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(1/9619) Frontal cognitive impairments and saccadic deficits in low-dose MPTP-treated monkeys.

There is considerable overlap between the cognitive deficits observed in humans with frontal lobe damage and those described in patients with Parkinson's disease. Similar frontal impairments have been found in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3, 6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) primate model of Parkinsonism. Here we provide quantitative documentation of the cognitive, oculomotor, and skeletomotor dysfunctions of monkeys trained on a frontal task and treated with low-doses (LD) of MPTP. Two rhesus monkeys were trained to perform a spatial delayed-response task with frequent alternations between two behavioral modes (GO and NO-GO). After control recordings, the monkeys were treated with one placebo and successive LD MPTP courses. Monkey C developed motor Parkinsonian signs after a fourth course of medium-dose (MD) MPTP and later was treated with combined dopaminergic therapy (CDoT). There were no gross motor changes after the LD MPTP courses, and the average movement time (MT) did not increase. However, reaction time (RT) increased significantly. Both RT and MT were further increased in the symptomatic state, under CDoT. Self-initiated saccades became hypometric after LD MPTP treatments and their frequency decreased. Visually triggered saccades were affected to a lesser extent by the LD MPTP treatments. All saccadic parameters declined further in the symptomatic state and improved partially during CDoT. The number of GO mode (no-response, location, and early release) errors increased after MPTP treatment. The monkeys made more perseverative errors while switching from the GO to the NO-GO mode. Saccadic eye movement patterns suggest that frontal deficits were involved in most observed errors. CDoT had a differential effect on the behavioral errors. It decreased omission errors but did not improve location errors or perseverative errors. Tyrosine hydroxylase immunohistochemistry showed moderate ( approximately 70-80%) reduction in the number of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta after MPTP treatment. These results show that cognitive and motor disorders can be dissociated in the LD MPTP model and that cognitive and oculomotor impairments develop before the onset of skeletal motor symptoms. The behavioral and saccadic deficits probably result from the marked reduction of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain. We suggest that these behavioral changes result from modified neuronal activity in the frontal cortex.  (+info)

(2/9619) Non-motor associative learning in patients with isolated degenerative cerebellar disease.

In recent decades it has become clear that the cerebellum is involved in associative motor learning, but its exact role in motor learning as such is still controversial. Recently, a contribution of the cerebellum to different cognitive abilities has also been considered, but it remains unclear whether the cerebellum contributes to cognitive associative learning. We compared nine patients with an isolated cerebellar degenerative disease in a cognitive associative learning task with 10 controls. Patients and controls were matched for age, sex, handedness, level of education, intelligence and capabilities of visual memory. The subjects were asked to learn the association between six pairs of colours and numerals by trial and error. Additionally, a simple reaction time and a visual scanning test were conducted in order to control for the influence of motor performance deficits in cerebellar patients. In comparison with the controls, it took the patients significantly longer to learn the correct associations between colours and numerals, and they were impaired in recognizing them later on. Two patients showed no associative learning effect at all. Neither the simple reaction time nor the visual scanning time correlated substantially with the results of associative learning. Therefore, motor-associated disabilities are unlikely to be the reason for the learning deficit in cerebellar patients. Our results suggest that the cerebellum might contribute to motor-independent processes that are generally involved in associative learning.  (+info)

(3/9619) The neuropsychopharmacology of phencyclidine: from NMDA receptor hypofunction to the dopamine hypothesis of schizophrenia.

Administration of noncompetitive NMDA/glutamate receptor antagonists, such as phencyclidine (PCP) and ketamine, to humans induces a broad range of schizophrenic-like symptomatology, findings that have contributed to a hypoglutamatergic hypothesis of schizophrenia. Moreover, a history of experimental investigations of the effects of these drugs in animals suggests that NMDA receptor antagonists may model some behavioral symptoms of schizophrenia in nonhuman subjects. In this review, the usefulness of PCP administration as a potential animal model of schizophrenia is considered. To support the contention that NMDA receptor antagonist administration represents a viable model of schizophrenia, the behavioral and neurobiological effects of these drugs are discussed, especially with regard to differing profiles following single-dose and long-term exposure. The neurochemical effects of NMDA receptor antagonist administration are argued to support a neurobiological hypothesis of schizophrenia, which includes pathophysiology within several neurotransmitter systems, manifested in behavioral pathology. Future directions for the application of NMDA receptor antagonist models of schizophrenia to preclinical and pathophysiological research are offered.  (+info)

(4/9619) Effect of iron-, iodine-, and beta-carotene-fortified biscuits on the micronutrient status of primary school children: a randomized controlled trial.

