Brain Sciences

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ISSN / EISSN : 2076-3425 / 2076-3425
Published by: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 3,382
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Published: 15 October 2021
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101355

Abstract:
Background: Interoceptive accuracy and sensibility are decreased in depressive samples. However, different studies showed that cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness interventions are promising approaches to improve interoceptive abilities. Based on these findings, the study aims to investigate the pre–post effect of CBT in a depressive sample. Additionally, we examined the effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training in the context of CBT. Methods: Sixty depressive patients were investigated over four weeks, with two conditions—CBT vs. CBT + MBSR. Further, the changes in interoceptive abilities (interoceptive accuracy and sensibility) of the depressive patients were compared to baseline data of healthy controls. Results: The depressive patients showed significantly higher levels of depression and lower mindfulness and interoceptive abilities than healthy controls. The depressive sample showed a significant decrease in depressive symptoms and increased mindfulness and interoceptive abilities after CBT. Lastly, depressive patients of the CBT + MBSR condition did not differ from those who only received CBT in the levels of depression, mindfulness or interoceptive abilities over the time course. Discussion: This study demonstrates a positive effect of CBT on interoceptive abilities in a depressive sample. It is shown that the depressive sample did not profit from additional mindfulness training. It can be concluded that CBT is an efficient treatment, resulting in increased interoceptive abilities. Unexpectedly, the combination of CBT and MBSR has no additional effect on these changes. Future studies should investigate the effect of MBSR as a stand-alone therapy.
Published: 15 October 2021
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101357

Abstract:
The medial posterior parietal cortex (PPC) is involved in the complex processes of visuomotor integration. Its connections to the dorsal premotor cortex, which in turn is connected to the primary motor cortex (M1), complete the fronto-parietal network that supports important cognitive functions in the planning and execution of goal-oriented movements. In this study, we wanted to investigate the time-course of the functional connectivity at rest between the medial PPC and the M1 using dual-site transcranial magnetic stimulation in healthy humans. We stimulated the left M1 using a suprathreshold test stimulus to elicit motor-evoked potentials in the hand, and a subthreshold conditioning stimulus was applied over the left medial PPC at different inter-stimulus intervals (ISIs). The conditioning stimulus affected the M1 excitability depending on the ISI, with inhibition at longer ISIs (12 and 15 ms). We suggest that these modulations may reflect the activation of different parieto-frontal pathways, with long latency inhibitions likely recruiting polisynaptic pathways, presumably through anterolateral PPC.
Published: 15 October 2021
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101356

Abstract:
Even though increasing literature describes changes in emotional processing in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), efforts to summarize relevant findings are lacking in the field. A systematic literature review was performed to provide a critical and up-to-date account of emotional abilities in ALS. References were identified by searches of PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus (1980–2021, English literature), with the following key terms: (“Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis” or “Primary Lateral Sclerosis” or “Motor Neuron”) and “Emotion*” and (“Processing” or “Attribution” or “Elaboration” or “Perception” or “Recognition”). Studies concerning only caregivers, pseudobulbar affect, and social cognition were excluded. Forty-one articles were included, all concerning ALS, and seven topics were identified: Emotion recognition, Emotional responsiveness, Emotional reactivity, Faces approachability rating, Valence rating, Memory for emotional materials and Alexithymia. The majority of these aspects have only been sparsely addressed. The evidence confirms altered emotional processing in ALS. The most consistent findings regard the recognition of facial expressions for negative emotions, but also alterations in the subjective responsiveness to emotional stimuli (arousal, valence and approachability), in psychophysiological and cerebral reactivity and in emotional memory, together with alexithymia traits, were reported. According to this evidence, emotional abilities should be included in the clinical assessment and therapeutic interventions.
Published: 15 October 2021
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101358

