Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 28

Search results for: neurocognitive

28 A Positive Neuroscience Perspective for Child Development and Special Education

Authors: Amedeo D'Angiulli, Kylie Schibli


Traditionally, children’s brain development research has emphasized the limitative aspects of disability and impairment, electing as an explanatory model the classical clinical notions of brain lesion or functional deficit. In contrast, Positive Educational Neuroscience (PEN) is a new approach that emphasizes strengths and human flourishing related to the brain by exploring how learning practices have the potential to enhance neurocognitive flexibility through neuroplastic overcompensation. This mini-review provides an overview of PEN and shows how it links to the concept of neurocognitive flexibility. We provide examples of how the present concept of neurocognitive flexibility can be applied to special education by exploring examples of neuroplasticity in the learning domain, including: (1) learning to draw in congenitally totally blind children, and (2) music training in children from disadvantaged neighborhoods. PEN encourages educators to focus on children’s strengths by recognizing the brain’s capacity for positive change and to incorporate activities that support children’s individual development.

Keywords: neurocognitive development, positive educational neuroscience, sociocultural approach, special education

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27 Would Intra-Individual Variability in Attention to Be the Indicator of Impending the Senior Adults at Risk of Cognitive Decline: Evidence from Attention Network Test(ANT)

Authors: Hanna Lu, Sandra S. M. Chan, Linda C. W. Lam


Objectives: Intra-individual variability (IIV) has been considered as a biomarker of healthy ageing. However, the composite role of IIV in attention, as an impending indicator for neurocognitive disorders warrants further exploration. This study aims to investigate the IIV, as well as their relationships with attention network functions in adults with neurocognitive disorders (NCD). Methods: 36adults with NCD due to Alzheimer’s disease(NCD-AD), 31adults with NCD due to vascular disease (NCD-vascular), and 137 healthy controls were recruited. Intraindividual standard deviations (iSD) and intraindividual coefficient of variation of reaction time (ICV-RT) were used to evaluate the IIV. Results: NCD groups showed greater IIV (iSD: F= 11.803, p < 0.001; ICV-RT:F= 9.07, p < 0.001). In ROC analyses, the indices of IIV could differentiateNCD-AD (iSD: AUC value = 0.687, p= 0.001; ICV-RT: AUC value = 0.677, p= 0.001) and NCD-vascular (iSD: AUC value = 0.631, p= 0.023;ICV-RT: AUC value = 0.615, p= 0.045) from healthy controls. Moreover, the processing speed could distinguish NCD-AD from NCD-vascular (AUC value = 0.647, p= 0.040). Discussion: Intra-individual variability in attention provides a stable measure of cognitive performance, and seems to help distinguish the senior adults with different cognitive status.

Keywords: intra-individual variability, attention network, neurocognitive disorders, ageing

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26 Neurocognitive and Executive Function in Cocaine Addicted Females

Authors: Gwendolyn Royal-Smith


Cocaine ranks as one of the world’s most addictive and commonly abused stimulant drugs. Recent evidence indicates that the abuse of cocaine has risen so quickly among females that this group now accounts for about 40 percent of all users in the United States. Neuropsychological studies have demonstrated that specific neural activation patterns carry higher risks for neurocognitive and executive function in cocaine addicted females thereby increasing their vulnerability for poorer treatment outcomes and more frequent post-treatment relapse when compared to males. This study examined secondary data with a convenience sample of 164 cocaine addicted male and females to assess neurocognitive and executive function. The principal objective of this study was to assess whether individual performance on the Stroop Word Color Task is predictive of treatment success by gender. A second objective of the study evaluated whether individual performance employing neurocognitive measures including the Stroop Word-Color task, the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RALVT), the Iowa Gambling Task, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WISCT), the total score from the Barratte Impulsiveness Scale (Version 11) (BIS-11) and the total score from the Frontal Systems Behavioral Scale (FrSBE) test demonstrated differences in neurocognitive and executive function performance by gender. Logistic regression models were employed utilizing a covariate adjusted model application. Initial analyses of the Stroop Word color tasks indicated significant differences in the performance of males and females, with females experiencing more challenges in derived interference reaction time and associate recall ability. In early testing including the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RALVT), the number of advantageous vs disadvantageous cards from the Iowa Gambling Task, the number of perseverance errors from the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WISCT), the total score from the Barratte Impulsiveness Scale (Version 11) (BIS-11) and the total score from the Frontal Systems Behavioral Scale, results were mixed with women scoring lower in multiple indicators in both neurocognitive and executive function.

Keywords: cocaine addiction, gender, neuropsychology, neurocognitive, executive function

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25 A New Perspective in Cervical Dystonia: Neurocognitive Impairment

Authors: Yesim Sucullu Karadag, Pinar Kurt, Sule Bilen, Nese Subutay Oztekin, Fikri Ak


Background: Primary cervical dystonia is thought to be a purely motor disorder. But recent studies revealed that patients with dystonia had additional non-motor features. Sensory and psychiatric disturbances could be included into the non-motor spectrum of dystonia. The Basal Ganglia receive inputs from all cortical areas and throughout the thalamus project to several cortical areas, thus participating to circuits that have been linked to motor as well as sensory, emotional and cognitive functions. However, there are limited studies indicating cognitive impairment in patients with cervical dystonia. More evidence is required regarding neurocognitive functioning in these patients. Objective: This study is aimed to investigate neurocognitive profile of cervical dystonia patients in comparison to healthy controls (HC) by employing a detailed set of neuropsychological tests in addition to self-reported instruments. Methods: Totally 29 (M/F: 7/22) cervical dystonia patients and 30 HC (M/F: 10/20) were included into the study. Exclusion criteria were depression and not given informed consent. Standard demographic, educational data and clinical reports (disease duration, disability index) were recorded for all patients. After a careful neurological evaluation, all subjects were given a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests: Self report of neuropsychological condition (by visual analogue scale-VAS, 0-100), RAVLT, STROOP, PASAT, TMT, SDMT, JLOT, DST, COWAT, ACTT, and FST. Patients and HC were compared regarding demographic, clinical features and neurocognitive tests. Also correlation between disease duration, disability index and self report -VAS were assessed. Results: There was no difference between patients and HCs regarding socio-demographic variables such as age, gender and years of education (p levels were 0.36, 0.436, 0.869; respectively). All of the patients were assessed at the peak of botulinum toxine effect and they were not taking an anticholinergic agent or benzodiazepine. Dystonia patients had significantly impaired verbal learning and memory (RAVLT, p<0.001), divided attention and working memory (ACTT, p<0.001), attention speed (TMT-A and B, p=0.008, 0.050), executive functions (PASAT, p<0.001; SDMT, p= 0.001; FST, p<0.001), verbal attention (DST, p=0.001), verbal fluency (COWAT, p<0.001), visio-spatial processing (JLOT, p<0.001) in comparison to healthy controls. But focused attention (STROOP-spontaneous correction) was not different between two groups (p>0.05). No relationship was found regarding disease duration and disability index with any neurocognitive tests. Conclusions: Our study showed that neurocognitive functions of dystonia patients were worse than control group with the similar age, sex, and education independently clinical expression like disease duration and disability index. This situation may be the result of possible cortical and subcortical changes in dystonia patients. Advanced neuroimaging techniques might be helpful to explain these changes in cervical dystonia patients.

