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Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive technique to modulate human brain responses and has been used successfully in the treatment of depression. In this study tDCS was used as an add-on to psychotherapeutic interventions for the treatment of nicotine dependence. The goal of this study is to investigate modifications of brain activity before and after tDCS therapy.
The study is based on a sample of 32 smokers, 22 to 65 years; participants were divided into a placebo group and a verum group. Each participated in fMRI measurements before and after treatment (tDCS plus psychotherapy). During the fMRI sessions, pictures with or without a connection to smoking were presented in a pseudo-randomised order, in order to assess craving-related responses.
The results indicate cue-related brain activations, mainly within the basal ganglia, in the thalamus, the occipital cortex and the cuneus. The verum group showed an increased activation of the frontal cortex which is possibly related to a reinforcement of the brain's control function. The placebo group demonstrated reduced responses in the thalamus, the parahippocampal gyrus and the occipital cerebral cortex after tDCS, which may be related to changes of general attention and alertness.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia (SCZ) are separate neurodevelopmental disorders that are both characterized by difficulties in social cognition and social functioning. Due to methodological confounds, the degree of similarity in social cognitive impairments across these two disorders is currently unknown. This study therefore conducted a comprehensive comparison of social cognitive ability in ASD and SCZ to aid efforts to develop optimized treatment programs.
In total, 101 individuals with ASD, 92 individuals with SCZ or schizoaffective disorder, and 101 typically developing (TD) controls, all with measured intelligence in the normal range and a mean age of 25.47 years, completed a large battery of psychometrically validated social cognitive assessments spanning the domains of emotion recognition, social perception, mental state attribution, and attributional style.
Both ASD and SCZ performed worse than TD controls, and very few differences were evident between the two clinical groups, with effect sizes (Cohen's d) ranging from 0.01 to 0.34. For those effects that did reach statistical significance, such as greater hostility in the SCZ group, controlling for symptom severity rendered them non-significant, suggesting that clinical distinctions may underlie these social cognitive differences. Additionally, the strength of the relationship between neurocognitive and social cognitive performance was of similar, moderate size for ASD and SCZ.
Findings largely suggest comparable levels of social cognitive impairment in ASD and SCZ, which may support the use of existing social cognitive interventions across disorders. However, future work is needed to determine whether the mechanisms underlying these shared impairments are also similar or if these common behavioral profiles may emerge via different pathways.
We present our latest 3D model atmospheres for carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP) stars computed with the CO5BOLD code. The stellar parameters are representative of hot turn-off objects (Teff ~ 6250 K, log g = 4.0, [Fe/H]=−3). The main purpose of these models is to investigate the role of 3D effects on synthetic spectra of the CH G-band (4140-4400 Å), the CN BX-band (3870-3890 Å), and several UV OH transitions (3122-3128 Å). By comparison with the synthetic spectra from standard 1D model atmospheres (assuming local thermodynamic equilibrium, LTE), we derive 3D abundance corrections for carbon and oxygen of up to −0.5 and −0.7 dex, respectively.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) was a prolific letter writer. Often written in great haste - he regularly signed off 'in der Eile' - his correspondence allows us to follow his anxieties and preoccupations. From his first letter, written at the age of thirteen, wherein he declared his lifelong commitment to the craft of music, through the poignant 'Heiligenstadt Testament', up to the final codicil to his will, these documents reveal the human figure behind some of the greatest music ever written. In this two-volume English translation of 1909, John South Shedlock (1843–1919) retains as far as possible the idiosyncratic and error-ridden texts as written by the great composer. Volume 1 covers the years to 1816, and includes the heartbreaking unsent 1802 letter to his brothers in which Beethoven reveals his misery over his increasing deafness and his determination to overcome his physical and emotional weaknesses.