A Decade of Brain Sciences

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (2 December 2020) | Viewed by 106497

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
Interests: neurotransmitter release; calcium channels; presynaptic mechanisms
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are planning a Special Issue "A Decade of Brain Sciences", which was inspired as part of the decennial celebrations for the journal Brain Sciences (see details of the journal below). The purpose of this Issue is to reflect on the past decade's progress in neuroscience research, and to identify emerging issues to address over the coming decade.

In this Special Issue, we aim to encourage contributions from leaders in the field (including Editorial Board Members) who can contribute reviews within their area of neuroscience expertise. Our hope is to create a Special Issue that will highlight important and emerging topics that are in line with the aim and scope of Brain Sciences.

Dr. Stephen D. Meriney
Editor-in-Chief, Brain Sciences

Professor, Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA

Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425; CODEN: BSRCCS) is an international peer-reviewed open-access journal on neuroscience published monthly online by MDPI. We publish a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes original articles, critical reviews, research notes, and short communications in the areas of cognitive neuroscience, developmental neuroscience, molecular and cellular neuroscience, neural engineering, neuroimaging, neurolinguistics, clinical neuroscience, systems neuroscience, and theoretical and computational neuroscience.

  • Impact Factor: 3.332 (2019)
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  • CiteScore (2019 Scopus data): 3.3, which equals the rank 70/113 (Q3) in 'General Neuroscience'.
  • Rapid Publication: manuscripts are peer-reviewed and a first decision provided to authors approximately 18.9 days after submission; acceptance to publication is undertaken in 1.9 days (median values for papers published in this journal in the second half of 2019).

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Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Brain Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 2486 KiB  
Article
Presence of the Endocannabinoid System in the Inferior Pulvinar of the Vervet Monkey
by Catarina Micaelo-Fernandes, Joseph Bouskila, Jean-François Bouchard and Maurice Ptito
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(6), 770; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11060770 - 10 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3255
Abstract
The expression of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system, including cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R) and the cannabinoid synthesizing (NAPE-PLD) and degrading (FAAH) enzymes, has been well-characterized in the retina of rodents and monkeys. More recently, the presence of CB1R was localized throughout the dorsal [...] Read more.
The expression of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system, including cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R) and the cannabinoid synthesizing (NAPE-PLD) and degrading (FAAH) enzymes, has been well-characterized in the retina of rodents and monkeys. More recently, the presence of CB1R was localized throughout the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus of vervet monkeys. Given that the retina projects also to the pulvinar either via a direct projection or via the superior colliculus, it was reasonable to assume that this system would be present therein. The visual pulvinar, namely the inferior pulvinar (PI) region, was delineated with calbindin immunohistochemical staining. Using Western blots and immunofluorescence, we demonstrated that CB1R, NAPE-PLD and FAAH are expressed in the PI of the vervet monkey. Throughout the PI, CB1R was mainly colocalized with VGLUT2-positive axon terminals in the vicinity of calbindin and parvalbumin-positive neurons. NAPE-PLD and FAAH rather colocalized with calbindin over the somatodendritic compartment of PI neurons. Our results suggest that visual information coming from the retina and entering the PI is modulated by the eCB system on its way to the dorsal visual stream. These results provide insights for understanding the role of eCBs in the modulation of visual thalamic inputs and, hence, visual perception. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
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12 pages, 1845 KiB  
Article
Anti-Cholinesterase Combination Drug Therapy as a Potential Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease
by Hafsa Amat-ur-Rasool, Mehboob Ahmed, Shahida Hasnain and Wayne G. Carter
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020184 - 2 Feb 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3685
Abstract