Keywords: cervical dystonia, neurocognitive impairment, neuropsychological test, dystonia disability index

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24 A Correlational Study between Parentification and Memory Retention among Parentified Female Adolescents: A Neurocognitive Perspective on Parentification

Authors: Mary Dorothy Roxas, Jeian Mae Dungca, Reginald Agor, Beatriz Figueroa, Lennon Andre Patricio, Honey Joy Cabahug


Parentification occurs when children are expected to provide instrumental or emotional caregiving within the family. It was found that parentification has the latter effect on adolescents’ cognitive and emotional vulnerability. Attachment theory helps clarify the process of parentification as it involves the relationship between the child and the parent. Carandang theory of “taga-salo” helps explain parentification in the Philippines setting. The present study examined the potential risk of parentification on adolescent’s memory retention by hypothesizing that there is a correlation between the two. The research was conducted with 249 female adolescents ages 12-24, residing in Valenzuela City. Results indicated that there is a significant inverse correlation between parentification and memory retention.

Keywords: memory retention, neurocognitive, parentification, stress

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23 Overweight and Neurocognitive Functioning: Unraveling the Antagonistic Relationship in Adolescents

Authors: Swati Bajpai, S. P. K Jena


Background: There is dramatic increase in the prevalence and severity of overweight in adolescents, raising concerns about their psychosocial and cognitive consequences, thereby indicating the immediate need to understand the effects of increased weight on scholastic performance. Although the body of research is currently limited, available results have identified an inverse relationship between obesity and cognition in adolescents. Aim: to examine the association between increased Body Mass Index in adolescents and their neurocognitive functioning. Methods: A case –control study of 28 subjects in the age group of 11-17 years (14 Males and 14 females) was taken on the basis of main inclusion criteria (Body Mass Index). All of them were randomized to (experimental group: overweight) and (control group: normal weighted). A complete neurocognitive assessment was carried out using validated psychological scales namely, Color Progressive Matrices (to assess intelligence); Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test (Perceptual motor functioning); PGI-Memory Scale for Children (memory functioning) and Malin’s Intelligence Scale Indian Children (verbal and performance ability). Results: statistical analysis of the results depicted that 57% of the experimental group lack in cognitive abilities, especially in general knowledge (99.1±12.0 vs. 102.8±6.7), working memory (91.5±8.4 vs. 93.1±8.7), concrete ability (82.3±11.5 vs. 92.6±1.7) and perceptual motor functioning (1.5±1.0 vs. 0.3±0.9) as compared to control group. Conclusion: Our investigations suggest that weight gain results, at least in part, from a neurological predisposition characterized by reduced executive function, and in turn obesity itself has a compounding negative impact on the brain. Though, larger sample is needed to make more affirmative claims.

Keywords: adolescents, body mass index, neurocognition, obesity

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22 Scenario Based Reaction Time Analysis for Seafarers

Authors: Umut Tac, Leyla Tavacioglu, Pelin Bolat


Human factor has been one of the elements that cause vulnerabilities which can be resulted with accidents in maritime transportation. When the roots of human factor based accidents are analyzed, gaps in performing cognitive abilities (reaction time, attention, memory…) are faced as the main reasons for the vulnerabilities in complex environment of maritime systems. Thus cognitive processes in maritime systems have arisen important subject that should be investigated comprehensively. At this point, neurocognitive tests such as reaction time analysis tests have been used as coherent tools that enable us to make valid assessments for cognitive status. In this respect, the aim of this study is to evaluate the reaction time (response time or latency) of seafarers due to their occupational experience and age. For this study, reaction time for different maneuverers has been taken while the participants were performing a sea voyage through a simulator which was run up with a certain scenario. After collecting the data for reaction time, a statistical analyze has been done to understand the relation between occupational experience and cognitive abilities.

Keywords: cognitive abilities, human factor, neurocognitive test battery, reaction time

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21 Applying the Eye Tracking Technique for the Evaluation of Oculomotor System in Patients Survived after Cerebellar Tumors

Authors: Marina Shurupova, Victor Anisimov, Alexander Latanov


Background: The cerebellar lesions inevitably provoke oculomotor impairments in patients of different age. Symptoms of subtentorial tumors, particularly medulloblastomas, include static and dynamic coordination disorders (ataxia, asynergia, imbalance), hypo-muscle tonus, disruption of the cranial nerves, and within the oculomotor system - nystagmus (fine or gross). Subtentorial tumors can also affect the areas of cerebellum that control the oculomotor system. The noninvasive eye-tracking technology allows obtaining multiple oculomotor characteristics such as the number of fixations and their duration, amplitude, latency and velocity of saccades, trajectory and scan path of gaze during the process of the visual field navigation. Eye tracking could be very useful in clinical studies serving as convenient and effective tool for diagnostics. The aim: We studied the dynamics of oculomotor system functioning in patients undergoing remission from cerebellar tumors removal surgeries and following neurocognitive rehabilitation. Methods: 38 children (23 boys, 15 girls, 9-17 years old) that have recovered from the cerebellar tumor-removal surgeries, radiation therapy and chemotherapy and were undergoing course of neurocognitive rehabilitation participated in the study. Two tests were carried out to evaluate oculomotor performance - gaze stability test and counting test. The monocular eye movements were recorded with eye tracker ArringtonResearch (60 Hz). Two experimental sessions with both tests were conducted before and after rehabilitation courses. Results: Within the final session of both tests we observed remarkable improvement in oculomotor performance: 1) in the gaze stability test the spread of gaze positions significantly declined compared to the first session, and 2) the visual path in counting test significantly shortened both compared to the first session. Thus, neurocognitive rehabilitation improved the functioning of the oculomotor system in patients following the cerebellar tumor removal surgeries and subsequent therapy. Conclusions: The experimental data support the effectiveness of the utilization of the eye tracking technique as diagnostic tool in the field of neurooncology.

