Brain Sciences

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ISSN / EISSN : 2076-3425 / 2076-3425
Published by: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 4,259
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Published: 16 May 2022
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12050651

Abstract:
Locus coeruleus (LC) neurons are controlled by glutamatergic inputs. Here, we studied in brain slices of neonatal rats NMDA and glutamate effects on phase-locked LC neuron spiking at ~1 Hz summating to ~0.2 s-lasting bell-shaped local field potential (LFP). NMDA: 10 μM accelerated LFP 1.7-fold, whereas 25 and 50 μM, respectively, increased its rate 3.2- and 4.6-fold while merging discrete events into 43 and 56% shorter oscillations. After 4–6 min, LFP oscillations stopped every 6 s for 1 s, resulting in ‘oscillation trains’. A dose of 32 μM depolarized neurons by 8.4 mV to cause 7.2-fold accelerated spiking at reduced jitter and enhanced synchrony with the LFP, as evident from cross-correlation. Glutamate: 25–50 μM made rhythm more irregular and the LFP pattern could transform into 2.7-fold longer-lasting multipeak discharge. In 100 μM, LFP amplitude and duration declined. In 25–50 μM, neurons depolarized by 5 mV to cause 3.7-fold acceleration of spiking that was less synchronized with LFP. Both agents: evoked ‘post-agonist depression’ of LFP that correlated with the amplitude and kinetics of Vm hyperpolarization. The findings show that accelerated spiking during NMDA and glutamate is associated with enhanced or attenuated LC synchrony, respectively, causing distinct LFP pattern transformations. Shaping of LC population discharge dynamics by ionotropic glutamate receptors potentially fine-tunes its influence on brain functions.
Published: 16 May 2022
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12050653

Abstract:
Developmental Dyscalculia (DD) signifies a failure in representing quantities, which impairs the performance of basic math operations and schooling achievement during childhood. The lack of specificity in assessment measures and respective cut-offs are the most challenging factors to identify children with DD, particularly in disadvantaged educational contexts. This research is focused on a numerical cognition battery for children, designed to diagnose DD through 12 subtests. The aims of the present study were twofold: to examine the prevalence of DD in a country with generally low educational attainment, by comparing z-scores and percentiles, and to test three neurodevelopmental models of numerical cognition based on performance in this battery. Participants were 304 Brazilian school children aged 7–12 years of both sexes (143 girls), assessed by the Zareki-R. Performances on subtests and the total score increase with age without gender differences. The prevalence of DD was 4.6% using the fifth percentile and increased to 7.4% via z-score (in total 22 out of 304 children were diagnosed with DD). We suggest that a minus 1.5 standard deviation in the total score of the Zareki-R is a useful criterion in the clinical or educational context. Nevertheless, a percentile ≤ 5 seems more suitable for research purposes, especially in developing countries because the socioeconomic environment or/and educational background are strong confounder factors to diagnosis. The four-factor structure, based on von Aster and Shalev’s model of numerical cognition (Number Sense, Number Comprehension, Number Production and Calculation), was the best model, with significant correlations ranging from 0.89 to 0.97 at the 0.001 level.
Published: 16 May 2022
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12050650

Abstract:
Background: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and tic disorders (TDs) are closely related and considered to etiologically overlap. Both disorders are characterized by repetitive behaviors. TD and OCD often co-occur. The high comorbidity between OCD and TD individuals suggests that we also need to pay more attention to the homogeneity and heterogeneity between TS and OCD. To date, there has been no systematic nationwide epidemiological survey of the mental health (including tic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder) of children and adolescents in China. Methods: A two-stage epidemiological study of psychiatric point prevalence was conducted. We used the multistage cluster stratified random sampling strategy to assess five provinces of China. The Child Behavior Checklist was used to identify behavioral problems among the enrolled students in the first stage. The results from the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview for Children and Adolescents and evaluations from two psychiatrists based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV were used to make a diagnosis. Point weighted prevalence for TD and OCD was estimated. We adjusted prevalence estimates with the product of sampling weights and poststratification weights. Standard error values and 95% confidential intervals were generated with Taylor series linearization. Rao–Scott adjusted chi-square (χ2) tests were employed to compare the prevalence estimates of different age and sex groups. Results: In the first stage, 73,992 participants aged 6–16 years old were selected. The prevalence rates of OCD and TDs were 1.37% (95% CI: 1.28–1.45) and 2.46% (95% CI: 2.35–2.57), respectively. The prevalence of OCD was found to be higher in girls (p < 0.001) and higher in boys with transient tic disorder (TTD) (p < 0.001) and Tourette’s syndrome (TS) (p < 0.001). The most common comorbidity of TS was OCD (40.73%), and for OCD, it was TS (11.36%). Conclusions: Our study is the first nationwide survey on the prevalence of TD (2.46%) and OCD (1.37%) in school students aged 6–16 years old in China. The high comorbidity between OCD and TD individuals suggested overlap based on the prevalence dimensions, which might be influenced by age and sex. This result suggested that we also need to pay more attention to the homogeneity and heterogeneity between TS and OCD.
Published: 16 May 2022
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12050654