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a burgeoning social and healthcare problem. Cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEIs) are employed for symptomatic treatment of AD, but often elicit adverse drug reactions (ADRs). Herein, the potency of the ChEIs, donepezil, tacrine, berberine, and galantamine to inhibit human or Torpedo [...] Read more.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a burgeoning social and healthcare problem. Cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEIs) are employed for symptomatic treatment of AD, but often elicit adverse drug reactions (ADRs). Herein, the potency of the ChEIs, donepezil, tacrine, berberine, and galantamine to inhibit human or Torpedo californica acetylcholinesterase (tcAChE) proteins were evaluated. The efficacy of dual-drug combinations to inhibit human AChE directly and within differentiated neurons was also quantified. ChEI potency was in the order: donepezil > tacrine > berberine > galantamine for both AChEs. Dual-drug combinations of berberine and tacrine (BerTac), berberine and galantamine (BerGal), and tacrine and donepezil (TacDon) all produced synergistic outcomes for AChE inhibition. Donepezil and berberine (DonBer) and tacrine and galantamine (TacGal) elicited antagonistic responses. Donepezil and galantamine (DonGal) was synergistic for human AChE but antagonistic for tcAChE. After application of dual-drug combinations to neuronal cells, BerTac, BerGal, DonGal, and DonBer all showed synergistic inhibition of AChE, TacDon additive, and TacGal antagonistic effects. BerGal produced the most potent synergism and reduced total drug dose by 72%. Individual ChEIs or dual-drug combinations were relatively non-toxic to neuronal cells, and only reduced cell viability at concentrations two–three orders of magnitude greater than that required to inhibit AChE. In summary, dual-drug combinations of ChEIs potentially represent a novel means of AD patient treatment, with reduced and more cost-effective drug dosing, and lowered likelihood of ADRs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
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11 pages, 1201 KiB  
Article
Effects of Lifelong Musicianship on White Matter Integrity and Cognitive Brain Reserve
by Edna Andrews, Cyrus Eierud, David Banks, Todd Harshbarger, Andrew Michael and Charlotte Rammell
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(1), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11010067 - 6 Jan 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 8213
Abstract
There is a significant body of research that has identified specific, high-end cognitive demand activities and lifestyles that may play a role in building cognitive brain reserve, including volume changes in gray matter and white matter, increased structural connectivity, and enhanced categorical perception. [...] Read more.
There is a significant body of research that has identified specific, high-end cognitive demand activities and lifestyles that may play a role in building cognitive brain reserve, including volume changes in gray matter and white matter, increased structural connectivity, and enhanced categorical perception. While normal aging produces trends of decreasing white matter (WM) integrity, research on cognitive brain reserve suggests that complex sensory–motor activities across the life span may slow down or reverse these trends. Previous research has focused on structural and functional changes to the human brain caused by training and experience in both linguistic (especially bilingualism) and musical domains. The current research uses diffusion tensor imaging to examine the integrity of subcortical white matter fiber tracts in lifelong musicians. Our analysis, using Tortoise and ICBM-81, reveals higher fractional anisotropy, an indicator of greater WM integrity, in aging musicians in bilateral superior longitudinal fasciculi and bilateral uncinate fasciculi. Statistical methods used include Fisher’s method and linear regression analysis. Another unique aspect of this study is the accompanying behavioral performance data for each participant. This is one of the first studies to look specifically at musicianship across the life span and its impact on bilateral WM integrity in aging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
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12 pages, 247 KiB  
Communication
Religious Coping, Hopelessness, and Suicide Ideation in Subjects with First-Episode Major Depression: An Exploratory Study in the Real World Clinical Practice
by Domenico De Berardis, Luigi Olivieri, Gabriella Rapini, Nicola Serroni, Michele Fornaro, Alessandro Valchera, Alessandro Carano, Federica Vellante, Massimiliano Bustini, Gianluca Serafini, Maurizio Pompili, Antonio Ventriglio, Giampaolo Perna, Silvia Fraticelli, Giovanni Martinotti and Massimo Di Giannantonio
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(12), 912; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10120912 - 27 Nov 2020
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 5086
Abstract
Background. This study aimed to evaluate the potential relationships between religious coping, hopelessness, and suicide ideation in adult outpatients with the first episode of major depressive disorder (MDD). Methods. Ninety-four adult outpatients with MDD were assessed through the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), [...] Read more.