Keywords: eye tracking, rehabilitation, cerebellar tumors, oculomotor system

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20 Diagnostic Contribution of the MMSE-2:EV in the Detection and Monitoring of the Cognitive Impairment: Case Studies

Authors: Cornelia-Eugenia Munteanu


The goal of this paper is to present the diagnostic contribution that the screening instrument, Mini-Mental State Examination-2: Expanded Version (MMSE-2:EV), brings in detecting the cognitive impairment or in monitoring the progress of degenerative disorders. The diagnostic signification is underlined by the interpretation of the MMSE-2:EV scores, resulted from the test application to patients with mild and major neurocognitive disorders. The original MMSE is one of the most widely used screening tools for detecting the cognitive impairment, in clinical settings, but also in the field of neurocognitive research. Now, the practitioners and researchers are turning their attention to the MMSE-2. To enhance its clinical utility, the new instrument was enriched and reorganized in three versions (MMSE-2:BV, MMSE-2:SV and MMSE-2:EV), each with two forms: blue and red. The MMSE-2 was adapted and used successfully in Romania since 2013. The cases were selected from current practice, in order to cover vast and significant neurocognitive pathology: mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, mixed dementia, Parkinson’s disease, conversion of the mild cognitive impairment into Alzheimer’s disease. The MMSE-2:EV version was used: it was applied one month after the initial assessment, three months after the first reevaluation and then every six months, alternating the blue and red forms. Correlated with age and educational level, the raw scores were converted in T scores and then, with the mean and the standard deviation, the z scores were calculated. The differences of raw scores between the evaluations were analyzed from the point of view of statistic signification, in order to establish the progression in time of the disease. The results indicated that the psycho-diagnostic approach for the evaluation of the cognitive impairment with MMSE-2:EV is safe and the application interval is optimal. The alternation of the forms prevents the learning phenomenon. The diagnostic accuracy and efficient therapeutic conduct derive from the usage of the national test norms. In clinical settings with a large flux of patients, the application of the MMSE-2:EV is a safe and fast psycho-diagnostic solution. The clinicians can draw objective decisions and for the patients: it doesn’t take too much time and energy, it doesn’t bother them and it doesn’t force them to travel frequently.

Keywords: MMSE-2, dementia, cognitive impairment, neuropsychology

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19 The Interaction between Blood-Brain Barrier and the Cerebral Lymphatics Proposes Therapeutic Method for Alzheimer’S Disease

Authors: M. Klimova, O. Semyachkina-Glushkovskaya, J. Kurts, E. Zinchenko, N. Navolokin, A. Shirokov, A. Dubrovsky, A. Abdurashitov, A. Terskov, A. Mamedova, I. Agranovich, T. Antonova, I. Blokhina


The direction for research of Alzheimer's disease is to find an effective non-invasive and non-pharmacological way of treatment. Here we tested our hypothesis that the opening of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) induces activation of lymphatic drainage and clearing functions that can be used as a method for non-invasive stimulation of clearance of beta-amyloid and therapy of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). To test our hypothesis, in this study on healthy male mice we analyzed the interaction between BBB opening by repeated loud music (100-10000 Hz, 100 dB, duration 2 h: 60 sec – sound; 60 sec - pause) and functional changes in the meningeal lymphatic vessels (MLVs). We demonstrate clearance of dextran 70 kDa (i.v. injection), fluorescent beta-amyloid (intrahippocampal injection) and gold nanorods (intracortical injection) via MLV that significantly increased after the opening of BBB. Our studies also demonstrate that the BBB opening was associated with the improvement of neurocognitive status in mice with AD. Thus, we uncover therapeutic effects of BBB opening by loud music, such as non-invasive stimulation of lymphatic clearance of beta-amyloid in mice with AD, accompanied by improvement of their neurocognitive status. Our data are consistent with other results suggesting the therapeutic effect of BBB opening by focused ultrasound without drugs for patients with AD. This research was supported by a grant from RSF 18-75-10033

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, beta-amyloid, blood-brain barrier, meningeal lymphatic vessels, repeated loud music

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18 The Differences and Similarities in Neurocognitive Deficits in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Depression

Authors: Boris Ershov


Depression is the most common mood disorder experienced by patients who have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is associated with poorer cognitive functional outcomes. However, in some cases, similar cognitive impairments can also be observed in depression. There is not enough information about the features of the cognitive deficit in patients with TBI in relation to patients with depression. TBI patients without depressive symptoms (TBInD, n25), TBI patients with depressive symptoms (TBID, n31), and 28 patients with bipolar II disorder (BP) were included in the study. There were no significant differences in participants in respect to age, handedness and educational level. The patients clinical status was determined by using Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). All participants completed a cognitive battery (The Brief Assessment of Cognition in Affective Disorders (BAC-A)). Additionally, the Rey–Osterrieth Complex Figure (ROCF) was used to assess visuospatial construction abilities and visual memory, as well as planning and organizational skills. Compared to BP, TBInD and TBID showed a significant impairments in visuomotor abilities, verbal and visual memory. There were no significant differences between BP and TBID groups in working memory, speed of information processing, problem solving. Interference effect (cognitive inhibition) was significantly greater in TBInD and TBID compared to BP. Memory bias towards mood-related information in BP and TBID was greater in comparison with TBInD. These results suggest that depressive symptoms are associated with impairments some executive functions in combination at decrease of speed of information processing.

Keywords: bipolar II disorder, depression, neurocognitive deficits, traumatic brain injury

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17 Therapeutic Efficacy of Clompanus Pubescens Leaves Fractions via Downregulation of Neuronal Cholinesterases/NA⁺-K⁺ ATPase/IL-1 β and Improving the Neurocognitive and Antioxidants Status of Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats

Authors: Amos Sunday Onikanni, Bashir Lawal, Babatunji Emmanuel Oyinloye, Gomaa Mostafa-Hedeab, Mohammed Alorabi, Simona Cavalu, Augustine O. Olusola, Chih-Hao Wang, Gaber El-Saber Batiha


The increasing global burden of diabetes mellitus has called for the search for a therapeutic alternative that offers better activities and safety than conventional chemotherapy. Herein, we evaluated the neuroprotective and antioxidant properties of different fractions (ethyl acetate, N-butanol and residual aqueous) of Clompanus pubescens leaves in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. Our results revealed a significant elevation in the levels of blood glucose, pro-inflammatory cytokines, lipid peroxidation, neuronal activities of acetylcholinesterase, butyrylcholinesterase, nitric oxide, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and Na+/K+-ATPase in diabetic non treated rats. In addition, decreased levels of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants were observed. Treatment with different fractions of C. pubescens leaves resulted in a significant reversal of the biochemical alteration and improved the neurocognitive deficit in STZ-induced diabetic rats. However, the ethyl-acetate fraction demonstrated higher activities than the other fractions and was characterized for its phytoconstituents, revealing the presence of Gallic acid (713.00 ppm), catechin (0.91 ppm), ferulic acid (0.98 ppm), rutin (59.82 ppm), quercetin (3.22 ppm) and kaempferol (4.07 ppm). Our molecular docking analysis revealed that these compounds exhibited different binding affinities and potentials for targeting BChE/AChE/ IL-1 β/Na+-K+-ATPase. However, only Kampferol and ferulic exhibited good drug-like, ADMET, and permeability properties suitable for use as a neuronal drug target agent. Hence, the ethyl-acetate fraction of C. pubescent leaves could be considered a source of promising bioactive metabolite for the treatment and management of cognitive impairments related to type II diabetes mellitus.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus, neuroprotective, antioxidant, pro-inflammatory cytokines

