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Previous research on art therapy (AT) in cognitive aging has been lacking. AT can potentially engender significant cognitive gains, due to its rigorous cognitive involvement, making it useful to tackle age-related cognitive decline. Along with these cognitive gains, associated neuroplastic changes are hypothesized to arise from AT as well. The current intervention examined the effects of an AT intervention on cognitive outcomes and cortical thickness (CT) among participants with mild cognitive impairment.
Participants were assigned to AT (n = 22) and an active control group (n = 27). In both, weekly 45-min sessions were carried out across 3 months. Cognitive assessments and structural magnetic resonance imaging scans were carried out at baseline and 3-month follow-up. Whole brain analyses on CT were carried out. Cognitive outcomes were analyzed using hierarchical linear models.
Significant gains in immediate memory and working memory span were observed in the AT group, relative to the control group. Significantly increased CT in the AT group, relative to controls, was observed in a right middle frontal gyrus (MFG) cluster. Furthermore, CT changes in this cluster were significantly and positively correlated with changes in immediate memory.
These findings highlighted the role of MFG neuroplasticity in enhancing certain cognitive functions in AT. AT is a neuroplastic intervention capable of engendering significant cognitive gains and associated cortical changes in the context of age-related cognitive decline, even when executed as a low-intensity intervention across 3 months. Given the preliminary nature of these findings, future larger sampled studies are needed.
The present study investigated the effects of Porphyra yezoensis enzyme degradation extract (PYEDE) on the brain injuries and neurodegenerative diseases due to oxidative stress. We used in vitro antioxidant systems to verify the antioxidant potential of PYEDE. The results indicated that the PYEDE alleviated weight loss and organ atrophy, reduced the levels of lipid peroxidation and protein carbonylation and elevated reduced glutathione (GSH) content in the serum and brains of the d-galactose-induced ageing model mice. The PYEDE also renewed the glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), superoxide dismutase and total antioxidant capability activities, down-regulated the inducible nitric oxide synthase activity and nitric oxide levels, normalised the hippocampal neurons and modulated multiple neurotransmitter systems by inhibiting the activities of acetylcholinesterase and monoamine oxidase in the up-regulation of acetylcholine, dopamine and noradrenaline levels. Overall, the PYEDE is a promising supplement for the alleviation of oxidative stress and age-associated brain diseases.
Findings from single-session online studies highlighted the potential of using anodal prefrontal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to enhance executive functions (EF) in the context of aging. However, tDCS must be executed as a multi-session offline intervention to ascertain its viability in this context. Relatedly, findings from multi-session studies remained inconclusive. To this end, we examined the effects of multi-session anodal prefrontal tDCS on EF in an intervention.
The intervention consisted of 15 sessions; in each, healthy older participants (Agemean = 66.7) received either 15 min of 1.5 mA tDCS (Ncompleted = 35) or sham stimulation (Ncompleted = 33) while performing EF training tasks. EF measures were assessed at baseline, post-intervention, and 1-month follow-up. Hierarchical linear models were used to examine the effect of tDCS on EF outcomes.
Both groups of participants did not differ significantly in side effect ratings and attendance. There were no significant tDCS-associated gains in any EF outcomes in the intervention.
Multi-session prefrontal tDCS did not lead to any significant gains in EF in the current intervention. More research is needed to optimize the use of tDCS before it can be effectively used to enhance EF among older adults.
Previous cross-lagged studies on depression and memory impairment among the elderly have revealed conflicting findings relating to the direction of influence between depression and memory impairment. The current study aims to clarify this direction of influence by examining the cross-lagged relationships between memory impairment and depression in an Asian sample of elderly community dwellers, as well as synthesizing previous relevant cross-lagged findings via a meta-analysis.
A total of 160 participants (Mage = 68.14, s.d. = 5.34) were assessed across two time points (average of 1.9 years apart) on measures of memory and depressive symptoms. The data were then fitted to a structural equation model to examine two cross-lagged effects (i.e. depressive symptoms→memory; memory→depressive symptoms). A total of 14 effect-sizes for each of the two cross-lagged directions were extracted from six studies (including the present; total N = 8324). These effects were then meta-analyzed using a three-level mixed effects model.
In the current sample, lower memory ability at baseline was associated with worse depressive symptoms levels at follow-up, after controlling for baseline depressive symptoms. However, the reverse effect was not significant; baseline depressive symptoms did not predict subsequent memory ability after controlling for baseline memory. The results of the meta-analysis revealed the same pattern of relationship between memory and depressive symptoms.
These results provide robust evidence that the relationship between memory impairment and depressive symptoms is unidirectional; memory impairment predicts subsequent depressive symptoms but not vice-versa. The implications of these findings are discussed
NiAl-based nanocomposites were successfully fabricated by mechanical alloying proceeded vacuum-hot-pressing sintering, and the mechanical and tribological properties of the NiA–NbC composite were investigated. The results show that the nanostructured powder particles with the average size around 5 nm were successfully obtained by a high-energy-ball mill. After sintering, the composites were consisted of B2-ordered NiAl and NbC second phase, and the crystalline size of the NiAl phase was about 20 nm. The relative density, hardness, and compressive strength of nanostructured NiAl materials increased with increasing the Nb content, which can be attributed to the second phase hardening effect of in situ formed NbC particulates and fine grain strengthening of nanocrystalline NiAl phase. Thereafter, the friction coefficient of the NiAl–3NbC composite was lowered by the addition of silver and that is significantly lower than the NiAl intermetallic compound and NiAl–3NbC composite at elevated temperatures, which was attributed to the lubricating films formed in sliding process at elevated temperatures. While the wear rates of NiAl–3NbC–10Ag composites are higher than that of the NiAl–3NbC composites at each test temperature, especially at 500 °C and 700 °C, which might be attributed to the phase variations on the worn surfaces of the composites.
The high prevalence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in Hong Kong, as previously reported, requires verification. Furthermore, the relationship between loneliness, depression, and cognitive impairment with regards to MCI are unclear. The present study aims to establish the prevalence of MCI in a community sample in Hong Kong and determine if participants with MCI feel significantly lonelier, even after depression has been taken into consideration.
Participants from a community sample (N = 376) were assessed with subjective and objective measures of cognitive impairments to determine whether the criteria had been met for MCI. The MCI cases are then compared with age, sex, and education-matched controls on subjective measures of loneliness and depression.
A total of 66 (17.6%) participants were diagnosed with MCI. These participants reported significantly higher levels of perceived loneliness and depression compared to the matched controls. Differences between groups in loneliness remained significant, even after depression levels have been controlled.
Loneliness is implicated in MCI. The relationship between loneliness and MCI is, at least, partially independent of depression. The implications of these finding are discussed.
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