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We have an amazing ability to change our brains based on what we choose to do, and scientists have called this “neuroplasticity.” When we throw ourselves into a new activity, whether it is learning to play chess, a musical instrument, or a competitive sport, we forge new connections in our brains. Resilience, too, often involves learning and sticking to physical or mental habits. In this chapter you will learn a few different ways you can challenge yourself mentally, embracing curiosity along the way.
To model cognitive reserve (CR) longitudinally in a neurodiverse pediatric sample using a residual index approach, and to test the criterion and construct validity of this index.
Participants were N = 115 children aged 9.5–13 years at baseline (MAge = 10.48 years, SDAge = 0.61), and n = 43 (37.4%) met criteria for ADHD. The CR index represented variance in Matrix Reasoning scores from the WASI that was unexplained by MRI-based brain variables (bilateral hippocampal volumes, total gray matter volumes, and total white matter hypointensity volumes) or demographics (age and sex).
At baseline, the CR index predicted math computation ability (estimate = 0.50, SE = 0.07, p < .001), and word reading ability (estimate = 0.26, SE = 0.10, p = .012). Longitudinally, change in CR over time was not associated with change in math computation ability (estimate = −0.02, SE = 0.03, p < .513), but did predict change in word reading ability (estimate = 0.10, SE = 0.03, p < .001). Change in CR was also found to moderate the relationship between change in word reading ability and white matter hypointensity volume (estimate = 0.10, SE = 0.05, p = .045).
Evidence for the criterion validity of this CR index is encouraging, but somewhat mixed, while construct validity was evidenced through interaction between CR, brain, and word reading ability. Future research would benefit from optimization of the CR index through careful selection of brain variables for a pediatric sample.
Geriatric depression (GD) is associated with significant medical comorbidity, cognitive impairment, brain atrophy, premature mortality, and suboptimal treatment response. While apathy and anxiety are common comorbidities, resilience is a protective factor. Understanding the relationships between brain morphometry, depression, and resilience in GD could inform clinical treatment. Only few studies have addressed gray matter volume (GMV) associations with mood and resilience.
Forty-nine adults aged >60 years (38 women) with major depressive disorder undergoing concurrent antidepressant treatment participated in the study.
Anatomical T1-weighted scans, apathy, anxiety, and resilience data were collected. Freesurfer 6.0 was used to preprocess T1-weighted images and qdec to perform voxel-wise whole-brain analyses. Partial Spearman correlations controlling for age and sex tested the associations between clinical scores, and general linear models identified clusters of associations between GMV and clinical scores, with age and sex as covariates. Cluster correction and Monte-Carlo simulations were applied (corrected alpha = 0.05).
Greater depression severity was associated with greater anxiety (r = 0.53, p = 0.0001), lower resilience (r = −0.33, p = 0.03), and greater apathy (r = 0.39, p = 0.01). Greater GMV in widespread, partially overlapping clusters across the brain was associated with reduced anxiety and apathy, as well as increased resilience.
Our results suggest that greater GMV in extended brain regions is a potential marker for resilience in GD, while GMV in more focal and overlapping regions may be markers for depression and anxiety. Interventions focused on improving symptoms in GD may seek to examine their effects on these brain regions.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a serious psychiatric disorder marked by low mood and anhedonia. Understanding the neural mechanism of MDD is essential for the treatment of depression. White matter fibres, connecting different computational units in the brain, have an important effect on brain function; however, the mechanism of white matter fibre abnormality in MDD is still unclear.
Our study expected to find white matter abnormalities associated with the frontal lobe and hippocampus in individuals with MDD.
Using diffusion tensor imaging data and tract-based spatial statistics, we investigated the microstructural differences in white matter fibre tracts between 30 adults with MDD compared with 31 healthy controls, and calculated the association between MDD-related microstructural changes and illness duration.
It was found that patients with MDD showed reduced fractional anisotropy in the genu and body of the corpus callosum, right corona radiata and part of the thalamic radiations, suggesting lower fibrous myelination levels in these regions; the decreased fractional anisotropy in these regions was associated with longer illness duration.
Our results suggest that MDD may be associated with microstructural damage of key fibre tracts, which could provide insights into the understanding and treatment of MDD.
Previous studies have shown that socioeconomically deprived groups exhibit higher lesion load of the white matter (WM) in aging. The aim of this study was to (i) investigate to what extent education and income may contribute to differences in white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) and (ii) identify risk profiles related to a higher prevalence of age-associated WMH.
Design and Setting:
Population-based adult study of the Leipzig Research Centre for Civilization Diseases (LIFE) in Leipzig, Germany.
Dementia-free sample aged 40–80 years (n = 1,185) derived from the population registry.
Information was obtained in standardized interviews. WMH (including the derived Fazekas scores) were assessed using automated segmentation of high-resolution T1-weighted anatomical and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) MRI acquired at 3T.