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16 Cognitive Decline in People Living with HIV in India and Correlation with Neurometabolites Using 3T Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS): A Cross-Sectional Study

Authors: Kartik Gupta, Virendra Kumar, Sanjeev Sinha, N. Jagannathan


Introduction: A significant number of patients having human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection show a neurocognitive decline (NCD) ranging from minor cognitive impairment to severe dementia. The possible causes of NCD in HIV-infected patients include brain injury by HIV before cART, neurotoxic viral proteins and metabolic abnormalities. In the present study, we compared the level of NCD in asymptomatic HIV-infected patients with changes in brain metabolites measured by using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Methods: 43 HIV-positive patients (30 males and 13 females) coming to ART center of the hospital and HIV-seronegative healthy subjects were recruited for the study. All the participants completed MRI and MRS examination, detailed clinical assessments and a battery of neuropsychological tests. All the MR investigations were carried out at 3.0T MRI scanner (Ingenia/Achieva, Philips, Netherlands). MRI examination protocol included the acquisition of T2-weighted imaging in axial, coronal and sagittal planes, T1-weighted, FLAIR, and DWI images in the axial plane. Patients who showed any apparent lesion on MRI were excluded from the study. T2-weighted images in three orthogonal planes were used to localize the voxel in left frontal lobe white matter (FWM) and left basal ganglia (BG) for single voxel MRS. Single voxel MRS spectra were acquired with a point resolved spectroscopy (PRESS) localization pulse sequence at an echo time (TE) of 35 ms and a repetition time (TR) of 2000 ms with 64 or 128 scans. Automated preprocessing and determination of absolute concentrations of metabolites were estimated using LCModel by water scaling method and the Cramer-Rao lower bounds for all metabolites analyzed in the study were below 15\%. Levels of total N-acetyl aspartate (tNAA), total choline (tCho), glutamate + glutamine (Glx), total creatine (tCr), were measured. Cognition was tested using a battery of tests validated for Indian population. The cognitive domains tested were the memory, attention-information processing, abstraction-executive, simple and complex perceptual motor skills. Z-scores normalized according to age, sex and education standard were used to calculate dysfunction in these individual domains. The NCD was defined as dysfunction with Z-score ≤ 2 in at least two domains. One-way ANOVA was used to compare the difference in brain metabolites between the patients and healthy subjects. Results: NCD was found in 23 (53%) patients. There was no significant difference in age, CD4 count and viral load between the two groups. Maximum impairment was found in the domains of memory and simple motor skills i.e., 19/43 (44%). The prevalence of deficit in attention-information processing, complex perceptual motor skills and abstraction-executive function was 37%, 35%, 33% respectively. Subjects with NCD had a higher level of Glutamate in the Frontal region (8.03 ± 2.30 v/s. 10.26 ± 5.24, p-value 0.001). Conclusion: Among newly diagnosed, ART-naïve retroviral disease patients from India, cognitive decline was found in 53\% patients using tests validated for this population. Those with neurocognitive decline had a significantly higher level of Glutamate in the left frontal region. There was no significant difference in age, CD4 count and viral load at initiation of ART between the two groups.

Keywords: HIV, neurocognitive decline, neurometabolites, magnetic resonance spectroscopy

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15 'Go Baby Go'; Community-Based Integrated Early Childhood and Maternal Child Health Model Improving Early Childhood Stimulation, Care Practices and Developmental Outcomes in Armenia: A Quasi-Experimental Study

Authors: Viktorya Sargsyan, Arax Hovhannesyan, Karine Abelyan


Introduction: During the last decade, scientific studies have proven the importance of Early Childhood Development (ECD) interventions. These interventions are shown to create strong foundations for children’s intellectual, emotional and physical well-being, as well as the impact they have on learning and economic outcomes for children as they mature into adulthood. Many children in rural Armenia fail to reach their full development potential due to lack of early brain stimulation (playing, singing, reading, etc.) from their parents, and lack of community tools and services to follow-up children’s neurocognitive development. This is exacerbated by high rates of stunting and anemia among children under 3(CU3). This research study tested the effectiveness of an integrated ECD and Maternal, Newborn and Childhood Health (MNCH) model, called “Go Baby, Go!” (GBG), against the traditional (MNCH) strategy which focuses solely on preventive health and nutrition interventions. The hypothesis of this quasi-experimental study was: Children exposed to GBG will have better neurocognitive and nutrition outcomes compared to those receiving only the MNCH intervention. The secondary objective was to assess the effect of GBG on parental child care and nutrition practices. Methodology: The 14 month long study, targeted all 1,300 children aged 0 to 23 months, living in 43 study communities the in Gavar and Vardenis regions (Gegharkunik province, Armenia). Twenty-three intervention communities, 680 children, received GBG, and 20 control communities, 630 children, received MCHN interventions only. Baseline and evaluation data on child development, nutrition status and parental child care and nutrition practices were collected (caregiver interview, direct child assessment). In the intervention sites, in addition to MNCH (maternity schools, supportive supervision for Health Care Providers (HCP), the trained GBG facilitators conducted six interactive group sessions for mothers (key messages, information, group discussions, role playing, video-watching, toys/books preparation, according to GBG curriculum), and two sessions (condensed GBG) for adult family members (husbands, grandmothers). The trained HCPs received quality supervision for ECD counseling and screening. Findings: The GBG model proved to be effective in improving ECD outcomes. Children in the intervention sites had 83% higher odd of total ECD composite score (cognitive, language, motor) compared to children in the control sites (aOR 1.83; 95 percent CI: 1.08-3.09; p=0.025). Caregivers also demonstrated better child care and nutrition practices (minimum dietary diversity in intervention site is 55 percent higher compared to control (aOR=1.55, 95 percent CI 1.10-2.19, p =0.013); support for learning and disciplining practices (aOR=2.22, 95 percent CI 1.19-4.16, p=0.012)). However, there was no evidence of stunting reduction in either study arm. he effect of the integrated model was more prominent in Vardenis, a community which is characterised by high food insecurity and limited knowledge of positive parenting skills. Conclusion: The GBG model is effective and could be applied in target areas with the greatest economic disadvantages and parenting challenges to improve ECD, care practices and developmental outcomes. Longitudinal studies are needed to view the long-term effects of GBG on learning and school readiness.

