article
A Dual Mind Approach to Understanding the Conscious Self and Its Treatment
by Fredric Schiffer
NeuroSci 2021, 2(2), 224-234; https://doi.org/10.3390/neurosci2020016 - 09 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3418
Abstract
In this paper I will address questions about will, agency, choice, consciousness, relevant brain regions, impacts of disorders, and their therapeutics, and I will do this by referring to my theory, Dual-brain Psychology, which posits that within most of us there exist two [...] Read more.
In this paper I will address questions about will, agency, choice, consciousness, relevant brain regions, impacts of disorders, and their therapeutics, and I will do this by referring to my theory, Dual-brain Psychology, which posits that within most of us there exist two mental agencies with different experiences, wills, choices, and behaviors. Each of these agencies is associated as a trait with one brain hemisphere (either left or right) and its composite regions. One of these agencies is more adversely affected by past traumas, and is more immature and more symptomatic, while the other is more mature and healthier. The theory has extensive experimental support through 17 peer-reviewed publications with clinical and non-clinical research. I will discuss how this theory relates to the questions about the nature of agency and I will also discuss my published theory on the physical nature of subjective experience and its relation to the brain, and how that theory interacts with Dual-Brain Psychology, leading to further insights into our human nature and its betterment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Neuroanatomy of Consciousness and the Will)
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17 pages, 1942 KiB  
Article
Chanwuyi Lifestyle Medicine Program Alleviates Immunological Deviation and Improves Behaviors in Autism
by Agnes S. Chan, Yvonne M. Y. Han, Sophia L. Sze, Chun-kwok Wong, Ida M. T. Chu and Mei-chun Cheung
NeuroSci 2021, 2(2), 207-223; https://doi.org/10.3390/neurosci2020015 - 07 Jun 2021
Viewed by 3221
Abstract
Given the association between deviated inflammatory chemokines, the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and our previous findings of the Chanwuyi Lifestyle Medicine Program regarding improved cognitive and behavioral problems in ASD, the present study aims to explore if this intervention can alter [...] Read more.
Given the association between deviated inflammatory chemokines, the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and our previous findings of the Chanwuyi Lifestyle Medicine Program regarding improved cognitive and behavioral problems in ASD, the present study aims to explore if this intervention can alter pro-inflammatory chemokines concentration. Thirty-two boys with ASD were assigned to the experimental group receiving the Chanwuyi Lifestyle Medicine Program for 7 months or the control group without a change in their lifestyle. The experimental group, but not the control group, demonstrated significantly reduced CCL2 and CXCL8, a trend of reduction in CCL5, and elevation of CXCL9. The experimental group also demonstrated significantly reduced social communication problems, repetitive/stereotypic behaviors, and hyperactive behaviors. The present findings support the potential efficacy and applicability of the Chanwuyi Lifestyle Medicine Program for reducing both behavioral problems and immunological dysfunction in ASD. Further studies are warranted to verify its treatment effect and its association with brain functions. Full article
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14 pages, 8658 KiB  
Article
Knockout or Knock-in? A Truncated D2 Receptor Protein Is Expressed in the Brain of Functional D2 Receptor Knockout Mice
by Natalia Sánchez, Montserrat Olivares-Costa, Marcela P González, Roberto Munita, Angélica P Escobar, Rodrigo Meza, Mauricio Herrera-Rojas, Jessica Albornoz, Gianluca Merello and María E Andrés
NeuroSci 2021, 2(2), 193-206; https://doi.org/10.3390/neurosci2020014 - 01 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3241
Abstract
Null mice for the dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) have been instrumental in understanding the function of this protein. For our research, we obtained the functional D2R knockout mouse strain described initially in 1997. Surprisingly, our biochemical characterization showed that this mouse strain is [...] Read more.