BACKGROUND: Deficiencies of iron, iodine, and vitamin A are prevalent worldwide and can affect the mental development and learning ability of schoolchildren. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the effect of micronutrient-fortified biscuits on the micronutrient status of primary school children. DESIGN: Micronutrient status was assessed in 115 children aged 6-11 y before and after consumption of biscuits (fortified with iron, iodine, and beta-carotene) for 43 wk over a 12-mo period and was compared with that in a control group (n = 113) who consumed nonfortified biscuits. Cognitive function, growth, and morbidity were assessed as secondary outcomes. RESULTS: There was a significant between-group treatment effect on serum retinol, serum ferritin, serum iron, transferrin saturation, and urinary iodine (P <0.0001) and in hemoglobin and hematocrit (P <0.05). The prevalence of low serum retinol concentrations (<0.70 micromol/L) decreased from 39.1% to 12.2%, of low serum ferritin concentrations (<20 microg/L) from 27.8% to 13.9%, of anemia (hemoglobin <120 g/L) from 29.6% to 15.6%, and of low urinary iodine concentrations (<100 microg/L) from 97.5% to 5.4%. There was a significant between-group treatment effect (P <0.05) in cognitive function with the digit span forward task (short-term memory). Fewer school days were missed in the intervention than in the control group because of respiratory- (P = 0.097) and diarrhea-related (P = 0.013) illnesses. The intervention had no effect on anthropometric status [corrected]. CONCLUSIONS: Fortified biscuits resulted in a significant improvement in the micronutrient status of primary school children from a poor rural community and also appeared to have a favorable effect on morbidity and cognitive function [corrected].  (+info)

(5/9619) Cognitive outcome after unilateral pallidal stimulation in Parkinson's disease.

OBJECTIVES: Chronic high frequency electrostimulation of the globus pallidus internus mimics pallidotomy and improves clinical symptoms in Parkinson's disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the cognitive consequences of unilateral deep brain stimulation. METHODS: Twenty non-demented patients with Parkinson's disease (age range 38-70 years) were neuropsychologically assessed 2 months before and 3 months after unilateral pallidal stimulation. The cognitive assessment included measures of memory, spatial behaviour, and executive and psychomotor function. In addition to group analysis of cognitive change, a cognitive impairment index (CII) was calculated for each individual patient representing the percentage of cognitive measures that fell more than 1 SD below the mean of a corresponding normative sample. RESULTS: Neurological assessment with the Hoehn and Yahr scale and the unified Parkinson's disease rating scale disclosed a significant postoperative reduction in average clinical Parkinson's disease symptomatology (p<0.001). Repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance (using right/left side of stimulation as a between subjects factor) showed no significant postoperative change in cognitive performance for the total patient group (main effect of operation). The side of stimulation did not show a significant differential effect on cognitive performance (main effect of lateralisation). There was no significant operation by lateralisation interaction effect. Although the patients experienced significant motor symptom relief after pallidal stimulation, they remained mildly depressed after surgery. Analysis of the individual CII changes showed a postoperative cognitive decline in 30% of the patients. These patients were significantly older and took higher preoperative doses of levodopa than patients showing no change or a postoperative cognitive improvement. CONCLUSIONS: Left or right pallidal stimulation for the relief of motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease seems relatively safe, although older patients and patients needing high preoperative doses of levodopa seem to be more vulnerable for cognitive decline after deep brain stimulation.  (+info)

(6/9619) Dissociable deficits in the decision-making cognition of chronic amphetamine abusers, opiate abusers, patients with focal damage to prefrontal cortex, and tryptophan-depleted normal volunteers: evidence for monoaminergic mechanisms.