Background. This study aimed to evaluate the potential relationships between religious coping, hopelessness, and suicide ideation in adult outpatients with the first episode of major depressive disorder (MDD). Methods. Ninety-four adult outpatients with MDD were assessed through the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), the Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS), and the Scale of Suicide Ideation (SSI). Religious coping was assessed with the Italian version of the Brief RCOPE scale, consisting of seven positive coping items (PosCop) and seven negative coping items (NegCop). Results. The results showed that the Brief RCOPE PosCop scale exhibited a strong inverse correlation with HAM-D, BHS, and SSI, whereas HAM-D and BHS were positively correlated with SSI. Brief RCOPE NegCop scores were positively correlated only with SSI. Regression analysis with SSI as the dependent variable showed that higher Brief RCOPE PosCop scores were associated with lower suicide ideation, whereas higher HAM-D and BHS scores were associated with higher suicide ideation. Conclusion. Positive religious coping may be a protective factor against the development of suicide ideation, perhaps counteracting the severity of depressive symptoms and hopelessness. The evaluation of religious coping should be performed in all subjects with MDD in everyday clinical practice. However, this study was preliminary, and limitations must be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
12 pages, 2172 KiB  
Article
The Role of the T2–FLAIR Mismatch Sign as an Imaging Marker of IDH Status in a Mixed Population of Low- and High-Grade Gliomas
by Eftychia Z. Kapsalaki, Alexandros G. Brotis, Alexandra Tsikrika, Christos Tzerefos, Thanos Paschalis, Efthymios Dardiotis and Konstantinos N. Fountas
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(11), 874; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10110874 - 19 Nov 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2924
Abstract
Our study evaluated the role of the T2–fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) mismatch sign in detecting isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutations based on a mixed sample of 24 patients with low- and high- grade gliomas. The association between the two was realized using univariate and [...] Read more.
Our study evaluated the role of the T2–fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) mismatch sign in detecting isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutations based on a mixed sample of 24 patients with low- and high- grade gliomas. The association between the two was realized using univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis. There was a substantial agreement between the two raters for the detection of the T2–FLAIR mismatch sign (Cohen’s kappa coefficient was 0.647). The T2–FLAIR mismatch sign when co-registered with the degree of tumor homogeneity were significant predictors of the IDH status (OR 29.642; 95% CI 1.73–509.15, p = 0.019). The probability of being IDH mutant in the presence of T2–FLAIR mismatch sign was as high as 92.9% (95% CI 63–99%). The sensitivity and specificity of T2–FLAIR mismatch sign in the detection of the IDH mutation was 88.9% and 86.7%, respectively. The T2–FLAIR mismatch sign may be an easy to use and helpful tool in recognizing IDH mutant patients, particularly if formal IDH testing is not available. We suggest that the adoption of a protocol based on imaging and histological data for optimal glioma characterization could be very helpful. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
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14 pages, 2316 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Sex on Changes in Plasma Corticosterone and Cotinine Levels Induced by Nicotine in C57BL/6J Mice
by Khoa Nguyen, Keiko Kanamori, Chang Sung Shin, Abdul Hamid and Kabirullah Lutfy
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(10), 705; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10100705 - 3 Oct 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4204
Abstract
We assessed if there were any sex-related differences in the ability of nicotine to increase plasma corticosterone secretion after single or repeated nicotine administration. For single-dose studies, male and female mice were habituated to the test room for 1 h and injected with [...] Read more.
We assessed if there were any sex-related differences in the ability of nicotine to increase plasma corticosterone secretion after single or repeated nicotine administration. For single-dose studies, male and female mice were habituated to the test room for 1 h and injected with saline or nicotine (0.25 or 1 mg/kg, subcutaneously (s.c.)). In repeated-dosing studies, mice were injected with saline or nicotine (1 mg/kg, s.c.) once daily for six days, and, on day 7, received nicotine (1 mg/kg, s.c.). Mice were then euthanized 15 min later, and trunk blood was collected for the measurement of corticosterone, nicotine, and cotinine. Our results showed that saline or nicotine each significantly increased plasma corticosterone levels in both males and females, with a greater response in female mice. Plasma corticosterone levels were increased in male but not female mice after being treated repeatedly compared to single nicotine administration. The level of cotinine, a biomarker of nicotine use, was significantly higher in female than in male mice. Taken together, these novel findings suggest that female mice respond to nicotine and the stress of handling more than male mice and provide for the first-time quantitative data on male–female differences in nicotine-induced elevations of corticosterone and cotinine plasma levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
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Review

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57 pages, 5121 KiB  
Review
Centrally Projecting Edinger-Westphal Nucleus in the Control of Sympathetic Outflow and Energy Homeostasis
by Georgina Cano, Shelby L. Hernan and Alan F. Sved
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(8), 1005; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11081005 - 29 Jul 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4021
Abstract
The centrally projecting Edinger-Westphal nucleus (EWcp) is a midbrain neuronal group, adjacent but segregated from the preganglionic Edinger-Westphal nucleus that projects to the ciliary ganglion. The EWcp plays a crucial role in stress responses and in maintaining energy homeostasis under conditions that require [...] Read more.