Keywords: early childhood development, integrated interventions, parental practices, quasi-experimental study

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14 Rathke’s Cleft Cyst Presenting as Unilateral Visual Field Defect

Authors: Ritesh Verma, Manisha Rathi, Chand Singh Dhull, Sumit Sachdeva, Jitender Phogat


A Rathke's cleft cyst is a benign growth found on the pituitary gland in the brain, specifically a fluid-filled cyst in the posterior portion of the anterior pituitary gland. It occurs when the Rathke's pouch does not develop properly and ranges in size from 2 to 40mm in diameter. A 38-year-old male presented to the outpatient department with loss of vision in the inferior quadrant of the left eye since 15 days. Visual acuity was 6/6 in the right eye and 6/9 in the left eye. Visual field analysis by HFA-24-2 revealed an inferior field defect extending to the supero-temporal quadrant in the left eye. MRI brain and orbit was advised to the patient and it revealed a well defined cystic pituitary adenoma indenting left optic nerve near optic chiasm consistent with the diagnosis of Rathke’s cleft cyst (RCC). The patient was referred to neurosurgery department for further management. Symptoms vary greatly between individuals having RCCs. RCCs can be non-functioning, functioning, or both. Besides headaches, neurocognitive deficits are almost always present but have a high rate of immediate reversal if the cyst is properly treated or drained.

Keywords: pituitary tumors, rathke’s cleft cyst, visual field defects, vision loss

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13 Comparison of Impulsivity Trait in Males and Females: Exploring the Sex Difference in Impulsivity

Authors: Pinhas Dannon, Aviv Weinstein


Impulsivity is raising major interest clinically because it is associated with various clinical conditions such as delinquency, antisocial behavior, suicide attempts, aggression, and criminal activity. The evolutionary perspective argued that impulsivity relates to self-regulation and it has predicted that female individuals should have evolved a greater ability to inhibit pre-potent responses. There is supportive evidence showing that female individuals have better performance on cognitive tasks measuring impulsivity such as delay in gratification and delayed discounting mainly in childhood. During adolescence, brain imaging studies using diffusion tensor imaging on white matter architecture indicated contrary to the evolutionary perspective hypothesis, that young adolescent male individuals may be less vulnerable than age-matched female individuals to risk- and reward- related maladaptive behaviors. In adults, the results are mixed presumably owing to hormonal effects on neuro-biological mechanisms of reward. Consequently, female individuals were less impulsive than male individuals only during fertile stages of the menstrual cycle. Finally, there is evidence the serotonin (5-HT) system is more involved in the impulsivity of men than in that of women. Overall, there seem to be sex differences in impulsivity but these differences are more pronounced in childhood and they are later subject to maturational and hormonal changes during adolescence and adulthood and their effects on the brain, cognition, and behavior.

Keywords: impulse control, male population, female population, gender differences, reward, neurocognitive tests

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12 Cognitive and Behavioral Disorders in Patients with Precuneal Infarcts

Authors: F. Ece Cetin, H. Nezih Ozdemir, Emre Kumral


Ischemic stroke of the precuneal cortex (PC) alone is extremely rare. This study aims to evaluate the clinical, neurocognitive, and behavioural characteristics of isolated PC infarcts. We assessed neuropsychological and behavioral findings in 12 patients with isolated PC infarct among 3800 patients with ischemic stroke. To determine the most frequently affected brain locus in patients, we first overlapped the ischemic area of patients with specific cognitive disorders and patients without specific cognitive disorders. Secondly, we compared both overlap maps using the 'subtraction plot' function of MRIcroGL. Patients showed various types of cognitive disorders. All patients experienced more than one category of cognitive disorder, except for two patients with only one cognitive disorder. Lesion topographical analysis showed that damage within the anterior precuneal region might lead to consciousness disorders (25%), self-processing impairment (42%), visuospatial disorders (58%), and lesions in the posterior precuneal region caused episodic and semantic memory impairment (33%). The whole precuneus is involved in at least one body awareness disorder. The cause of the stroke was cardioembolism in 5 patients (42%), large artery disease in 3 (25%), and unknown in 4 (33%). This study showed a wide variety of neuropsychological and behavioural disorders in patients with precuneal infarct. Future studies are needed to achieve a proper definition of the function of the precuneus in relation to the extended cortical areas. Precuneal cortex region infarcts have been found to predict a source of embolism from the large arteries or heart.

Keywords: cognition, pericallosal artery, precuneal cortex, ischemic stroke

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11 Decision-Making Under Uncertainty in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Authors: Helen Pushkarskaya, David Tolin, Lital Ruderman, Ariel Kirshenbaum, J. MacLaren Kelly, Christopher Pittenger, Ifat Levy


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) produces profound morbidity. Difficulties with decision making and intolerance of uncertainty are prominent clinical features of OCD. The nature and etiology of these deficits are poorly understood. We used a well-validated choice task, grounded in behavioral economic theory, to investigate differences in valuation and value-based choice during decision making under uncertainty in 20 unmedicated participants with OCD and 20 matched healthy controls. Participants’ choices were used to assess individual decision-making characteristics. Compared to controls, individuals with OCD were less consistent in their choices and less able to identify options that were unambiguously preferable. These differences correlated with symptom severity. OCD participants did not differ from controls in how they valued uncertain options when outcome probabilities were known (risk) but were more likely than controls to avoid uncertain options when these probabilities were imprecisely specified (ambiguity). These results suggest that the underlying neural mechanisms of valuation and value-based choices during decision-making are abnormal in OCD. Individuals with OCD show elevated intolerance of uncertainty, but only when outcome probabilities are themselves uncertain. Future research focused on the neural valuation network, which is implicated in value-based computations, may provide new neurocognitive insights into the pathophysiology of OCD. Deficits in decision-making processes may represent a target for therapeutic intervention.

Keywords: obsessive compulsive disorder, decision-making, uncertainty intolerance, risk aversion, ambiguity aversion, valuation

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10 A Prototype of an Information and Communication Technology Based Intervention Tool for Children with Dyslexia

Authors: Rajlakshmi Guha, Sajjad Ansari, Shazia Nasreen, Hirak Banerjee, Jiaul Paik


Dyslexia is a neurocognitive disorder, affecting around fifteen percent of the Indian population. The symptoms include difficulty in reading alphabet, words, and sentences. This can be difficult at the phonemic or recognition level and may further affect lexical structures. Therapeutic intervention of dyslexic children post assessment is generally done by special educators and psychologists through one on one interaction. Considering the large number of children affected and the scarcity of experts, access to care is limited in India. Moreover, unavailability of resources and timely communication with caregivers add on to the problem of proper intervention. With the development of Educational Technology and its use in India, access to information and care has been improved in such a large and diverse country. In this context, this paper proposes an ICT enabled home-based intervention program for dyslexic children which would support the child, and provide an interactive interface between expert, parents, and students. The paper discusses the details of the database design and system layout of the program. Along with, it also highlights the development of different technical aids required to build out personalized android applications for the Indian dyslexic population. These technical aids include speech database creation for children, automatic speech recognition system, serious game development, and color coded fonts. The paper also emphasizes the games developed to assist the dyslexic child on cognitive training primarily for attention, working memory, and spatial reasoning. In addition, it talks about the specific elements of the interactive intervention tool that makes it effective for home based intervention of dyslexia.

