The publication data currently available has been vetted by Vanderbilt faculty, staff, administrators and trainees. The data itself is retrieved directly from NCBI's PubMed and is automatically updated on a weekly basis to ensure accuracy and completeness.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.
Reading disability (RD) typically consists of deficits in word reading accuracy and/or reading comprehension. While it is well known that word reading accuracy deficits lead to comprehension deficits (general reading disability, GRD), less is understood about neuropsychological profiles of children who exhibit adequate word reading accuracy but nevertheless develop specific reading comprehension deficits (S-RCD). Establishing the underlying neuropsychological processes associated with different RD types is essential for ultimately understanding core neurobiological bases of reading comprehension. To this end, the present study investigated isolated and contextual word fluency, oral language, and executive function on reading comprehension performance in 56 9- to 14-year-old children [21 typically developing (TD), 18 GRD, and 17 S-RCD]. Results indicated that TD and S-RCD participants read isolated words at a faster rate than participants with GRD; however, both RD groups had contextual word fluency and oral language weaknesses. Additionally, S-RCD participants showed prominent weaknesses in executive function. Implications for understanding the neuropsychological bases for reading comprehension are discussed.
OBJECTIVES - We examined whether "state" anger regulation-inhibition or expression-among chronic low back pain (CLBP) patients would affect lower paraspinal (LP) muscle tension following anger-induction, and whether these effects were moderated by trait anger management style.
METHOD - Eighty-four CLBP patients underwent harassment, then they regulated anger under one of two conditions: half expressed anger by telling stories about people depicted in pictures, whereas half inhibited anger by only describing objects appearing in the same pictures. They completed the anger-out and anger-in subscales (AOS; AIS) of the anger expression inventory.
RESULTS - General Linear Model procedures were used to test anger regulation condition by AOS/AIS by period interactions for physiological indexes. Significant three-way interactions were found such that: a) high trait anger-out patients in the inhibition condition appeared to show the greatest LP reactivity during the inhibition period followed by the slowest recovery; b) high trait anger-out patients in the expression condition appeared to show the greatest systolic blood pressure (SBP) reactivity during the expression period followed by rapid recovery.
CONCLUSIONS - Results implicate LP muscle tension as a potential physiological mechanism that links the actual inhibition of anger following provocation to chronic pain severity among CLBP patients. Results also highlight the importance of mismatch situations for patients who typically regulate anger by expressing it. These CLBP patients may be at particular risk for elevated pain severity if circumstances at work or home regularly dictate that they should inhibit anger expression.
Empirical studies of creativity have focused on the importance of divergent thinking, which supports generating novel solutions to loosely defined problems. The present study examined creativity and frontal cortical activity in an externally-validated group of creative individuals (trained musicians) and demographically matched control participants, using behavioral tasks and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). Experiment 1 examined convergent and divergent thinking with respect to intelligence and personality. Experiment 2 investigated frontal oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin concentration changes during divergent thinking with NIRS. Results of Experiment 1 indicated enhanced creativity in musicians who also showed increased verbal ability and schizotypal personality but their enhanced divergent thinking remained robust after co-varying out these two factors. In Experiment 2, NIRS showed greater bilateral frontal activity in musicians during divergent thinking compared with nonmusicians. Overall, these results suggest that creative individuals are characterized by enhanced divergent thinking, which is supported by increased frontal cortical activity.
BACKGROUND - The search for susceptibility genes in autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has been hindered by the possible small effects of individual genes and by genetic (locus) heterogeneity. To overcome these obstacles, one method is to use autism-related subphenotypes instead of the categorical diagnosis of autism since they may be more directly related to the underlying susceptibility loci. Another strategy is to analyze subsets of families that meet certain clinical criteria to reduce genetic heterogeneity.
METHODS - In this study, using 976 multiplex families from the Autism Genome Project consortium, we performed genome-wide linkage analyses on two quantitative subphenotypes, the total scores of the reciprocal social interaction domain and the restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior domain from the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised. We also selected subsets of ASD families based on four binary subphenotypes, delayed onset of first words, delayed onset of first phrases, verbal status, and IQ > or = 70.
RESULTS - When the ASD families with IQ > or = 70 were used, a logarithm of odds (LOD) score of 4.01 was obtained on chromosome 15q13.3-q14, which was previously linked to schizophrenia. We also obtained a LOD score of 3.40 on chromosome 11p15.4-p15.3 using the ASD families with delayed onset of first phrases. No significant evidence for linkage was obtained for the two quantitative traits.
CONCLUSIONS - This study demonstrates that selection of informative subphenotypes to define a homogeneous set of ASD families could be very important in detecting the susceptibility loci in autism.
The attentional blink (AB) and repetition blindness (RB) phenomena refer to subjects' impaired ability to detect the second of two different (AB) or identical (RB) target stimuli in a rapid serial visual presentation stream if they appear within 500 msec of one another. Despite the fact that the AB reveals a failure of conscious visual perception, it is at least partly due to limitations at central stages of information processing. Do all attentional limits to conscious perception have their locus at this central bottleneck? To address this question, here we investigated whether RB is affected by online response selection, a cognitive operation that requires central processing. The results indicate that, unlike the AB, RB does not result from central resource limitations. Evidently, temporal attentional limits to conscious perception can occur at multiple stages of information processing.