The centrally projecting Edinger-Westphal nucleus (EWcp) is a midbrain neuronal group, adjacent but segregated from the preganglionic Edinger-Westphal nucleus that projects to the ciliary ganglion. The EWcp plays a crucial role in stress responses and in maintaining energy homeostasis under conditions that require an adjustment of energy expenditure, by virtue of modulating heart rate and blood pressure, thermogenesis, food intake, and fat and glucose metabolism. This modulation is ultimately mediated by changes in the sympathetic outflow to several effector organs, including the adrenal gland, heart, kidneys, brown and white adipose tissues and pancreas, in response to environmental conditions and the animal’s energy state, providing for appropriate energy utilization. Classic neuroanatomical studies have shown that the EWcp receives inputs from forebrain regions involved in these functions and projects to presympathetic neuronal populations in the brainstem. Transneuronal tracing with pseudorabies virus has demonstrated that the EWcp is connected polysynaptically with central circuits that provide sympathetic innervation to all these effector organs that are critical for stress responses and energy homeostasis. We propose that EWcp integrates multimodal signals (stress, thermal, metabolic, endocrine, etc.) and modulates the sympathetic output simultaneously to multiple effector organs to maintain energy homeostasis under different conditions that require adjustments of energy demands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
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19 pages, 362 KiB  
Review
Investigation on Neurobiological Mechanisms of Dreaming in the New Decade
by Serena Scarpelli, Valentina Alfonsi, Maurizio Gorgoni, Anna Maria Giannini and Luigi De Gennaro
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020220 - 11 Feb 2021
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 6682
Abstract
Dream research has advanced significantly over the last twenty years, thanks to the new applications of neuroimaging and electrophysiological techniques. Many findings pointed out that mental activity during sleep and wakefulness shared similar neural bases. On the other side, recent studies have highlighted [...] Read more.
Dream research has advanced significantly over the last twenty years, thanks to the new applications of neuroimaging and electrophysiological techniques. Many findings pointed out that mental activity during sleep and wakefulness shared similar neural bases. On the other side, recent studies have highlighted that dream experience is promoted by significant brain activation, characterized by reduced low frequencies and increased rapid frequencies. Additionally, several studies confirmed that the posterior parietal area and prefrontal cortex are responsible for dream experience. Further, early results revealed that dreaming might be manipulated by sensory stimulations that would provoke the incorporation of specific cues into the dream scenario. Recently, transcranial stimulation techniques have been applied to modulate the level of consciousness during sleep, supporting previous findings and adding new information about neural correlates of dream recall. Overall, although multiple studies suggest that both the continuity and activation hypotheses provide a growing understanding of neural processes underlying dreaming, several issues are still unsolved. The impact of state-/trait-like variables, the influence of circadian and homeostatic factors, and the examination of parasomnia-like events to access dream contents are all opened issues deserving further deepening in future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
39 pages, 2094 KiB  
Review
In Search of a Cure: The Development of Therapeutics to Alter the Progression of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
by Kristine S. Ojala, Emily J. Reedich, Christine J. DiDonato and Stephen D. Meriney
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020194 - 5 Feb 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 9370
Abstract
Until the recent development of disease-modifying therapeutics, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) was considered a devastating neuromuscular disease with a poor prognosis for most affected individuals. Symptoms generally present during early childhood and manifest as muscle weakness and progressive paralysis, severely compromising the affected [...] Read more.