Keywords: Android applications, cognitive training, dyslexia, intervention

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9 Cognitive Function and Coping Behavior in the Elderly: A Population-Based Cross-Sectional Study

Authors: Ryo Shikimoto, Hidehito Niimura, Hisashi Kida, Kota Suzuki, Yukiko Miyasaka, Masaru Mimura


Introduction: In Japan, the most aged country in the world, it is important to explore predictive factors of cognitive function among the elderly. Coping behavior relieves chronic stress and improves lifestyle, and consequently may reduce the risk of cognitive impairment. One of the most widely investigated frameworks evaluated in previous studies is approach-oriented and avoidance-oriented coping strategies. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between cognitive function and coping strategies among elderly residents in urban areas of Japan. Method: This is a part of the cross-sectional Arakawa geriatric cohort study for 1,099 residents (aged 65 to 86 years; mean [SD] = 72.9 [5.2]). Participants were assessed for cognitive function using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and diagnosed by psychiatrists in face-to-face interviews. They were then investigated for their each coping behaviors and coping strategies (approach- and avoidance-oriented coping) using stress and coping inventory. A multiple regression analysis was used to investigate the relationship between MMSE score and each coping strategy. Results: Of the 1,099 patients, the mean MMSE score of the study participants was 27.2 (SD = 2.7), and the numbers of the diagnosis of normal, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and dementia were 815 (74.2%), 248 (22.6%), and 14 (1.3%), respectively. Approach-oriented coping score was significantly associated with MMSE score (B [partial regression coefficient] = 0.12, 95% confidence interval = 0.05 to 0.19) after adjusting for confounding factors including age, sex, and education. Avoidance-oriented coping did not show a significant association with MMSE score (B [partial regression coefficient] = -0.02, 95% confidence interval = -0.09 to 0.06). Conclusion: Approach-oriented coping was clearly associated with neurocognitive function in the Japanese population. A future longitudinal trial is warranted to investigate the protective effects of coping behavior on cognitive function.

Keywords: approach-oriented coping, cognitive impairment, coping behavior, dementia

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8 The Psychosis Prodrome: Biomarkers of the Glutamatergic System and Their Potential Role in Prediction and Treatment

Authors: Peter David Reiss


The concept of the psychosis prodrome has allowed for the identification of adolescent and young adult patients who have a significantly elevated risk of developing schizophrenia spectrum disorders. A number of different interventions have been tested in order to prevent or delay progression of symptoms. To date, there has been no consistent meta-analytical evidence to support efficacy of antipsychotic treatment for patients in the prodromal state, and their use remains therefore inconclusive. Although antipsychotics may manage symptoms transiently, they have not been found to prevent or delay onset of psychotic disorders. Furthermore, pharmacological intervention in high-risk individuals remains controversial, because of the antipsychotic side effect profile in a population in which only about 20 to 35 percent will eventually convert to psychosis over a two-year period, with even after two years conversion rates not exceeding 30 to 40 percent. This general estimate is additionally problematic, in that it ignores the fact that there is significant variation in individual risk among clinical high-risk cases. The current lack of reliable tests for at-risk patients makes it difficult to justify individual treatment decisions. Preventive treatment should ideally be dictated by an individual’s risk while minimizing potentially harmful medication exposure. This requires more accurate predictive assessments by using valid and accessible prognostic markers. The following will compare prediction and risk modification potential of behavioral biomarkers such as disturbances of basic sense of self and emotion awareness, neurocognitive biomarkers such as attention, working and declarative memory, and neurophysiological biomarkers such as glutamatergic abnormalities and NMDA receptor dysfunction. Identification of robust biomarkers could therefore not only provide more reliable means of psychosis prediction, but also help test and develop new clinical interventions targeted at the prodromal state.

Keywords: at-risk mental state, biomarkers, glutamatergic system, NMDA receptor, psychosis prodrome, schizophrenia

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7 Cooling With Phase-Change-Material in Vietnam: Outcomes at 18 Months

Authors: Hang T. T. Tran, Ha T. Le, Hanh T. P. Tran, Hung V. Cao, Giang T. H. Nguyen, Dien M. Tran, Tobias Alfvén, Linus Olson


Background: Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy is one of the major causes of neonatal death and those who survive with severe encephalopathy are more likely to develop adverse long-term outcomes such as neurocognitive impairment and cerebral palsy, which is a huge burden, especially in low-middle income countries. It is important to have a long-term follow-up for early detection and promote early intervention for these groups of high-risk infants. Aim: To determine the neurological outcome of cooling infants at 18 months and identify an optimized neurological examination scale for Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy infants in Vietnam. Method: Descriptive study of neurodevelopmental outcomes at 18 months of HIE infants who underwent therapeutic hypothermia treatment in Vietnam. All survived cooling infants were assessed at discharge and at 6, 12, and 18 months by a pediatric physical therapist and a neurologist using two assessment tools: Ages and Stages Questionnaires and the Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination scale to detect impairments and promote early intervention for those who require it. Results: During a 3-year period, a total of 130 neonates with moderate to severe HIE underwent therapeutic hypothermia treatment using Phase change material mattress (65% moderate, 35% severe – Sarnat). 43 (33%) died during hospitalization and infancy; among survivors, 69 (79%) completed 3 follow-ups at 18 months. At 18 months, 25 had cerebral palsy, 11 had mild delayed neurodevelopment. At each time-point, infants with a normal/mildly delayed neurodevelopment had significantly higher Ages and Stages Questionnaires and Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination scores (p<0.05) than those with cerebral palsy. Conclusion: The study showed that the Ages and Stages Questionnaires and Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination is a helpful tool in the process of early diagnosis of infants at low and high neurological risk and identifying those infants needing specific rehabilitation programme.

