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Neuroimaging studies in humans have consistently found robust activation of frontal, parietal, and temporal regions during working memory tasks. Whether these activations represent functional networks segregated by perceptual domain is still at issue. Two functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments were conducted, both of which used multiple-cycle, alternating task designs. Experiment 1 compared spatial and object working memory tasks to identify cortical regions differentially activated by these perceptual domains. Experiment 2 compared working memory and perceptual control tasks within each of the spatial and object domains to determine whether the regions identified in experiment 1 were driven primarily by the perceptual or mnemonic demands of the tasks, and to identify common brain regions activated by working memory in both perceptual domains. Domain-specific activation occurred in the inferior parietal cortex for spatial tasks, and in the inferior occipitotemporal cortex for object tasks, particularly in the left hemisphere. However, neither area was strongly influenced by task demands, being nearly equally activated by the working memory and perceptual control tasks. In contrast, activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) was strongly task-related. Spatial working memory primarily activated the right middle frontal gyrus (MFG) and the IPS. Object working memory activated the MFG bilaterally, the left inferior frontal gyrus, and the IPS, particularly in the left hemisphere. Finally, activation of midline posterior regions, including the cingulate gyrus, occurred at the offset of the working memory tasks, particularly the shape task. These results support a prominent role of the prefrontal and parietal cortices in working memory, and indicate that spatial and object working memory tasks recruit differential hemispheric networks. The results also affirm the distinction between spatial and object perceptual processing in dorsal and ventral visual pathways.
Auditory cortex of macaque monkeys can be divided into a core of primary or primary-like areas located on the lower bank of the lateral sulcus, a surrounding narrow belt of associated fields, and a parabelt region just lateral to the belt on the superior temporal gyrus. We determined patterns of ipsilateral cortical connections of the parabelt region by placing injections of four to seven distinguishable tracers in each of five monkeys. Results were related to architectonic subdivisions of auditory cortex in brain sections cut parallel to the surface of artificially flattened cortex (four cases) or cut in the coronal plane (one case). An auditory core was clearly apparent in these sections as a 16- to 20-mm rostrocaudally elongated oval, several millimeters from the lip of the sulcus, that stained darkly for parvalbumin, myelin, and acetylcholinesterase. These features were most pronounced caudally in the cortex assigned to auditory area I, only slightly reduced in the rostral area, and most reduced in the narrower rostral extension we define as the rostrotemporal area. A narrow band of cortex surrounding the core stained more moderately for parvalbumin, acetylcholinesterase, and myelin. Two regions of the caudal belt, the caudomedial area, and the mediolateral area, stained more darkly, especially for parvalbumin. Rostromedial and medial rostrotemporal, regions of the medial belt stained more lightly for parvalbumin than the caudomedial area or the lateral belt. The parabelt region stained less darkly than the core and belt fields. Injections confined to the parabelt region labeled few neurons in the core, but large numbers in parts of the belt, the parabelt, and adjacent portions of the temporal lobe. Injections that encroached on the belt labeled large numbers of neurons in the core and helped define the width of the belt. Caudal injections in the parabelt labeled caudal portions of the belt, rostral injections labeled rostral portions, and both caudal and rostral injections labeled neurons in the rostromedial area of the medial belt. These observations support the concept of dividing the auditory cortex into core, belt, and parabelt; provide evidence for including the rostral area in the core; suggest the existence of as many as seven or eight belt fields; provide evidence for at least two subdivisions of the parabelt; and identify regions of the temporal lobe involved in auditory processing.
BACKGROUND - Recent functional neuroimaging results implicate part of the ventral temporal lobe of the brain in face recognition, and have, together with neurophysiological findings, been used as evidence for a face-specific neural module in the brain. Experimental designs, however, have often failed to distinguish between the class of the object used as the stimulus (face or non-face) and the level of categorization at which the stimulus is recognized (the 'basic' level, such as 'bird', at which familiar objects are first recognized, or more subordinate levels - 'sparrow', for example - which require additional perceptual processing). We have used echo-planar functional magnetic resonance imaging to compare brain activation for the matching of non-face objects with subordinate-level and basic-level descriptors.
RESULTS - The additional visual processing required to verify the subordinate level of a picture over its basic level was associated with activation of the fusiform and inferior temporal gyri (FIT) as well as the temporal poles. These areas correspond closely to those previously implicated in the processing of facial images.
CONCLUSIONS - Our results indicate that areas of the ventral visual pathway that have been associated with face recognition are sensitive to manipulations of the categorization level of non-face objects. This idea offers an alternative to the dominant view that FIT may be organized according to conceptual categories, and our results establish the importance of manipulating task requirements when evaluating a 'neural module' hypothesis.
We report three cases in which there was marked asymmetry of the mamillary bodies, noted on MR in two and at autopsy in the third. Based on its proposed pathogenesis, we suggest that this finding could have value in locating temporal lobe disease in patients with intractable epilepsy.