Behavioral, neuropsychological and neuroimaging research suggest a distributed network that is recruited when we interact with letters. For the first time, we combine several letter processing tasks in a single experiment to study why letters seem to engage such disparate processing areas. Using fMRI, we investigate how the brain responds to letters using tasks that should recruit systems for letter perception, letter writing, letter copying and letter imagery. We describe a network of five cortical regions including the left fusiform gyrus, two left pre-central areas, left cuneus and the left inferior frontal gyrus that are all selectively engaged during a 1-back matching paradigm with letters. Our results suggest involvement of these regions to different extents in different tasks. However, the regions also form an integrated network such that letter perception also engages motor regions while writing recruits letter-specific visual regions as well. We suggest that this distributed network is a direct result of our sensory-motor interactions with letters.
A hallmark of both visual attention and working memory is their severe capacity limit: People can attentively track only about four objects in a multiple object tracking (MOT) task and can hold only up to four objects in visual working memory (VWM). It has been proposed that attention underlies the capacity limit of VWM. We tested this hypothesis by determining the effect of varying the load of a MOT task performed during the retention interval of a VWM task and comparing the resulting dual-task costs with those observed when a VWM task was performed concurrently with another VWM task or with a verbal working memory task. Instead of supporting the view that the capacity limit of VWM is solely attention based, the results indicate that VWM capacity is set by the interaction of visuospatial attentional, central amodal, and local task-specific sources of processing.
Although anecdotal and correlational results have suggested a reliable relationship between creativity and psychosis, few studies have examined this relationship using empirical methods. In addition, little is known about the neural substrates of creative thinking. We investigated the creative thinking process in relation to schizotypal personality, schizophrenia and prefrontal hemispheric laterality using behavioral and near-infrared optical spectroscopy (NIRS) methods. Schizophrenic, psychometrically ascertained schizotypal, and healthy control subjects (all right-handed) participated in a novel "alternate uses" task designed to assess divergent thinking (DT) ability. The DT task required subjects to generate "uses" for conventional and ambiguous objects. Prefrontal activity was measured using NIRS while subjects were engaged in DT vs. a cognitive control task in a subset of the subjects. Behavioral data indicated that schizotypes had enhanced DT ability compared with schizophrenic and control subjects, who showed similar performance overall. NIRS data showed that DT was associated with bilateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation, but the right PFC particularly contributed to the enhanced creative thinking in psychometric schizotypes compared with the other two groups. Thus, creative thinking seems to robustly recruit bilateral PFC, but it is the right PFC that is preferentially activated in schizotypes in relation to their enhanced DT.
Previous studies have examined the impact of subcortical hyperintensities (SH), a proxy measure of cerebrovascular disease, on the cognitive abilities of otherwise healthy older adults. However, there remains a limited understanding as to what extent this MRI marker of pathological processes explains the decline in specific cognitive functions that occur nearly ubiquitously with advanced age, especially in relation to other age-related imaging markers. In the present study we compared cognitive abilities between a sample of 53 older healthy adults (age range=50-79) and a sample of 53 younger adults (age range=21-40). As expected, the older group performed significantly worse on most cognitive measures compared to the younger group. Frontal volume and total grey matter volume were also significantly reduced among the older individuals compared to the younger individuals. SH volume was consistently associated with cognitive function in older adults, though, this relationship was evident only for a relatively small subset of older individuals with the most severe SH. These data suggest that the relationship between SH and cognition in the elderly is driven by a subset of individuals who may be in the earliest stages of vascular cognitive impairment. Further, the findings suggest that cognitive aging is largely determined by factors other than SH for most older adults.
BACKGROUND - Abnormalities in prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices are implicated in disturbances of attention, cognition, and impulse regulation in bipolar disorder. Acute episodes have been associated with dysfunction in these brain regions, and more enduring trait-related dysfunction has been implicated by volumetric and cellular abnormalities in these regions. The relative contributions of prefrontal regions to state and trait disturbances in bipolar disorder, however, have not been defined. We sought to characterize state- and trait-related functional impairment in frontal systems in bipolar disorder.
METHODS - Thirty-six individuals with bipolar disorder I (11 with elevated, 10 with depressed, and 15 with euthymic mood states) and 20 healthy control subjects matched for handedness and sex participated in an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging study of the color-word Stroop to determine mean percentage of regional task-related signal change.
RESULTS - Signal increased during the Stroop task similarly across diagnostic groups in a distribution that included dorsal anterior cingulate and prefrontal cortices, consistent with previously reported activations in this task. Signal changes associated with specific mood states in bipolar disorder were detected in ventral prefrontal cortex, with a blunted increase in signal on the right side in the elevated mood group (P =.005) and an exaggerated increase in signal on the left side in the depressed group (P =.02) compared with the euthymic group. Patients (vs healthy controls) demonstrated blunted activation in a spatially distinct, rostral region of left ventral prefrontal cortex that was independent of mood state (P<.005).
CONCLUSIONS - Bipolar disorder is associated with a trait abnormality in left ventral prefrontal cortex. Additional ventral prefrontal abnormalities may be associated with specific acute mood states. The hemispheric laterality of the abnormality and the directions of signal change may relate to the valence of the mood episode.