Keywords: encephalopathy, phase-change-material, neurodevelopment, cerebral palsy

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6 Sympathetic Skin Response and Reaction Times in Chronic Autoimmune Thyroiditis; An Overlooked Electrodiagnostic Study

Authors: Oya Umit Yemisci, Nur Saracgil Cosar, Tubanur Ozturk Sisman, Selin Ozen


Chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT) may result in a wide spectrum of reversible abnormalities in the neuromuscular function. Usually, proximal muscle-related symptoms and neuropathic findings such as mild axonal peripheral neuropathy have been reported. Sympathetic skin responses are useful in evaluating sudomotor activity of the unmyelinated sympathetic fibers of the autonomic nervous system. Neurocognitive impairment may also be a prominent feature of hypothyroidism, particularly in elderly patients. Electromyographic reaction times as a highly sensitive parameter provides. Objective data concerning cognitive and motor functions. The aim of this study was to evaluate peripheral nerve functions, sympathetic skin response and electroneuromyographic (ENMG) reaction times in euthyroid and subclinically hypothyroid patients with a diagnosis of AIT and compare to those of a control group. Thirty-five euthyroid, 19 patients with subclinical hypothyroidism and 35 age and sex-matched healthy subjects were included in the study. Motor and sensory nerve conduction studies, sympathetic skin responses recorded from hand and foot by stimulating contralateral median nerve and simple reaction times by stimulating tibial nerve and recording from extensor indicis proprius muscle were performed to all patients and control group. Only median nerve sensory conduction velocities of the forearm were slower in patients with AIT compared to the control group (p=0.019). Otherwise, nerve conduction studies and sympathetic skin responses showed no significant difference between the patients and the control group. However, reaction times were shorter in the healthy subjects compared to AIT patients. Prolongation in the reaction times may be considered as a parameter reflecting the alterations in the cognitive functions related to the primary disease process in AIT. Combining sympathetic skin responses with more quantitative tests such as cardiovascular tests and sudomotor axon reflex testing may allow us to determine higher rates of involvement of the autonomic nervous system in AIT.

Keywords: sympathetic skin response, simple reaction time, chronic autoimmune thyroiditis

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5 Readability Facing the Irreducible Otherness: Translation as a Third Dimension toward a Multilingual Higher Education

Authors: Noury Bakrim


From the point of view of language morphodynamics, interpretative Readability of the text-result (the stasis) is not the external hermeneutics of its various potential reading events but the paradigmatic, semantic immanence of its dynamics. In other words, interpretative Readability articulates the potential tension between projection (intentionality of the discursive event) and the result (Readability within the syntagmatic stasis). We then consider that translation represents much more a metalinguistic conversion of neurocognitive bilingual sub-routines and modular relations than a semantic equivalence. Furthermore, the actualizing Readability (the process of rewriting a target text within a target language/genre) builds upon the descriptive level between the generative syntax/semantic from and its paradigmatic potential translatability. Translation corpora reveal the evidence of a certain focusing on the positivist stasis of the source text at the expense of its interpretative Readability. For instance, Fluchere's brilliant translation of Miller's Tropic of cancer into French realizes unconsciously an inversion of the hierarchical relations between Life Thought and Fable: From Life Thought (fable) into Fable (Life Thought). We could regard the translation of Bernard Kreiss basing on Canetti's work die englischen Jahre (les annees anglaises) as another inversion of the historical scale from individual history into Hegelian history. In order to describe and test both translation process and result, we focus on the pedagogical practice which enables various principles grounding in interpretative/actualizing Readability. Henceforth, establishing the analytical uttering dynamics of the source text could be widened by other practices. The reversibility test (target - source text) or the comparison with a second translation in a third language (tertium comparationis A/B and A/C) point out the evidence of an impossible event. Therefore, it doesn't imply an uttering idealistic/absolute source but the irreducible/non-reproducible intentionality of its production event within the experience of world/discourse. The aim of this paper is to conceptualize translation as the tension between interpretative and actualizing Readability in a new approach grounding in morphodynamics of language and Translatability (mainly into French) within literary and non-literary texts articulating theoretical and described pedagogical corpora.

Keywords: readability, translation as deverbalization, translation as conversion, Tertium Comparationis, uttering actualization, translation pedagogy

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4 Understanding the Role of Concussions as a Risk Factor for Multiple Sclerosis

Authors: Alvin Han, Reema Shafi, Alishba Afaq, Jennifer Gommerman, Valeria Ramaglia, Shannon E. Dunn


Adolescents engaged in contact-sports can suffer from recurrent brain concussions with no loss of consciousness and no need for hospitalization, yet they face the possibility of long-term neurocognitive problems. Recent studies suggest that head concussive injuries during adolescence can also predispose individuals to multiple sclerosis (MS). The underlying mechanisms of how brain concussions predispose to MS is not understood. Here, we hypothesize that: (1) recurrent brain concussions prime microglial cells, the tissue resident myeloid cells of the brain, setting them up for exacerbated responses when exposed to additional challenges later in life; and (2) brain concussions lead to the sensitization of myelin-specific T cells in the peripheral lymphoid organs. Towards addressing these hypotheses, we implemented a mouse model of closed head injury that uses a weight-drop device. First, we calibrated the model in male 12 week-old mice and established that a weight drop from a 3 cm height induced mild neurological symptoms (mean neurological score of 1.6+0.4 at 1 hour post-injury) from which the mice fully recovered by 72 hours post-trauma. Then, we performed immunohistochemistry on the brain of concussed mice at 72 hours post-trauma. Despite mice having recovered from all neurological symptoms, immunostaining for leukocytes (CD45) and IBA-1 revealed no peripheral immune infiltration, but an increase in the intensity of IBA1+ staining compared to uninjured controls, suggesting that resident microglia had acquired a more active phenotype. This microglia activation was most apparent in the white matter tracts in the brain and in the olfactory bulb. Immunostaining for the microglia-specific homeostatic marker TMEM119, showed a reduction in TMEM119+ area in the brain of concussed mice compared to uninjured controls, confirming a loss of this homeostatic signal by microglia after injury. Future studies will test whether single or repetitive concussive injury can worsen or accelerate autoimmunity in male and female mice. Understanding these mechanisms will guide the development of timed and targeted therapies to prevent MS from getting started in people at risk.

Keywords: concussion, microglia, microglial priming, multiple sclerosis

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3 Functional Neurocognitive Imaging (fNCI): A Diagnostic Tool for Assessing Concussion Neuromarker Abnormalities and Treating Post-Concussion Syndrome in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Patients

Authors: Parker Murray, Marci Johnson, Tyson S. Burnham, Alina K. Fong, Mark D. Allen, Bruce McIff


Purpose: Pathological dysregulation of Neurovascular Coupling (NVC) caused by mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is the predominant source of chronic post-concussion syndrome (PCS) symptomology. fNCI has the ability to localize dysregulation in NVC by measuring blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signaling during the performance of fMRI-adapted neuropsychological evaluations. With fNCI, 57 brain areas consistently affected by concussion were identified as PCS neural markers, which were validated on large samples of concussion patients and healthy controls. These neuromarkers provide the basis for a computation of PCS severity which is referred to as the Severity Index Score (SIS). The SIS has proven valuable in making pre-treatment decisions, monitoring treatment efficiency, and assessing long-term stability of outcomes. Methods and Materials: After being scanned while performing various cognitive tasks, 476 concussed patients received an SIS score based on the neural dysregulation of the 57 previously identified brain regions. These scans provide an objective measurement of attentional, subcortical, visual processing, language processing, and executive functioning abilities, which were used as biomarkers for post-concussive neural dysregulation. Initial SIS scores were used to develop individualized therapy incorporating cognitive, occupational, and neuromuscular modalities. These scores were also used to establish pre-treatment benchmarks and measure post-treatment improvement. Results: Changes in SIS were calculated in percent change from pre- to post-treatment. Patients showed a mean improvement of 76.5 percent (σ= 23.3), and 75.7 percent of patients showed at least 60 percent improvement. Longitudinal reassessment of 24 of the patients, measured an average of 7.6 months post-treatment, shows that SIS improvement is maintained and improved, with an average of 90.6 percent improvement from their original scan. Conclusions: fNCI provides a reliable measurement of NVC allowing for identification of concussion pathology. Additionally, fNCI derived SIS scores direct tailored therapy to restore NVC, subsequently resolving chronic PCS resulting from mTBI.