Until the recent development of disease-modifying therapeutics, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) was considered a devastating neuromuscular disease with a poor prognosis for most affected individuals. Symptoms generally present during early childhood and manifest as muscle weakness and progressive paralysis, severely compromising the affected individual’s quality of life, independence, and lifespan. SMA is most commonly caused by the inheritance of homozygously deleted SMN1 alleles with retention of one or more copies of a paralog gene, SMN2, which inversely correlates with disease severity. The recent advent and use of genetically targeted therapies have transformed SMA into a prototype for monogenic disease treatment in the era of genetic medicine. Many SMA-affected individuals receiving these therapies achieve traditionally unobtainable motor milestones and survival rates as medicines drastically alter the natural progression of this disease. This review discusses historical SMA progression and underlying disease mechanisms, highlights advances made in therapeutic research, clinical trials, and FDA-approved medicines, and discusses possible second-generation and complementary medicines as well as optimal temporal intervention windows in order to optimize motor function and improve quality of life for all SMA-affected individuals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
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37 pages, 3914 KiB  
Review
Hybrid Deep Learning (hDL)-Based Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Systems: A Systematic Review
by Nibras Abo Alzahab, Luca Apollonio, Angelo Di Iorio, Muaaz Alshalak, Sabrina Iarlori, Francesco Ferracuti, Andrea Monteriù and Camillo Porcaro
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(1), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11010075 - 8 Jan 2021
Cited by 50 | Viewed by 10565
Abstract
Background: Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) is becoming more reliable, thanks to the advantages of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Recently, hybrid Deep Learning (hDL), which combines different DL algorithms, has gained momentum over the past five years. In this work, we proposed a review on hDL-based [...] Read more.
Background: Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) is becoming more reliable, thanks to the advantages of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Recently, hybrid Deep Learning (hDL), which combines different DL algorithms, has gained momentum over the past five years. In this work, we proposed a review on hDL-based BCI starting from the seminal studies in 2015. Objectives: We have reviewed 47 papers that apply hDL to the BCI system published between 2015 and 2020 extracting trends and highlighting relevant aspects to the topic. Methods: We have queried four scientific search engines (Google Scholar, PubMed, IEEE Xplore and Elsevier Science Direct) and different data items were extracted from each paper such as the database used, kind of application, online/offline training, tasks used for the BCI, pre-processing methodology adopted, type of normalization used, which kind of features were extracted, type of DL architecture used, number of layers implemented and which optimization approach were used as well. All these items were then investigated one by one to uncover trends. Results: Our investigation reveals that Electroencephalography (EEG) has been the most used technique. Interestingly, despite the lower Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) of the EEG data that makes pre-processing of that data mandatory, we have found that the pre-processing has only been used in 21.28% of the cases by showing that hDL seems to be able to overcome this intrinsic drawback of the EEG data. Temporal-features seem to be the most effective with 93.94% accuracy, while spatial-temporal features are the most used with 33.33% of the cases investigated. The most used architecture has been Convolutional Neural Network-Recurrent Neural Network CNN-RNN with 47% of the cases. Moreover, half of the studies have used a low number of layers to achieve a good compromise between the complexity of the network and computational efficiency. Significance: To give useful information to the scientific community, we make our summary table of hDL-based BCI papers available and invite the community to published work to contribute to it directly. We have indicated a list of open challenges, emphasizing the need to use neuroimaging techniques other than EEG, such as functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), deeper investigate the advantages and disadvantages of using pre-processing and the relationship with the accuracy obtained. To implement new combinations of architectures, such as RNN-based and Deep Belief Network DBN-based, it is necessary to better explore the frequency and temporal-frequency features of the data at hand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
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41 pages, 4322 KiB  
Review
Summary of over Fifty Years with Brain-Computer Interfaces—A Review
by Aleksandra Kawala-Sterniuk, Natalia Browarska, Amir Al-Bakri, Mariusz Pelc, Jaroslaw Zygarlicki, Michaela Sidikova, Radek Martinek and Edward Jacek Gorzelanczyk
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(1), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11010043 - 3 Jan 2021
Cited by 97 | Viewed by 20314
Abstract
Over the last few decades, the Brain-Computer Interfaces have been gradually making their way to the epicenter of scientific interest. Many scientists from all around the world have contributed to the state of the art in this scientific domain by developing numerous tools [...] Read more.