Abstract:
Previous studies have found that transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) can significantly enhance individuals’ working memory performance. However, it is still unclear whether the memory performance enhancement was attributed to the quantity or the quality of working memory. The current study applies tACS over the right parietal cortex at slower (4 Hz) and faster (7 Hz) frequencies to participants with high and low working memory capacities in a color recall memory task. This enabled us to explore the tACS effects on the quantity and quality of the working memory for individuals with different memory capacities. The results revealed that slower frequency (4 Hz) tACS enhanced the quality of memory representations, and faster frequency (7 Hz) tACS principally impaired the quantity of working memory. The underlying mechanism of this effect might be that tACS at different frequencies modulate the memory resources, which then selectively affect the quantity and quality of memory representations. Importantly, individual traits, as well as memory strategies, may be crucial factors to consider when testing the effect of tACS on working memory performance.
Published: 14 October 2021
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101352

Abstract:
Amyloid precursor protein and its derivates represent a central factor in the process of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Since mental illnesses share with AD cognitive impairment, amyloid indicators have been used to explore the unknown pathophysiologic mechanisms underlining psychiatric illness. This work aims to compare the role of amyloid markers, together with tau proteins, among various mental disorders evaluating the possible role of altered amyloid metabolism in the onset and in the course of psychiatric diseases, considering the relationship with cognitive impairment in dementia. This review includes articles written in English, published between 1 January 2011 and 31 January 2021, which evaluated amyloid and tau proteins in psychiatric patients. After screening, 31 studies were included in the review. Results suggest that amyloid metabolism is altered in major psychiatric disorders and that it could be a marker of cognitive impairment. Nevertheless, the role of amyloid in mental diseases seems to be related to neurodevelopmental alteration as well as neurodegeneration processes, like in AD. The role of amyloid in the pathogenesis of mental disorders is still unknown. Amyloid should not be only considered as a marker of cognitive impairment in mental illness, but also for altered neurodevelopment.
Published: 14 October 2021
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101353

Abstract:
Pathological repetitive behaviours are a common feature of various neuropsychiatric disorders, including compulsions in obsessive–compulsive disorder or tics in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. Clinical research suggests that compulsive-like symptoms are related to associative cortico-striatal dysfunctions, and tic-like symptoms to sensorimotor cortico-striatal dysfunctions. The Sapap3 knockout mouse (Sapap3-KO), the current reference model to study such repetitive behaviours, presents both associative as well as sensorimotor cortico-striatal dysfunctions. Previous findings point to deficits in both macro-, as well as micro-circuitry, both of which can be affected by neuronal structural changes. However, to date, structural connectivity has not been analysed. Hence, in the present study, we conducted a comprehensive structural characterisation of both associative and sensorimotor striatum as well as major cortical areas connecting onto these regions. Besides a thorough immunofluorescence study on oligodendrocytes, we applied AxonDeepSeg, an open source software, to automatically segment and characterise myelin thickness and axon area. We found that axon calibre, the main contributor to changes in conduction speed, is specifically reduced in the associative striatum of the Sapap3-KO mouse; myelination per se seems unaffected in associative and sensorimotor cortico-striatal circuits.
Published: 14 October 2021
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101351

Abstract:
The purpose of this article was to systematically review and organise the available literature devoted to the topic of depressive symptoms and burnout in football players. A systematic search was conducted in Web of Science, Scopus, SPORTdiscus, PubMed, and Psychinfo for articles published up to June 2020. The searches yielded 1589 articles, and after the screening process, a total of 18 studies met the eligibility criteria and were included for review. Playing position and conflicts with coach/management seems to have a direct influence on the prevalence of depressive symptoms in current players as do the injuries and life events of former players. During the pre-competition phase, most of the athletes displayed reduced rates, indicating burnout. An exploration of the mental health of football players will help to create models of care and guide professionals so that they may help players achieve better performance while also having better wellbeing. Understanding how to prevent and cope with the emotional wellbeing of football players will be possible to guide players and coaches.
Published: 14 October 2021
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101349