We used a novel computerized decision-making task to compare the decision-making behavior of chronic amphetamine abusers, chronic opiate abusers, and patients with focal lesions of orbital prefrontal cortex (PFC) or dorsolateral/medial PFC. We also assessed the effects of reducing central 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) activity using a tryptophan-depleting amino acid drink in normal volunteers. Chronic amphetamine abusers showed suboptimal decisions (correlated with years of abuse), and deliberated for significantly longer before making their choices. The opiate abusers exhibited only the second of these behavioral changes. Importantly, both sub-optimal choices and increased deliberation times were evident in the patients with damage to orbitofrontal PFC but not other sectors of PFC. Qualitatively, the performance of the subjects with lowered plasma tryptophan was similar to that associated with amphetamine abuse, consistent with recent reports of depleted 5-HT in the orbital regions of PFC of methamphetamine abusers. Overall, these data suggest that chronic amphetamine abusers show similar decision-making deficits to those seen after focal damage to orbitofrontal PFC. These deficits may reflect altered neuromodulation of the orbitofrontal PFC and interconnected limbic-striatal systems by both the ascending 5-HT and mesocortical dopamine (DA) projections.  (+info)

(7/9619) The neural consequences of conflict between intention and the senses.

Normal sensorimotor states involve integration of intention, action and sensory feedback. An example is the congruence between motor intention and sensory experience (both proprioceptive and visual) when we move a limb through space. Such goal-directed action necessitates a mechanism that monitors sensorimotor inputs to ensure that motor outputs are congruent with current intentions. Monitoring in this sense is usually implicit and automatic but becomes conscious whenever there is a mismatch between expected and realized sensorimotor states. To investigate how the latter type of monitoring is achieved we conducted three fully factorial functional neuroimaging experiments using PET measures of relative regional cerebral blood flow with healthy volunteers. In the first experiment subjects were asked to perform Luria's bimanual co-ordination task which involves either in-phase (conditions 1 and 3) or out-of-phase (conditions 2 and 4) bimanual movements (factor one), while looking towards their left hand. In half of the conditions (conditions 3 and 4) a mirror was used that altered visual feedback (factor two) by replacing their left hand with the mirror image of their right hand. Hence (in the critical condition 4) subjects saw in-phase movements despite performing out-of-phase movements. This mismatch between intention, proprioception and visual feedback engendered cognitive conflict. The main effect of out-of-phase movements was associated with increased neural activity in posterior parietal cortex (PPC) bilaterally [Brodmann area (BA) 40, extending into BA 7] and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) bilaterally (BA 9/46). The main effect of the mirror showed increased neural activity in right DLPFC (BA 9/ 46) and right superior PPC (BA 7) only. Analysis of the critical interaction revealed that the mismatch condition led to a specific activation in the right DLPFC alone (BA 9/46). Study 2, using an identical experimental set-up but manipulating visual feedback from the right hand (instead of the left), subsequently demonstrated that this right DLPFC activation was independent of the hand attended. Finally, study 3 removed the motor intentional component by moving the subjects' hand passively, thus engendering a mismatch between proprioception and vision only. Activation in the right lateral prefrontal cortex was now more ventral than in studies 1 or 2 (BA 44/45). A direct comparison of studies 1 and 3 (which both manipulated visual feedback from the left hand) confirmed that a ventral right lateral prefrontal region is primarily activated by discrepancies between signals from sensory systems, while a more dorsal area in right lateral prefrontal cortex is activated when actions must be maintained in the face of a conflict between intention and sensory outcome.  (+info)

(8/9619) Optical imaging of functional domains in the cortex of the awake and behaving monkey.

As demonstrated by anatomical and physiological studies, the cerebral cortex consists of groups of cortical modules, each comprising populations of neurons with similar functional properties. This functional modularity exists in both sensory and association neocortices. However, the role of such cortical modules in perceptual and cognitive behavior is unknown. To aid in the examination of this issue we have applied the high spatial resolution optical imaging methodology to the study of awake, behaving animals. In this paper, we report the optical imaging of orientation domains and blob structures, approximately 100-200 micrometer in size, in visual cortex of the awake and behaving monkey. By overcoming the spatial limitations of other existing imaging methods, optical imaging will permit the study of a wide variety of cortical functions at the columnar level, including motor and cognitive functions traditionally studied with positron-emission tomography or functional MRI techniques.  (+info)