Null mice for the dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) have been instrumental in understanding the function of this protein. For our research, we obtained the functional D2R knockout mouse strain described initially in 1997. Surprisingly, our biochemical characterization showed that this mouse strain is not a true knockout. We determined by sequence analysis of the rapid 3′ amplification of cDNA ends that functional D2R knockout mice express transcripts that lack only the eighth exon. Furthermore, immunofluorescence assays showed a D2R-like protein in the brain of functional D2R knockout mice. We verified by immunofluorescence that the recombinant truncated D2R is expressed in HEK293T cells, showing intracellular localization, colocalizing in the Golgi apparatus and the endoplasmic reticulum, but with less presence in the Golgi apparatus compared to the native D2R. As previously reported, functional D2R knockout mice are hypoactive and insensitive to the D2R agonist quinpirole. Concordantly, microdialysis studies confirmed that functional D2R knockout mice have lower extracellular dopamine levels in the striatum than the native mice. In conclusion, functional D2R knockout mice express transcripts that lead to a truncated D2R protein lacking from the sixth transmembrane domain to the C-terminus. We share these findings to avoid future confusion and the community considers this mouse strain in D2R traffic and protein–protein interaction studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Neurosci 2021)
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16 pages, 1299 KiB  
Perspective
Nothing in Cognitive Neuroscience Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution
by Oscar Vilarroya
NeuroSci 2021, 2(2), 177-192; https://doi.org/10.3390/neurosci2020013 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3670
Abstract
Evolutionary theory should be a fundamental guide for neuroscientists. This would seem a trivial statement, but I believe that taking it seriously is more complicated than it appears to be, as I argue in this article. Elsewhere, I proposed the notion of “bounded [...] Read more.
Evolutionary theory should be a fundamental guide for neuroscientists. This would seem a trivial statement, but I believe that taking it seriously is more complicated than it appears to be, as I argue in this article. Elsewhere, I proposed the notion of “bounded functionality” As a way to describe the constraints that should be considered when trying to understand the evolution of the brain. There are two bounded-functionality constraints that are essential to any evolution-minded approach to cognitive neuroscience. The first constraint, the bricoleur constraint, describes the evolutionary pressure for any adaptive solution to re-use any relevant resources available to the system before the selection situation appeared. The second constraint, the satisficing constraint, describes the fact that a trait only needs to behave more advantageously than its competitors in order to be selected. In this paper I describe how bounded-functionality can inform an evolutionary-minded approach to cognitive neuroscience. In order to do so, I resort to Nikolaas Tinbergen’s four questions about how to understand behavior, namely: function, causation, development and evolution. The bottom line of assuming Tinbergen’s questions is that any approach to cognitive neuroscience is intrinsically tentative, slow, and messy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Neuroanatomy of Consciousness and the Will)
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11 pages, 2779 KiB  
Article
Alcohol Consumption during Adulthood Does Not Impair Later Go/No-Go Reversal Learning in Male Rats
by Charles L. Pickens, Mark Gallo, Hayley Fisher, Alisa Pajser and Madelyn H. Ray
NeuroSci 2021, 2(2), 166-176; https://doi.org/10.3390/neurosci2020012 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 2735
Abstract
Reversal learning tasks are used to model flexible decision-making in laboratory animals, and exposure to drugs of abuse can cause long-term impairments in reversal learning. However, the long-term effects of alcohol on reversal learning have varied. We evaluated whether six weeks of voluntary [...] Read more.