Abstract:
Aims: To introduce a resource supporting research on Gulf War illness (GWI) and related disorders, the Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses Biorepository (GWVIB). Methods: Gulf War era veterans (GWVs) are recruited nationally and enrolled via telephone and email/postal mail. Enrolled veterans receive annual telephone and mail follow-up to collect health data until their passing. A postmortem neuropathological examination is performed, and fixed and frozen brain and spinal cord samples are banked to support research. Investigators studying GWI and related disorders may request tissue and data from the GWVIB. Results: As of September 2021, 127 GWVs from 39 states were enrolled; 60 met the criteria for GWI, and 14 met the criteria for chronic multisymptom illness (CMI). Enrollees have been followed up to six years. Postmortem tissue recoveries were performed on 14 GWVs. The most commonly found neuropathologies included amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and Lewy body disease. Tissue was of good quality with an average RNA integrity number of 5.8 (SD = 1.0) and ≥4.8 in all of the cases. Discussion: The availability of health data and high-quality CNS tissue from this well-characterized GWV cohort will support research on GWI and related disorders affecting GWVs. Enrollment is ongoing.
Published: 14 October 2021
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101354

Abstract:
Background: The data on neurological manifestations in COVID-19 patients has been rapidly increasing throughout the pandemic. However, data on CNS and PNS inflammatory disorders in COVID-19 with respect to CSF, serum and neuroimaging markers is still lacking. Methods: We screened all articles resulting from a search of PubMed, Google Scholar and Scopus, using the keywords “SARS-CoV-2 and neurological complication”, “SARS-CoV-2 and CNS Complication” and “SARS-CoV-2 and PNS Complication” looking for transverse myelitis, vasculitis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, acute hemorrhagic necrotizing encephalitis (AHNE), cytotoxic lesion of the corpus callosum (CLOCC) and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), published between 1 December 2019 to 15 July 2021. Results: Of the included 106 CNS manifestations in our study, CNS inflammatory disorders included transverse myelitis (17, 14.7%), AHNE (12, 10.4%), ADEM (11, 9.5%), CLOCC/MERS (10, 8.6%) and vasculitis (4, 3.4%). Others were nonspecific encephalopathy, encephalitis, seizures and stroke. Most patients were >50 years old (75, 70.8%) and male (64, 65.3%). Most (59, 63.4%) were severe cases of COVID-19 and 18 (18%) patients died. Of the included 94 PNS manifestations in our study, GBS (89, 92.7%) was the most common. Most of these patients were >50 years old (73, 77.7%) and male (59, 64.1%). Most (62, 67.4%) were non-severe cases of COVID-19, and ten patients died. Conclusion: Our comprehensive review of the clinical and paraclinical findings in CNS and PNS manifestations of COVID-19 provide insights on the pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2 and its neurotropism. The higher frequency and severity of CNS manifestations should be noted by physicians for increased vigilance in particular COVID-19 cases.
Published: 14 October 2021
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101350

Abstract:
Background: Impairment in navigation abilities and object location memory are often seen in early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), yet these constructs are not included in standard neuropsychological assessment. We investigated the differential ability of a short digital spatial memory test in mild AD dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Methods: 21 patients with AD dementia (66.9 ± 6.9; 47% female), 22 patients with MCI (69.6 ± 8.3; 46% female) and 21 patients with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) (62.2 ± 8.9; 48% female) from the Amsterdam Dementia Cohort performed the Object Location Memory Test (OLMT), consisting of a visual perception and memory trial, and the Virtual Tübingen (VT) test, consisting of a scene recognition, route continuation, route ordering and distance comparison task. The correlations with other cognitive domains were examined. Results: Patients with mild AD dementia (Z: −2.51 ± 1.15) and MCI (Z: −1.81 ± 0.92) performed worse than participants with SCD (Z: 0.0 ± 1.0) on the OLMT. Scene recognition and route continuation were equally impaired in patients with AD dementia (Z: −1.14 ± 0.73; Z: −1.44 ± 1.13) and MCI (Z: −1.37 ± 1.25; Z: −1.21 ± 1.07). Route ordering was only impaired in patients with MCI (Z: −0.82 ± 0.78). Weak to moderate correlations were found between route continuation and memory (r(64) = 0.40, p< 0.01), and between route ordering and attention (r(64) = 0.33, p< 0.01), but not for the OLMT. Conclusion: A short digital spatial memory test battery was able to detect object location memory and navigation impairment in patients with mild AD dementia and MCI, highlighting the value of incorporating such a test battery in standard neuropsychological assessment.
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