Keywords: concussion, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), neurovascular coupling (NVC), post-concussion syndrome (PCS)

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2 Impact of 6-Week Brain Endurance Training on Cognitive and Cycling Performance in Highly Trained Individuals

Authors: W. Staiano, S. Marcora


Introduction: It has been proposed that acute negative effect of mental fatigue (MF) could potentially become a training stimulus for the brain (Brain endurance training (BET)) to adapt and improve its ability to attenuate MF states during sport competitions. Purpose: The aim of this study was to test the efficacy of 6 weeks of BET on cognitive and cycling tests in a group of well-trained subjects. We hypothesised that combination of BET and standard physical training (SPT) would increase cognitive capacity and cycling performance by reducing rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and increase resilience to fatigue more than SPT alone. Methods: In a randomized controlled trial design, 26 well trained participants, after a familiarization session, cycled to exhaustion (TTE) at 80% peak power output (PPO) and, after 90 min rest, at 65% PPO, before and after random allocation to a 6 week BET or active placebo control. Cognitive performance was measured using 30 min of STROOP coloured task performed before cycling performance. During the training, BET group performed a series of cognitive tasks for a total of 30 sessions (5 sessions per week) with duration increasing from 30 to 60 min per session. Placebo engaged in a breathing relaxation training. Both groups were monitored for physical training and were naïve to the purpose of the study. Physiological and perceptual parameters of heart rate, lactate (LA) and RPE were recorded during cycling performances, while subjective workload (NASA TLX scale) was measured during the training. Results: Group (BET vs. Placebo) x Test (Pre-test vs. Post-test) mixed model ANOVA’s revealed significant interaction for performance at 80% PPO (p = .038) or 65% PPO (p = .011). In both tests, groups improved their TTE performance; however, BET group improved significantly more compared to placebo. No significant differences were found for heart rate during the TTE cycling tests. LA did not change significantly at rest in both groups. However, at completion of 65% TTE, it was significantly higher (p = 0.043) in the placebo condition compared to BET. RPE measured at ISO-time in BET was significantly lower (80% PPO, p = 0.041; 65% PPO p= 0.021) compared to placebo. Cognitive results in the STROOP task showed that reaction time in both groups decreased at post-test. However, BET decreased significantly (p = 0.01) more compared to placebo despite no differences accuracy. During training sessions, participants in the BET showed, through NASA TLX questionnaires, constantly significantly higher (p < 0.01) mental demand rates compared to placebo. No significant differences were found for physical demand. Conclusion: The results of this study provide evidences that combining BET and SPT seems to be more effective than SPT alone in increasing cognitive and cycling performance in well trained endurance participants. The cognitive overload produced during the 6-week training of BET can induce a reduction in perception of effort at a specific power, and thus improving cycling performance. Moreover, it provides evidence that including neurocognitive interventions will benefit athletes by increasing their mental resilience, without affecting their physical training load and routine.

Keywords: cognitive training, perception of effort, endurance performance, neuro-performance

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1 Elevated Systemic Oxidative-Nitrosative Stress and Cerebrovascular Function in Professional Rugby Union Players: The Link to Impaired Cognition

Authors: Tom S. Owens, Tom A. Calverley, Benjamin S. Stacey, Christopher J. Marley, George Rose, Lewis Fall, Gareth L. Jones, Priscilla Williams, John P. R. Williams, Martin Steggall, Damian M. Bailey


Introduction and aims: Sports-related concussion (SRC) represents a significant and growing public health concern in rugby union, yet remains one of the least understood injuries facing the health community today. Alongside increasing SRC incidence rates, there is concern that prior recurrent concussion may contribute to long-term neurologic sequelae in later-life. This may be due to an accelerated decline in cerebral perfusion, a major risk factor for neurocognitive decline and neurodegeneration, though the underlying mechanisms remain to be established. The present study hypothesised that recurrent concussion in current professional rugby union players would result in elevated systemic oxidative-nitrosative stress, reflected by a free radical-mediated reduction in nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability and impaired cerebrovascular and cognitive function. Methodology: A longitudinal study design was adopted across the 2017-2018 rugby union season. Ethical approval was obtained from the University of South Wales Ethics Committee. Data collection is ongoing, and therefore the current report documents result from the pre-season and first half of the in-season data collection. Participants were initially divided into two subgroups; 23 professional rugby union players (aged 26 ± 5 years) and 22 non-concussed controls (27 ± 8 years). Pre-season measurements were performed for cerebrovascular function (Doppler ultrasound of middle cerebral artery velocity (MCAv) in response to hypocapnia/normocapnia/hypercapnia), cephalic venous concentrations of the ascorbate radical (A•-, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy), NO (ozone-based chemiluminescence) and cognition (neuropsychometric tests). Notational analysis was performed to assess contact in the rugby group throughout each competitive game. Results: 1001 tackles and 62 injuries, including three concussions were observed across the first half of the season. However, no associations were apparent between number of tackles and any injury type (P > 0.05). The rugby group expressed greater oxidative stress as indicated by increased A•- (P < 0.05 vs. control) and a subsequent decrease in NO bioavailability (P < 0.05 vs. control). The rugby group performed worse in the Ray Auditory Verbal Learning Test B (RAVLT-B, learning, and memory) and the Grooved Pegboard test using both the dominant and non-dominant hands (visuomotor coordination, P < 0.05 vs. control). There were no between-group differences in cerebral perfusion at baseline (MCAv: 54 ± 13 vs. 59 ± 12, P > 0.05). Likewise, no between-group differences in CVRCO2Hypo (2.58 ± 1.01 vs. 2.58 ± 0.75, P > 0.05) or CVRCO2Hyper (2.69 ± 1.07 vs. 3.35 ± 1.28, P > 0.05) were observed. Conclusion: The present study identified that the rugby union players are characterized by impaired cognitive function subsequent to elevated systemic-oxidative-nitrosative stress. However, this appears to be independent of any functional impairment in cerebrovascular function. Given the potential long-term trajectory towards accelerated cognitive decline in populations exposed to SRC, prophylaxis to increase NO bioavailability warrants consideration.

Keywords: cognition, concussion, mild traumatic brain injury, rugby

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