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Παρασκευή, 28 Ιουνίου 2019

Brain Sciences, Vol. 9, Pages 154: Neural Sensitivity to Mutual Information in Intermediate-Complexity Face Features Changes during Childhood
One way in which face recognition develops during infancy and childhood is with regard to the visual information that contributes most to recognition judgments. Adult face recognition depends on critical features spanning a hierarchy of complexity, including low-level, intermediate, and high-level visual information. To date, the development of adult-like information biases for face recognition has focused on low-level features, which are computationally well-defined but low in complexity, and high-level features, which are high in complexity, but not defined precisely. To complement this existing literature, we examined the development of children’s neural responses to intermediate-level face features characterized using mutual information. Specifically, we examined children’s and adults’ sensitivity to varying levels of category diagnosticity at the P100 and N170 components. We found that during middle childhood, sensitivity to mutual information shifts from early components to later ones, which may indicate a critical restructuring of face recognition mechanisms that takes place over several years. This approach provides a useful bridge between the study of low- and high-level visual features for face recognition and suggests many intriguing questions for further investigation.
Brain Sciences, Vol. 9, Pages 153: Neural Foundations of Ayres Sensory Integration®
Sensory integration, now trademarked as Ayres Sensory Integration® or ASI, is based on principles of neuroscience and provides a framework for understanding the contributions of the sensory and motor foundations of human behavior. The theory and practice of ASI continues to evolve as greater understanding of the neurobiology of human behavior emerges. In this paper we examine core constructs of ASI identified in the seminal work of Dr. Jean Ayres, and present current neuroscience research that underlies the main patterns of sensory integration function and dysfunction. We consider how current research verifies and clarifies Ayres’ propositions by describing functions of the vestibular, proprioceptive, and tactile sensory systems, and exploring their relationships to ocular, postural, bilateral integration, praxis, and sensory modulation. We close by proposing neuroplasticity as the mechanisms underlying change as a result of ASI intervention.
Brain Sciences, Vol. 9, Pages 152: Rapid Communication: Plasma Interleukin-35 in Children with Autism
In autism spectrum disorders (ASD) many individuals have co-morbid immune dysregulation that can lead to inflammation in the brain and periphery. The novel cytokine interleukin (IL)-35 has described anti-inflammatory properties; however, the plasma levels of IL-35 in children with ASD have never been investigated. The plasma levels of IL-35 were measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 30 children with ASD and 39 typically developing (TD) controls. In the current study, we found that plasma IL-35 levels were significantly decreased in children with ASD compared with TD children. Furthermore, lower IL-35 levels were associated with worse behaviors as assessed using the aberrant behavior checklist. These findings are in line with other observations of decreased regulatory cytokines such as transforming growth factor beta and IL-10 in ASD, and associations with severity of behaviors. In conclusion, regulating the expression of IL-35 may provide a new possible target for the treatment of immune issues in ASD to address an imbalance between pro- and anti-inflammatory signals that alter the behavioral phenotype.
Brain Sciences, Vol. 9, Pages 151: Effect of a Mental Stimulation Program of Computer and Internet Learning on Cognitive Functions and Wellbeing in Older Community-Dwelling Mexicans
Background: It has been reported that Mental Stimulation (MS) has a positive effect on cognitive functions and wellbeing. In this sense, different training activities have been proposed for MS such as theater, learning a new language, playing a musical instrument and computing, however, there are few studies on older adults in Latin American countries. For this reason, the purpose of the present study was to determine the effect of a mental stimulation program (MSP) of computer and Internet learning on cognitive functions and wellbeing in older community-dwelling Mexicans. Method: A quasi-experimental pilot study was carried out in a convenience sample of 27 adults aged 60 to 69 years, without knowledge of the use of computers and Internet, without chronic non-communicable diseases, depression or cognitive impairment. Two groups were formed: (i) experimental (EG), n = 16 and (ii) control (CG), n = 11. The EG participated in an MSP in which 20 theoretical/practical sessions of two hours each were given, two times a week, on computer and Internet. The CG did not participate in any scheduled activity. All participants were measured before and after the intervention program in processing speed (PS), cognitive inhibition (CI), working and episodicmemory (WM and EM), visuospatial processing (VP), life satisfaction (LS) and positive and negative emotions (PE and NE). Results: After participation in the MSP, the EG showed significantly higher scores on the EM and VP tests compared to the CG (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that an MSP of computer and Internet learning improves episodicmemory and visuospatial processing in older community-dwelling Mexicans.
Brain Sciences, Vol. 9, Pages 150: Applying a Sensing-Enabled System for Ensuring Safe Anterior Cingulate Deep Brain Stimulation for Pain
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) was offered to chronic pain patients who had exhausted medical and surgical options. However, several patients developed recurrent seizures. This work was conducted to assess the effect of ACC stimulation on the brain activity and to guide safe DBS programming. A sensing-enabled neurostimulator (Activa PC + S) allowing wireless recording through the stimulating electrodes was chronically implanted in three patients. Stimulation patterns with different amplitude levels and variable ramping rates were tested to investigate whether these patterns could provide pain relief without triggering after-discharges (ADs) within local field potentials (LFPs) recorded in the ACC. In the absence of ramping, AD activity was detected following stimulation at amplitude levels below those used in chronic therapy. Adjustment of stimulus cycling patterns, by slowly ramping on/off (8-s ramp duration), was able to prevent ADs at higher amplitude levels while maintaining effective pain relief. The absence of AD activity confirmed from the implant was correlated with the absence of clinical seizures. We propose that AD activity in the ACC could be a biomarker for the likelihood of seizures in these patients, and the application of sensing-enabled techniques has the potential to advance safer brain stimulation therapies, especially in novel targets.
Brain Sciences, Vol. 9, Pages 149: The Limiting Case of Amodal Completion: The Phenomenal Salience and the Role of Contrast Polarity
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.
Brain Sciences, Vol. 9, Pages 148: ERP Evidence for Co-Activation of English Words during Recognition of American Sign Language Signs
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.
Brain Sciences, Vol. 9, Pages 147: Activation of Membrane Estrogen Receptors Attenuates NOP-Mediated Tactile Antihypersensitivity in a Rodent Model of Neuropathic Pain
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.
Brain Sciences, Vol. 9, Pages 146: Genetic and Environmental Predictors of Adolescent PTSD Symptom Trajectories Following a Natural Disaster
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.
Brain Sciences, Vol. 9, Pages 145: The Counteracting Effects of Exercise on High-Fat Diet-Induced Memory Impairment: A Systematic Review
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.

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