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OBJECTIVE - While epilepsy studies rarely examine brainstem, we sought to examine the hypothesis that temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) leads to subcortical arousal center dysfunction, contributing to neocortical connectivity and neurocognitive disturbances.
METHODS - In this case-control study of 26 adult patients with TLE and 26 controls, we used MRI to measure structural and functional connectivity of the cuneiform/subcuneiform nuclei (CSC), pedunculopontine nucleus, and ventral tegmental area. Ascending reticular activating system connectivity patterns were related to neuropsychological and disease measures.
RESULTS - Compared to controls, patients with TLE demonstrated reductions in ascending reticular activating system structural and functional connectivity, most prominently to neocortical regions ( < 0.05, unpaired tests, corrected). While reduced CSC structural connectivity was related to impaired performance IQ and visuospatial memory, diminished CSC functional connectivity was associated with impaired verbal IQ and language abilities ( < 0.05, Spearman ρ, tests). Finally, CSC structural connectivity decreases were quantitatively associated with consciousness-impairing seizure frequency ( < 0.05, Spearman ρ) and the presence of generalized seizures ( < 0.05, unpaired test), suggesting a relationship to disease severity.
CONCLUSIONS - Connectivity perturbations in brainstem arousal centers are present in TLE and may contribute to neurocognitive problems. These studies demonstrate the underappreciated role of brainstem networks in epilepsy and may lead to novel neuromodulation targets to treat or prevent deleterious brain network effects of seizures in TLE.
© 2018 American Academy of Neurology.
BACKGROUND - Late-life depression (LLD) is associated with a fragile antidepressant response and high recurrence risk. This study examined what measures predict recurrence in remitted LLD.
METHODS - Individuals of age 60 years or older with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - IV (DSM-IV) diagnosis of major depressive disorder were enrolled in the neurocognitive outcomes of depression in the elderly study. Participants received manualized antidepressant treatment and were followed longitudinally for an average of 5 years. Study analyses included participants who remitted. Measures included demographic and clinical measures, medical comorbidity, disability, life stress, social support, and neuropsychological testing. A subset underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
RESULTS - Of 241 remitted elders, approximately over 4 years, 137 (56.8%) experienced recurrence and 104 (43.2%) maintained remission. In the final model, greater recurrence risk was associated with female sex (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.536; confidence interval [CI] = 1.027-2.297), younger age of onset (HR = 0.990; CI = 0.981-0.999), higher perceived stress (HR = 1.121; CI = 1.022-1.229), disability (HR = 1.060; CI = 1.005-1.119), and less support with activities (HR = 0.885; CI = 0.812-0.963). Recurrence risk was also associated with higher Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) scores prior to censoring (HR = 1.081; CI = 1.033-1.131) and baseline symptoms of suicidal thoughts by MADRS (HR = 1.175; CI = 1.002-1.377) and sadness by Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (HR = 1.302; CI, 1.080-1.569). Sex, age of onset, and suicidal thoughts were no longer associated with recurrence in a model incorporating report of multiple prior episodes (HR = 2.107; CI = 1.252-3.548). Neither neuropsychological test performance nor MRI measures of aging pathology were associated with recurrence.
CONCLUSIONS - Over half of the depressed elders who remitted experienced recurrence, mostly within 2 years. Multiple clinical and environmental measures predict recurrence risk. Work is needed to develop instruments that stratify risk.
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
The non-fluent/agrammatic variant of primary progressive aphasia (nfvPPA) presents with a gradual decline in grammar and motor speech resulting from selective degeneration of speech-language regions in the brain. There has been considerable progress in identifying treatment approaches to remediate language deficits in other primary progressive aphasia variants; however, interventions for the core deficits in nfvPPA have yet to be systematically investigated. Further, the neural mechanisms that support behavioural restitution in the context of neurodegeneration are not well understood. We examined the immediate and long-term benefits of video implemented script training for aphasia (VISTA) in 10 individuals with nfvPPA. The treatment approach involved repeated rehearsal of individualized scripts via structured treatment with a clinician as well as intensive home practice with an audiovisual model using 'speech entrainment'. We evaluated accuracy of script production as well as overall intelligibility and grammaticality for trained and untrained scripts. These measures and standardized test scores were collected at post-treatment and 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-up visits. Treatment resulted in significant improvement in production of correct, intelligible scripted words for trained topics, a reduction in grammatical errors for trained topics, and an overall increase in intelligibility for trained as well as untrained topics at post-treatment. Follow-up testing revealed maintenance of gains for trained scripts up to 1 year post-treatment on the primary outcome measure. Performance on untrained scripts and standardized tests remained relatively stable during the follow-up period, indicating that treatment helped to stabilize speech and language despite disease progression. To identify neural predictors of responsiveness to intervention, we examined treatment effect sizes relative to grey matter volumes in regions of interest derived from a previously identified speech production network. Regions of significant atrophy within this network included bilateral inferior frontal cortices and supplementary motor area as well as left striatum. Volumes in a left middle/inferior temporal region of interest were significantly correlated with the magnitude of treatment effects. This region, which was relatively spared anatomically in nfvPPA patients, has been implicated in syntactic production as well as visuo-motor facilitation of speech. This is the first group study to document the benefits of behavioural intervention that targets both linguistic and motoric deficits in nfvPPA. Findings indicate that behavioural intervention may result in lasting and generalized improvement of communicative function in individuals with neurodegenerative disease and that the integrity of spared regions within the speech-language network may be an important predictor of treatment response.