Morphometric magnetic resonance imaging techniques were used to compare the convolutional surface area of the planum temporale, temporal lobe volume and superior surface area, and an estimate of overall brain volume in a homogeneous sample of 17 dyslexic children (7 girls) and 14 nonimpaired children (7 girls). Substantial sex differences were apparent for all measured regions, with all the measurements in boys being significantly larger. Age, even within the narrow range employed here (7.5-9.7 years), was positively correlated with the size of each brain region. While initial analyses suggested smaller left hemisphere structures in dyslexics compared to control subjects, subsequent analyses controlling for age and overall brain size revealed no significant differences between dyslexics and nonimpaired children on a variety of measures, in particular surface area and symmetry of the planum temporale. We suggest that differences in subject characteristics (i.e., sex, age, handedness, and definition of dyslexia) as well as procedural variations in the methods used to acquire images and to define and measure anatomical regions of interest such as the planum temporale all may play an important role in explaining apparent discrepant results in the neuroimaging literature on dyslexia.
A complementary DNA encoding the key subunit of the human N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor (NMDAR1) has been cloned using a probe derived from the rat NMDAR1 cDNA. The cDNA encodes a 938-amino acid protein, which shows 99% amino acid homology with the rat counterpart. Of the 7 of 938 amino acids which are different, three occur in the region of the signal peptide and the others in the extracellular amino-terminal domain preceding the 4 putative transmembrane segments. Expression in Xenopus oocytes demonstrated that the single protein encoded by the cloned cDNA possesses the electrophysiological and pharmacological properties characteristic of the NMDA receptor, including Ca2+ permeability, voltage-dependent Mg2+ block, and inhibition by selective antagonists such as Zn2+ and channel blockers. The high evolutionary conservation in the structure and properties of NMDAR1 argues strongly for the importance of this receptor in functions of glutamate neurotransmission. RNA blot analysis showed abundant expression of mRNA whose size is about 4.5 and 4.8 kilonucleotides. The human gene encoding the NMDAR1 subunit has been mapped to chromosome 9q34.3 by the analyses of blot hybridization of a DNA panel of human/hamster somatic cell hybrids and fluorescence in situ hybridization of human chromosomes.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the temporal relationship between presaccadic neuronal discharges in the frontal eye fields (FEF) and supplementary eye fields (SEF) and the initiation of saccadic eye movements in macaque. We utilized an analytical technique that could reliably identify periods of neuronal modulation in individual spike trains. By comparing the observed activity of neurons with the random Poisson distribution generated from the mean discharge rate during the trial period, the period during which neural activity was significantly elevated with a predetermined confidence level was identified in each spike train. In certain neurons, bursts of action potentials were identified by determining the period in each spike train in which the activation deviated most from the expected Poisson distribution. Using this method, we related these defined periods of modulation to saccade initiation in specific cell types recorded in FEF and SEF. Cells were recorded in SEF while monkeys made saccades to targets presented alone. Cells were recorded in FEF while monkeys made saccades to targets presented alone or with surrounding distractors. There were no significant differences in the time-course of activity of the population of FEF presaccadic movement cells prior to saccades generated to singly presented or distractor-embedded targets. The discharge of presaccadic movement cells in FEF and SEF could be subdivided quantitatively into an early prelude followed by a high-rate burst of activity that occurred at a consistent interval before saccade initiation. The time of burst onset relative to saccade onset in SEF presaccadic movement cells was earlier and more variable than in FEF presaccadic movement cells. The termination of activity of another population of SEF neurons, known as preparatory set cells, was time-locked to saccade initiation. In addition, the cessation of SEF preparatory set cell activity coincided precisely with the beginning of the burst of SEF presaccadic movement cells. This finding raises the possibility that SEF preparatory set cells may be involved in saccade initiation by regulating the activation of SEF presaccadic movement cells. These results demonstrate the utility of the Poisson spike train analysis to relate periods of neuronal modulation to behavior.
A preliminary electroencephalographic (EEG) investigation was conducted to determine if the pattern of hemispheric activation in mathematically precocious youth differs from that of average math ability subjects. Alpha activity at four brain sites (frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes) over the left and right cerebral hemispheres (LH/RH) was monitored while 12- to 14-year-old, right-handed males: (a) looked at a blank slide (baseline condition), (b) judged which of two chimeric faces was "happier," and (c) determined if a word was a noun or a verb. At baseline, the LH of the precocious group was found to be more active at all four brain sites relative to that of the average ability group. During chimeric face processing, the gifted subjects exhibited a significant reduction in alpha power over the RH, primarily at the temporal lobe, while no such alpha suppression was observed in the average ability subjects. For noun/verb determinations, no significant alpha power reductions were obtained for either group. These electrophysiological data generally corroborate the behavioral findings of O'Boyle and Benbow (1990a) and support their contention that enhanced RH involvement during cognitive processing may be a correlate of mathematical precocity. Moreover, the pattern of activation observed across tasks suggests that the ability to effectively coordinate LH and RH processing resources at an early age may be linked to intellectual giftedness.
Direct placement of L-dopa into the medial preoptic area (MPOA) of aged pseudopregnant or constant vaginal estrous female rats resulted in a reinitiation of vaginal cycles and ovulation. Similar treatment with L-dopa in the dorsomedial septum or cortex was ineffective. Direct placement of leucine into any of the three brain regions did not have an effect on ovarian function. Intermittent treatment with L-dopa to MPOA was found to reinstate and maintain vaginal cycles in constant estrous females only when administered on the day of vaginal estrus of successive cycles. These findings support the hypothesis that age-dependent disturbances in ovarian function may be initiated by changes in neurotransmitter metabolism within the central nervous system.