Over the last few decades, the Brain-Computer Interfaces have been gradually making their way to the epicenter of scientific interest. Many scientists from all around the world have contributed to the state of the art in this scientific domain by developing numerous tools and methods for brain signal acquisition and processing. Such a spectacular progress would not be achievable without accompanying technological development to equip the researchers with the proper devices providing what is absolutely necessary for any kind of discovery as the core of every analysis: the data reflecting the brain activity. The common effort has resulted in pushing the whole domain to the point where the communication between a human being and the external world through BCI interfaces is no longer science fiction but nowadays reality. In this work we present the most relevant aspects of the BCIs and all the milestones that have been made over nearly 50-year history of this research domain. We mention people who were pioneers in this area as well as we highlight all the technological and methodological advances that have transformed something available and understandable by a very few into something that has a potential to be a breathtaking change for so many. Aiming to fully understand how the human brain works is a very ambitious goal and it will surely take time to succeed. However, even that fraction of what has already been determined is sufficient e.g., to allow impaired people to regain control on their lives and significantly improve its quality. The more is discovered in this domain, the more benefit for all of us this can potentially bring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
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22 pages, 3195 KiB  
Review
Interplay between Gating and Block of Ligand-Gated Ion Channels
by Matthew B. Phillips, Aparna Nigam and Jon W. Johnson
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(12), 928; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10120928 - 1 Dec 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 5402
Abstract
Drugs that inhibit ion channel function by binding in the channel and preventing current flow, known as channel blockers, can be used as powerful tools for analysis of channel properties. Channel blockers are used to probe both the sophisticated structure and basic biophysical [...] Read more.
Drugs that inhibit ion channel function by binding in the channel and preventing current flow, known as channel blockers, can be used as powerful tools for analysis of channel properties. Channel blockers are used to probe both the sophisticated structure and basic biophysical properties of ion channels. Gating, the mechanism that controls the opening and closing of ion channels, can be profoundly influenced by channel blocking drugs. Channel block and gating are reciprocally connected; gating controls access of channel blockers to their binding sites, and channel-blocking drugs can have profound and diverse effects on the rates of gating transitions and on the stability of channel open and closed states. This review synthesizes knowledge of the inherent intertwining of block and gating of excitatory ligand-gated ion channels, with a focus on the utility of channel blockers as analytic probes of ionotropic glutamate receptor channel function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
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22 pages, 730 KiB  
Review
Extended Reality for the Clinical, Affective, and Social Neurosciences
by Thomas D. Parsons, Andrea Gaggioli and Giuseppe Riva
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(12), 922; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10120922 - 30 Nov 2020
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 4497
Abstract
Brain science research often involves the use of low-dimensional tools and stimuli that lack several of the potentially valuable features of everyday activities and interactions. Although this research has provided important information about cognitive, affective, and social processes for both clinical and nonclinical [...] Read more.
Brain science research often involves the use of low-dimensional tools and stimuli that lack several of the potentially valuable features of everyday activities and interactions. Although this research has provided important information about cognitive, affective, and social processes for both clinical and nonclinical populations, there is growing interest in high-dimensional simulations that extend reality. These high-dimensional simulations involve dynamic stimuli presented serially or concurrently to permit the assessment and training of perceivers’ integrative processes over time. Moreover, high-dimensional simulation platforms can contextually restrain interpretations of cues about a target’s internal states. Extended reality environments extend assessment and training platforms that balance experimental control with emotionally engaging background narratives aimed at extending the affective experience and social interactions. Herein, we highlight the promise of extended reality platforms for greater ecological validity in the clinical, affective, and social neurosciences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
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19 pages, 354 KiB  
Review
Imaging of the Spinal Cord in Multiple Sclerosis: Past, Present, Future
by Yongsheng Chen, Ewart Mark Haacke and Evanthia Bernitsas
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(11), 857; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10110857 - 13 Nov 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3199
Abstract
Spinal cord imaging in multiple sclerosis (MS) plays a significant role in diagnosing and tracking disease progression. The spinal cord is one of four key areas of the central nervous system where documenting the dissemination in space in the McDonald criteria for diagnosing [...] Read more.