Research on neuroplasticity in recovery from aphasia depends on the ability to identify language areas of the brain in individuals with aphasia. However, tasks commonly used to engage language processing in people with aphasia, such as narrative comprehension and picture naming, are limited in terms of reliability (test-retest reproducibility) and validity (identification of language regions, and not other regions). On the other hand, paradigms such as semantic decision that are effective in identifying language regions in people without aphasia can be prohibitively challenging for people with aphasia. This paper describes a new semantic matching paradigm that uses an adaptive staircase procedure to present individuals with stimuli that are challenging yet within their competence, so that language processing can be fully engaged in people with and without language impairments. The feasibility, reliability and validity of the adaptive semantic matching paradigm were investigated in sixteen individuals with chronic post-stroke aphasia and fourteen neurologically normal participants, in comparison to narrative comprehension and picture naming paradigms. All participants succeeded in learning and performing the semantic paradigm. Test-retest reproducibility of the semantic paradigm in people with aphasia was good (Dice coefficient = 0.66), and was superior to the other two paradigms. The semantic paradigm revealed known features of typical language organization (lateralization; frontal and temporal regions) more consistently in neurologically normal individuals than the other two paradigms, constituting evidence for validity. In sum, the adaptive semantic matching paradigm is a feasible, reliable and valid method for mapping language regions in people with aphasia.
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Every day, humans make countless decisions that require the integration of information about potential benefits (i.e. rewards) with other decision features (i.e. effort required, probability of an outcome or time delays). Here, we examine the overlap and dissociation of behavioral preferences and neural representations of subjective value in the context of three different decision features (physical effort, probability and time delays) in a healthy adult life span sample. While undergoing functional neuroimaging, participants (N = 75) made incentive compatible choices between a smaller monetary reward with lower physical effort, higher probability, or a shorter time delay versus a larger monetary reward with higher physical effort, lower probability, or a longer time delay. Behavioral preferences were estimated from observed choices, and subjective values were computed using individual hyperbolic discount functions. We found that discount rates were uncorrelated across tasks. Despite this apparent behavioral dissociation between preferences, we found overlapping subjective value-related activity in the medial prefrontal cortex across all three tasks. We found no consistent evidence for age differences in either preferences or the neural representations of subjective value across adulthood. These results suggest that while the tolerance of decision features is behaviorally dissociable, subjective value signals share a common representation across adulthood.
BACKGROUND - Global longitudinal strain (GLS), reflecting total shortening of the myocardium during the cardiac cycle, has emerged as a more precise myocardial function measure than left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). Longitudinal strain may be selectively affected in subclinical heart disease, even in the presence of normal LVEF. This study examines subclinical cardiac dysfunction, assessed by GLS and LVEF, and cognition among older adults.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Vanderbilt Memory and Aging Project participants who were free of clinical dementia, stroke, and heart failure (n=318, 73±7 years, 58% male) completed neuropsychological assessment and cardiac magnetic resonance to quantify GLS and LVEF. Linear regression models related GLS and LVEF to neuropsychological performances, adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, Framingham Stroke Risk Profile, cognitive diagnosis, and *ε4 status. Models were repeated with a cardiac×cognitive diagnosis interaction term. Compromised GLS (reflected by higher values) related to worse naming (β=-0.07, =0.04), visuospatial immediate recall (β=-0.83, =0.03), visuospatial delayed recall (β=-0.22, =0.03), and verbal delayed recall (β=-0.11, =0.007). LVEF did not relate to worse performance on any measure (>0.18). No diagnostic interactions were observed.
CONCLUSIONS - Our study results are among the first to suggest that compromised GLS relates to worse episodic memory and language performance among older adults who are free of clinical dementia, stroke, and heart failure. Subclinical cardiac dysfunction may correlate with cognitive health in late life, even when LVEF remains normal. The results add to growing evidence that GLS may be a more sensitive and preferred method for quantifying subclinical changes in cardiac function.