Abstract:
Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) often suffer from non-motor symptoms, which may be caused by serotonergic dysfunction. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) in the subthalamic nucleus (STN) may also influence non-motor symptoms. The aim of this study is to investigate how the cerebral 5-HT system associates to disturbances in cognition and mood in PD patients with DBS-STN turned on and off. We used psychological tests and questionnaires to evaluate cognitive function and the effects on mood from turning DBS-STN off. We applied a novel PET neuroimaging methodology to evaluate the integrity of the cerebral serotonin system. We measured 5-HT1BR binding in 13 DBS-STN-treated PD patients, at baseline and after turning DBS off. Thirteen age-matched volunteers served as controls. The measures for cognition and mood were correlated to the 5-HT1BR availability in temporal limbic cortex. 5-HT1BR binding was proportional to working memory performance and inverse proportional to affective bias for face recognition. When DBS is turned off, patients feel less vigorous; the higher the limbic and temporal 5-HT1BR binding, the more they are affected by DBS being turned off. Our study suggests that cerebral 5-HTR binding is associated with non-motor symptoms, and that preservation of serotonergic functions may be predictive of DBS-STN effects.
Published: 16 May 2022
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12050652

Abstract:
Glioblastoma are the most common primary malignant brain tumors with a highly infiltrative behavior. The extent of resection of the enhancing component has been shown to be correlated to survival. Recently, it has been proposed to move the resection beyond the contrast-enhanced portion into the MR hyper intense tissue which typically surrounds the tumor, the so-called supra marginal resection (SMR). Though it should be associated with better overall survival (OS), a potential harmful resection must be avoided in order not to create new neurological deficits. Through this work, we aimed to perform a critical review of SMR in patients with Glioblastoma. A Medline database search and a pooled meta-analysis of HRs were conducted; 19 articles were included. Meta-analysis revealed a pooled OS HR of 0.64 (p = 0.052). SMR is generally considered as the resection of any T1w gadolinium-enhanced tumor exceeding FLAIR volume, but no consensus exists about the amount of volume that must be resected to have an OS gain. Equally, the role and the weight of several pre-operative features (tumor volume, location, eloquence, etc.), the intraoperative methods to extend resection, and the post-operative deficits, need to be considered more deeply in future studies
Published: 15 May 2022
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12050649

Abstract:
Perception of the same narrative can vary between individuals depending on a listener’s previous experiences. We studied whether and how cultural family background may shape the processing of an audiobook in the human brain. During functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), 48 healthy volunteers from two different cultural family backgrounds listened to an audiobook depicting the intercultural social life of young adults with the respective cultural backgrounds. Shared cultural family background increased inter-subject correlation of hemodynamic activity in the left-hemispheric Heschl’s gyrus, insula, superior temporal gyrus, lingual gyrus and middle temporal gyrus, in the right-hemispheric lateral occipital and posterior cingulate cortices as well as in the bilateral middle temporal gyrus, middle occipital gyrus and precuneus. Thus, cultural family background is reflected in multiple areas of speech processing in the brain and may also modulate visual imagery. After neuroimaging, the participants listened to the narrative again and, after each passage, produced a list of words that had been on their minds when they heard the audiobook during neuroimaging. Cultural family background was reflected as semantic differences in these word lists as quantified by a word2vec-generated semantic model. Our findings may depict enhanced mutual understanding between persons who share similar cultural family backgrounds.
Published: 15 May 2022
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12050648