Spinal cord imaging in multiple sclerosis (MS) plays a significant role in diagnosing and tracking disease progression. The spinal cord is one of four key areas of the central nervous system where documenting the dissemination in space in the McDonald criteria for diagnosing MS. Spinal cord lesion load and the severity of cord atrophy are believed to be more relevant to disability than white matter lesions in the brain in different phenotypes of MS. Axonal loss contributes to spinal cord atrophy in MS and its degree correlates with disease severity and prognosis. Therefore, measures of axonal loss are often reliable biomarkers for monitoring disease progression. With recent technical advances, more and more qualitative and quantitative MRI techniques have been investigated in an attempt to provide objective and reliable diagnostic and monitoring biomarkers in MS. In this article, we discuss the role of spinal cord imaging in the diagnosis and prognosis of MS and, additionally, we review various techniques that may improve our understanding of the disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
27 pages, 1194 KiB  
Review
The Influence of Recreational Substance Use in TMS Research
by Claudia V. Turco, Sarah O. Arsalan and Aimee J. Nelson
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(10), 751; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10100751 - 18 Oct 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4331
Abstract
(1) Background: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) approaches are widely used to study cortical and corticospinal function. However, responses to TMS are subject to significant intra-and inter-individual variability. Acute and chronic exposure to recreational substances alters the excitability of the sensorimotor system and may [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) approaches are widely used to study cortical and corticospinal function. However, responses to TMS are subject to significant intra-and inter-individual variability. Acute and chronic exposure to recreational substances alters the excitability of the sensorimotor system and may contribute to the variability in TMS outcome measures. The increasing prevalence of recreational substance use poses a significant challenge for executing TMS studies, but there is a lack of clarity regarding the influence of these substances on sensorimotor function. (2) Methods: The literature investigating the influence of alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and cannabis on TMS outcome measures of corticospinal, intracortical and interhemispheric excitability was reviewed. (3) Results: Both acute and chronic use of recreational substances modulates TMS measures of excitability. Despite the abundance of research in this field, we identify knowledge gaps that should be addressed in future studies to better understand the influence of these substances on TMS outcomes. (4) Conclusions: This review highlights the need for TMS studies to take into consideration the history of participant substance use and to control for acute substance use prior to testing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
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18 pages, 403 KiB  
Review
Rehabilitation of Adult Patients with Primary Brain Tumors: A Narrative Review
by Parth Thakkar, Brian D. Greenwald and Palak Patel
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(8), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10080492 - 29 Jul 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 5170
Abstract
Rehabilitative measures have been shown to benefit patients with primary brain tumors (PBT). To provide a high quality of care, clinicians should be aware of common challenges in this population including a variety of medical complications, symptoms, and impairments, such as headaches, seizures, [...] Read more.
Rehabilitative measures have been shown to benefit patients with primary brain tumors (PBT). To provide a high quality of care, clinicians should be aware of common challenges in this population including a variety of medical complications, symptoms, and impairments, such as headaches, seizures, cognitive deficits, fatigue, and mood changes. By taking communication and family training into consideration, clinicians can provide integrated and patient-centered care to this population. This article looks to review the current literature in outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation options for adult patients with PBTs as well as explore the role of the interdisciplinary team in providing survivorship care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
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12 pages, 855 KiB  
Review
Prevalence and Incidence of Multiple Sclerosis in Russian Federation: 30 Years of Studies
by Alexey Boyko and Mikhail Melnikov
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(5), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10050305 - 18 May 2020
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 3938
Abstract
In the Russian Federation, multiple sclerosis prevalence rates vary from 10 to 80 cases per 100,000, depending on region and the nationality of the population. The main characteristics of multiple sclerosis epidemiology in the XX century in this big territory are: (1) steady [...] Read more.
In the Russian Federation, multiple sclerosis prevalence rates vary from 10 to 80 cases per 100,000, depending on region and the nationality of the population. The main characteristics of multiple sclerosis epidemiology in the XX century in this big territory are: (1) steady increase in multiple sclerosis prevalence and incidence rates, maybe because of better diagnosis and treatment, but also changes in environmental/epigenetic risk profile and/or lifestyle factors; (2) increase of the female to male ratio, increase in multiple sclerosis incidence mainly in females; (3) appearance and increasing frequency of multiple sclerosis in ethnic groups, previously free of multiple sclerosis (Northern Tribes, Yakuts and others). The latest data show that in European Russia, the multiple sclerosis prevalence varies from 30 to 80 cases, in Siberia—from 20 to 70 cases, with steady increases, especially in women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Decade of Brain Sciences)
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