© 2018 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley.
The majority of surviving infants with surgical necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) will have some degree of neurodevelopmental impairment. The impact of specific medial and surgical treatments for infants with severe NEC remains largely unknown but is being actively investigated. It is incumbent upon all providers caring for these infants to continue to focus on long term neurodevelopmental outcomes and to develop more widespread methods of neurodevelopmental assessment.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Working memory (WM) is often assessed with serial order tests such as repeating digits backward. In prior dementia research using the Backward Digit Span Test (BDT), only aggregate test performance was examined.
OBJECTIVE - The current research tallied primacy/recency effects, out-of-sequence transposition errors, perseverations, and omissions to assess WM deficits in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
METHODS - Memory clinic patients (n = 66) were classified into three groups: single domain amnestic MCI (aMCI), combined mixed domain/dysexecutive MCI (mixed/dys MCI), and non-MCI where patients did not meet criteria for MCI. Serial order/WM ability was assessed by asking participants to repeat 7 trials of five digits backwards. Serial order position accuracy, transposition errors, perseverations, and omission errors were tallied.
RESULTS - A 3 (group)×5 (serial position) repeated measures ANOVA yielded a significant group×trial interaction. Follow-up analyses found attenuation of the recency effect for mixed/dys MCI patients. Mixed/dys MCI patients scored lower than non-MCI patients for serial position 3 (p < 0.003) serial position 4 (p < 0.002); and lower than both group for serial position 5 (recency; p < 0.002). Mixed/dys MCI patients also produced more transposition errors than both groups (p < 0.010); and more omissions (p < 0.020), and perseverations errors (p < 0.018) than non-MCI patients.
CONCLUSIONS - The attenuation of a recency effect using serial order parameters obtained from the BDT may provide a useful operational definition as well as additional diagnostic information regarding working memory deficits in MCI.
A subgroup of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients treated with dopaminergic therapy develop compulsive reward-driven behaviors, which can result in life-altering morbidity. The mesocorticolimbic dopamine network guides reward-motivated behavior; however, its role in this treatment-related behavioral phenotype is incompletely understood. Here, mesocorticolimbic network function in PD patients who develop impulsive and compulsive behaviors (ICB) in response to dopamine agonists was assessed using BOLD fMRI. The tested hypothesis was that network connectivity between the ventral striatum and the limbic cortex is elevated in patients with ICB and that reward-learning proficiency reflects the extent of mesocorticolimbic network connectivity. To evaluate this hypothesis, 3.0T BOLD-fMRI was applied to measure baseline functional connectivity on and off dopamine agonist therapy in age and sex-matched PD patients with (n = 19) or without (n = 18) ICB. An incentive-based task was administered to a subset of patients (n = 20) to quantify positively or negatively reinforced learning. Whole-brain voxelwise analyses and region-of-interest-based mixed linear effects modeling were performed. Elevated ventral striatal connectivity to the anterior cingulate gyrus (P = 0.013), orbitofrontal cortex (P = 0.034), insula (P = 0.044), putamen (P = 0.014), globus pallidus (P < 0.01), and thalamus (P < 0.01) was observed in patients with ICB. A strong trend for elevated amygdala-to-midbrain connectivity was found in ICB patients on dopamine agonist. Ventral striatum-to-subgenual cingulate connectivity correlated with reward learning (P < 0.01), but not with punishment-avoidance learning. These data indicate that PD-ICB patients have elevated network connectivity in the mesocorticolimbic network. Behaviorally, proficient reward-based learning is related to this enhanced limbic and ventral striatal connectivity. Hum Brain Mapp 39:509-521, 2018. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Individuals differ greatly in their sensitivity to rewards and punishments. In the extreme, these differences are implicated in a range of psychiatric disorders from addiction to depression. However, it is unclear how these differences influence the recruitment of attention, working memory, and long-term memory when responding to potential rewards. Here, we used a rewarded memory-guided visual search task and ERPs to examine the influence of individual differences in self-reported reward/punishment sensitivity, as measured by the Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS)/Behavioral Activation System (BAS) scales, on the recruitment of cognitive mechanisms in conditions of potential reward. Select subscales of the BAS, including the fun seeking and reward responsiveness scales, showed unique relationships with context updating to reward cues and working memory maintenance of potentially rewarded stimuli. In contrast, BIS scores showed unique relationships with deployment of attention at different points in the task. These results suggest that sensitivity to rewards (i.e., BAS) and to punishment (i.e., BIS) may play an important role in the recruitment of specific and distinct cognitive mechanisms in conditions of potential rewards.
© 2017 Society for Psychophysiological Research.