Despite a significant association between income and WMH in univariate analyses, results from adjusted models (age, gender, arterial hypertension, heart disease, and APOE e4 allele) indicated no association between income and WMH. Education was associated with Fazekas scores, but not with WMH and not after Bonferroni correction. Prevalence of some health-related risk factors was significantly higher among low-income/education groups. After combining risk factors in a factor analysis, results from adjusted models indicated significant associations between higher distress and more WMH as well as between obesity and more deep WMH.
Previously observed differences in WMH between socioeconomically deprived groups might stem from differences in health-related risk factors. These risk factors should be targeted in prevention programs tailored to socioeconomically deprived individuals.
Americans first learned about Gall’s doctrine from reviews in British periodicals and physicians returning from France, where Gall and Spurzheim had settled. After Spurzheim split from Gall in 1813 and began lecturing throughout Britain and publishing books in English, they learned more. Spurzheim made some modifications and began to call the doctrine “phrenology,” while still retaining craniological correlations as the primary method. He attracted many people to it, as did his Scottish disciple, George Combe, who started the first phrenological society and journal, emphasizing how it could be used to lead to happier, healthier lives and promote institutional reforms. In 1832, Spurzheim came to America but died in Boston that year, drawing more attention to phrenology. Soon after, Orson and Lorenzo Fowler formed a business reading heads and selling all things phrenological, including books, journals, charts, and specimens. The Fowlers were masterful at promoting phrenology. Although Gall had focused on phrenology as a science, phrenology now became synonymous with head readings, thanks in part to the Fowlers and their associates. In this era with little in the way of new research to support phrenological assertions, head readings became faddish among the laity.
During the 1790s, Franz Joseph Gall, a German now practicing medicine in Vienna, came forth with a new way of thinking about the mind and brain. He envisioned the mind having many specialized functions, each dependent on a different part of the brain for its expression. He had a variety of methods for determining these function–structure relationships but relied most heavily on skull features. Bumps and depressions on specific parts of the skull, he reasoned, reflected the growth of the underlying parts. Hence, by studying the heads and crania of humans and animals, one could find separate organs for music, mathematics, and even color perception. Stated differently, a skilled observer could use craniology for probing the mysteries of the mind and understanding the functional organization of the brain. In 1805, Gall left Vienna with his new assistant, Johan Spurzheim, to present his “organology” in various European centers of learning. He never returned. He settled in Paris in 1807, where he lectured and published his books on his ideas. He died there in 1828, still believing in his new science of man, yet knowing that his skull-based assertions were still the most controversial features of his doctrine.
Descartes's arguments in support of his claim that the mind is an immaterial substance are examined and found wanting. But despite the flaws in his dualistic view of the mind, Descartes has fascinating and important things to say about how much of human experience involves an ‘intermingling’ of mind and body. There are still philosophical lessons to be learnt from Descartes's legacy.
Substitutes for the soul included the self, personality, and the brain. “Self” kept the older issues alive without metaphysical baggage. Calkins’ “self-psychology” held that the self was the basal concept in psychology, and that soul was unnecessary. Allport found that “personality” enabled psychology to address topics vital to soul. The brain is the most significant substitute for the soul. Lashley sought to translate introspective findings into a physicalist language. Lashley retained terms such as meaning and self-consciousness, but articulated them in terms of stimuli and responses of the nervous system. Hebb dismissed introspection altogether. His “cell assembly” theory proposed neural networks as organized patterns of responses to stimuli. Thought is the organized activity of the nervous system. Given the emphasis on organization of neural firing, therein is the brain a substitute for the soul, since in the older psychologies, soul was a principle of form or organization.
Childhood trauma and adversity are common across societies and have strong associations with physical and psychiatric morbidity throughout the life-course. One possible mechanism through which childhood trauma may predispose individuals to poor psychiatric outcomes is via associations with brain structure. This study aimed to elucidate the associations between childhood trauma and brain structure across two large, independent community cohorts.
The two samples comprised (i) a subsample of Generation Scotland (n=1,024); and (ii) individuals from UK Biobank (n=27,202). This comprised n=28,226 for mega-analysis. MRI scans were processed using Free Surfer, providing cortical, subcortical, and global brain metrics. Regression models were used to determine associations between childhood trauma measures and brain metrics and psychiatric phenotypes.
Childhood trauma associated with lifetime depression across cohorts (OR 1.06 GS, 1.23 UKB), and related to early onset and recurrent course within both samples. There was evidence for associations between childhood trauma and structural brain metrics. This included reduced global brain volume, and reduced cortical surface area with highest effects in the frontal (β=−0.0385, SE=0.0048, p(FDR)=5.43x10−15) and parietal lobes (β=−0.0387, SE=0.005, p(FDR)=1.56x10−14). At a regional level the ventral diencephalon (VDc) displayed significant associations with childhood trauma measures across both cohorts and at mega-analysis (β=−0.0232, SE=0.0039, p(FDR)=2.91x10−8). There were also associations with reduced hippocampus, thalamus, and nucleus accumbens volumes.