Abstract:
Purpose: Neuropathic pain often originates from nerve injury or diseases of the somatosensory nervous system. However, its specific pathogenesis remains unclear. The requirement for excitatory synaptic plasticity in pain-related syndromes has been demonstrated. A recent study reported that pentraxin-3 is important in glutamatergic synaptic formation and function. Meanwhile, nectin-1 mediates synaptogenesis in neurological disorders. The present study aimed to evaluate whether pentraxin-3 and nectin-1 modulate spinal nerve damage-related neuropathic pain in male mice. Methods: L4 spinal nerve ligation (SNL) in male mice was performed to induce experimental neuropathic pain. Mechanical allodynia and heat hyperalgesia following SNL were based on paw withdrawal (PW) threshold and PW latency, respectively. Spinal pentraxin-3 levels and nectin-1 expression following SNL were examined. Pentraxin-3 and nectin-1 knockdown models were established by the shRNA method. These models were used with a recombinant pentraxin-3 cell model to investigate the underlying mechanisms of SNL. Results: The SNL operation generated persistent decreases in mechanical PW threshold and thermal PW latency, with subsequent long-lasting elevations in spinal pentraxin-3 and nectin-1 expression levels. Pentraxin-3 knockdown reduced SNL-associated neuropathic pain behaviors as well as nectin-1 amounts in the spinal dorsal horn. Nectin-1 deficiency impaired mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia following spinal nerve injury. The application of recombinant pentraxin-3 in the spinal cord triggered an acute nociception phenotype and induced spinal overexpression of nectin-1. The intrathecal knockdown of nectin-1 prevented exogenous pentraxin-3-evoked pain hypersensitivity. Conclusions: The findings suggest spinal pentraxin-3 is required for SNL-triggered neuropathic pain via nectin-1 upregulation in male mice.
Published: 14 May 2022
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12050645

Abstract:
Cognitive control is essential to daily life. Task switching is a classical paradigm used to study cognitive control. Previous researchers have studied the representation of different abstract hierarchical rules in the prefrontal cortex and explored the process mechanisms of task switching. However, the differences between the different hierarchical levels of task switching, especially the related neural mechanisms in the prefrontal cortex, are still unclear. This review focuses on and summarizes this issue. The present study suggests that the higher the hierarchical rule shifting or task switching, the more anterior the activation is on the prefrontal cortex. In addition, a high hierarchy of rules or tasks is more abstract, which leads to a larger switching cost.
Published: 14 May 2022
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12050646

Abstract:
Recent neuroimaging studies have revealed important aspects of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms of migraine suggesting abnormal brain energy metabolism and altered functional connectivity. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) studies investigated migraine patients in the interictal or ictal state. This first-of-its-kind study aimed to investigate the whole migraine cycle using 1H-MRS and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). A migraine patient underwent 1H-MRS and resting-state fMRI for 21 consecutive days, regardless of whether he was in an interictal or ictal state. Metabolite ratios were assessed and compared to the intrinsic connectivity of subcortical brain areas. Probable migraine phase-dependent changes in N-acetyl aspartate (NAA)/total creatine (tCr) and choline (Cho)/tCr levels are found in the left occipital lobe and left basal ganglia. NAA reflects neuronal integrity and Cho cellular membrane turnover. Such abnormalities may increase the susceptibility to excitatory migraine triggers. Functional connectivity between the right hippocampus and right or left pallidum was strongly correlated to the NAA/Cho ratio in the right thalamus, suggesting neurochemical modulation of these brain areas through thalamic connections. To draw statistically significant conclusions a larger cohort is needed.
Published: 14 May 2022
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12050647

Abstract:
Rhythmic passive movements are often used during rehabilitation to improve physical functions. Previous studies have explored oscillatory activities in the sensorimotor cortex during active movements; however, the relationship between movement rhythms and oscillatory activities during passive movements has not been substantially tested. Therefore, we aimed to quantitatively identify changes in cortical oscillations during rhythmic passive movements. Twenty healthy young adults participated in our study. We placed electroencephalography electrodes over a nine-position grid; the center was oriented on the transcranial magnetic stimulation hotspot of the biceps brachii muscle. Passive movements included elbow flexion and extension; the participants were instructed to perform rhythmic elbow flexion and extension in response to the blinking of 0.67 Hz light-emitting diode lamps. The coherence between high-beta and low-gamma oscillations near the hotspot of the biceps brachii muscle and passive movement rhythms was higher than that between alpha oscillation and passive movement rhythm. These results imply that alpha, beta, and gamma oscillations of the primary motor cortex are differently related to passive movement rhythm.
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