Reversal learning tasks are used to model flexible decision-making in laboratory animals, and exposure to drugs of abuse can cause long-term impairments in reversal learning. However, the long-term effects of alcohol on reversal learning have varied. We evaluated whether six weeks of voluntary alcohol consumption through chronic intermittent alcohol access (elevated by food restriction) in adult male rats would impair rats in a go/no-go reversal learning task when tested at an interval beyond acute withdrawal. In our go/no-go task, rats were reinforced for pressing one lever or withholding from pressing another lever, and the identities of the two levers were switched twice (once rats reached an accuracy criterion). We found no evidence that prior alcohol consumption altered discrimination or reversal learning in our task. This replicates previous patterns from our laboratory that higher alcohol consumption in food-restricted rats did not impair discrimination or reversal learning in a different go/no-go task and that alcohol consumption in free-fed adolescent/early adult rats did not impair go/no-go discrimination or reversal learning in the same task. It is unclear whether this represents an insensitivity of this task to alcohol exposure generally or whether an alcohol exposure procedure that leads to higher blood ethanol concentration (BEC) levels would impair learning. More research is needed to investigate these possibilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Neurosci 2021)
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15 pages, 986 KiB  
Review
A Critical Review of the Deviance Detection Theory of Mismatch Negativity
by Jamie A. O’Reilly and Amonrat O’Reilly
NeuroSci 2021, 2(2), 151-165; https://doi.org/10.3390/neurosci2020011 - 11 May 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3562
Abstract
Mismatch negativity (MMN) is a component of the difference waveform derived from passive auditory oddball stimulation. Since its inception in 1978, this has become one of the most popular event-related potential techniques, with over two-thousand published studies using this method. This is a [...] Read more.
Mismatch negativity (MMN) is a component of the difference waveform derived from passive auditory oddball stimulation. Since its inception in 1978, this has become one of the most popular event-related potential techniques, with over two-thousand published studies using this method. This is a testament to the ingenuity and commitment of generations of researchers engaging in basic, clinical and animal research. Despite this intensive effort, high-level descriptions of the mechanisms theorized to underpin mismatch negativity have scarcely changed over the past four decades. The prevailing deviance detection theory posits that MMN reflects inattentive detection of difference between repetitive standard and infrequent deviant stimuli due to a mismatch between the unexpected deviant and a memory representation of the standard. Evidence for these mechanisms is inconclusive, and a plausible alternative sensory processing theory considers fundamental principles of sensory neurophysiology to be the primary source of differences between standard and deviant responses evoked during passive oddball stimulation. By frequently being restated without appropriate methods to exclude alternatives, the potentially flawed deviance detection theory has remained largely dominant, which could lead some researchers and clinicians to assume its veracity implicitly. It is important to have a more comprehensive understanding of the source(s) of MMN generation before its widespread application as a clinical biomarker. This review evaluates issues of validity concerning the prevailing theoretical account of mismatch negativity and the passive auditory oddball paradigm, highlighting several limitations regarding its interpretation and clinical application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Neurosci 2021)
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10 pages, 1116 KiB  
Review
Cognition as a Mechanical Process
by Robert Friedman
NeuroSci 2021, 2(2), 141-150; https://doi.org/10.3390/neurosci2020010 - 22 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2876
Abstract
Cognition is often defined as a dual process of physical and non-physical mechanisms. This duality originated from past theory on the constituent parts of the natural world. Even though material causation is not an explanation for all natural processes, phenomena at the cellular [...] Read more.
Cognition is often defined as a dual process of physical and non-physical mechanisms. This duality originated from past theory on the constituent parts of the natural world. Even though material causation is not an explanation for all natural processes, phenomena at the cellular level of life are modeled by physical causes. These phenomena include explanations for the function of organ systems, including the nervous system and information processing in the cerebrum. This review restricts the definition of cognition to a mechanistic process and enlists studies that support an abstract set of proximate mechanisms. Specifically, this process is approached from a large-scale perspective, the flow of information in a neural system. Study at this scale further constrains the possible explanations for cognition since the information flow is amenable to theory, unlike a lower-level approach where the problem becomes intractable. These possible hypotheses include stochastic processes for explaining the processes of cognition along with principles that support an abstract format for the encoded information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Neurons – Structure & Function)
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6 pages, 653 KiB  
Case Report
Botulinum Toxin Treatment for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Induced by Subclavius Muscle Hypertrophy
by Francesco Cavallieri, Stefano Galletti, Valentina Fioravanti, Elisa Menozzi, Sara Contardi and Franco Valzania
NeuroSci 2021, 2(2), 135-140; https://doi.org/10.3390/neurosci2020009 - 22 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 6128
Abstract
Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is frequently caused by bone abnormalities and congenital or acquired soft-tissue alterations. Among these, isolated Subclavius Muscle (SM) hypertrophy represents a rare condition that could lead to a reduction in costoclavicular space and brachial plexus compression. A 47-year-old forest [...] Read more.
Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is frequently caused by bone abnormalities and congenital or acquired soft-tissue alterations. Among these, isolated Subclavius Muscle (SM) hypertrophy represents a rare condition that could lead to a reduction in costoclavicular space and brachial plexus compression. A 47-year-old forest ranger with a history of gun shooting during animal hunting and training sessions of skeet shooting for 20 years developed TOS due to ultrasonography-detected isolated SM hypertrophy, successfully treated with an ultrasound-guided Botulinum Toxin (BTX)-A injection. In our patient, ultrasonography of the brachial plexus has allowed SM hypertrophy to be recognized and to perform BTX-A injection just in the muscle, with a complete resolution of the symptoms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Neurosci 2021)
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15 pages, 1160 KiB  
Perspective
Pathophysiological Correlation between Cigarette Smoking and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
by Spiro Menounos, Philip M. Hansbro, Ashish D. Diwan and Abhirup Das
NeuroSci 2021, 2(2), 120-134; https://doi.org/10.3390/neurosci2020008 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3893
Abstract
Cigarette smoke (CS) has been consistently demonstrated to be an environmental risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), although the molecular pathogenic mechanisms involved are yet to be elucidated. Here, we propose different mechanisms by which CS exposure can cause sporadic ALS pathogenesis. [...] Read more.
Cigarette smoke (CS) has been consistently demonstrated to be an environmental risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), although the molecular pathogenic mechanisms involved are yet to be elucidated. Here, we propose different mechanisms by which CS exposure can cause sporadic ALS pathogenesis. Oxidative stress and neuroinflammation are widely implicated in ALS pathogenesis, with blood–spinal cord barrier disruption also recognised to be involved in the disease process. In addition, immunometabolic, epigenetic and microbiome alterations have been implicated in ALS recently. Identification of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms that underpin CS-associated ALS will drive future research to be conducted into new targets for treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Neurosci 2021)
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11 pages, 2609 KiB  
Article
A Pilot Study of Game Design in the Unity Environment as an Example of the Use of Neurogaming on the Basis of Brain–Computer Interface Technology to Improve Concentration
by Szczepan Paszkiel, Ryszard Rojek, Ningrong Lei and Maria António Castro
NeuroSci 2021, 2(2), 109-119; https://doi.org/10.3390/neurosci2020007 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3985
Abstract
The article describes the practical use of Unity technology in neurogaming. For this purpose, the article describes Unity technology and brain–computer interface (BCI) technology based on the Emotiv EPOC + NeuroHeadset device. The process of creating the game world and the test results [...] Read more.
The article describes the practical use of Unity technology in neurogaming. For this purpose, the article describes Unity technology and brain–computer interface (BCI) technology based on the Emotiv EPOC + NeuroHeadset device. The process of creating the game world and the test results for the use of a device based on the BCI as a control interface for the created game are also presented. The game was created in the Unity graphics engine and the Visual Studio environment in C#. The game presented in the article is called “NeuroBall” due to the player’s object, which is a big red ball. The game will require full focus to make the ball move. The game will aim to improve the concentration and training of the user’s brain in a user-friendly environment. Through neurogaming, it will be possible to exercise and train a healthy brain, as well as diagnose and treat various symptoms of brain disorders. The project was entirely created in the Unity graphics engine in Unity version 2020.1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain – Computer Interfaces: Challenges and Applications)
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