Associations between childhood trauma and reduced global and regional brain volumes were found, across two independent UK cohorts, and at mega-analysis. This provides robust evidence for a lasting effect of childhood adversity on brain structure.
Japanese whalers use the electric lance as a secondary method of killing minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata). The lances are dropped into the body, and currents varying between 2.2 and 14. OA, with a mean of 6.8A, are applied.
When currents of 5A were applied to the carcasses of dead whales, varying in size from 1.8 to 15.7m in length, no current densities induced in the target organs were sufficient to cause either insensibility (10mA cm−2 in the brain), or to cause ventricular fibrillation (0.5mA cm−2 in the heart), except in a few cases where electrodes were specifically placed to span the heart. When electrodes were placed in positions normally used in whaling operations, no current densities were produced which would have been sufficient to cause brain and cardiac dysfunction.
Further investigations on changes in current density with time post mortem after application of a controlled current of 5A showed, during a 60 hour period, a fourfold increase in the current density in the heart, and more than a twofold increase in the brain. Thus contrary to previous criticisms, if these studies had been carried out on live animals, all current densities would have been below threshold values.
There are no records of signs of epileptic form seizure, which are associated with an effective electrical stun, in whales subjected to the electric lance.
It is concluded that the electric lance as used in whaling operations is ineffective and likely to cause extra pain and suffering to an already distressed animal.
Determining objective measures for proof of consciousness in non-human animals has been helped by improved understanding of neural correlates of human consciousness. Functional imaging and neuropsychological studies have shown remarkable overlap between structures involved in actual perception of social and non-social objects and those involved in forming mental images of them. One area of particular interest is individual face recognition. This involves regions of the temporal lobe that are mainly only activated by actual perception or mental imagery of faces. Using behavioural, neuroanatomical and neurophysiological approaches in sheep, we have found that they have similar specialized abilities for recognizing many individuals from their faces. They have developed the same specialized neural processing regions in the temporal lobe for aiding such recognition. Furthermore, parallel activation of other brain regions controlling behavioural and emotional responses only occurs when they are overtly interested in the individuals whose faces they perceive. Such interest might therefore equate to their becoming consciously aware of them. Preliminary experiments have indicated that sheep may form and use mental images and that the regions of the temporal lobe that respond to faces can also do so under conditions where faces are suggested but do not actually appear. Such similarities between humans and sheep in this form of social recognition make it difficult to claim that humans can form mental images of faces whereas sheep cannot. While the ability to form and use mental imagery is not in itself definitive proof of consciousness, it is an important component part.
Here we uncover the mysteries of the baby as it develops in the womb, discussing how fetal development is controlled. We give insights into aspects of pregnancy not widely known, from the fetus starting to breathe months before it is born, to the question of whether it sleeps – and dreams. We discuss the ways in which information about the mother’s life and her environment affect the baby’s development. Although birth may seem the first major milestone for a baby, we emphasise that many other milestones have been passed before that, inside the womb, out of sight but over which parents can have substantial influence. We give insights into new discoveries about how the organs of the fetal body develop in prediction of the world in which that individual ‘expects’ to live, and what happens when the prediction turns out to be wrong. The idea that the fetus is preparing for life after birth will get the reader thinking about the long-term consequences of the way a fetus develops. Each of us is unique as a result of our development – and nobody is perfect. Our unique development starts from the moment of conception, which introduces the next chapter on sex.
This chapter explores the fledgling countercultural popular music industry in Germany in the 1960s and 1970s and summarises the economic conditions under which Krautrock developed. Compared to Britain and the United States, Germany was a disadvantaged place for popular music production. The chapter gives an overview of the places, events, and people that prepared the ground for independent popular music production away from the Schlager-focused major labels. The role of music journalist Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser in organising Krautrock’s founding event, the International Essen Song Days in 1968, and his three influential record companies Ohr, Pilz, and Kosmische Kuriere, is highlighted. Independent record labels like Kaiser’s and others such as Brain and Sky enabled musical experimentation and allowed a German avant-garde interpretation of rock music to thrive. The chapter outlines Krautrock’s reception on the international market, considering commercial successes (Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk) and failures (Faust). Independent record producers, most notably Conny Plank and Dieter Dierks, were indispensable for their creative contribution to many Krautrock records and as intermediaries between Krautrock artists and their record companies.
Aging is a subject of concern to everyone, but is widely misunderstood. If we view it as inevitable, we miss the fact that not everyone is able to grow to an old age. Realization of this reality helps us to understand that aging presents a wonderful opportunity - an opportunity to make choices about how we live which can enhance the aging process and offer a chance to live to our potential. This book clearly presents the four, multiple reserve, factors (cognitive, physical, psychological and social) which impact our ability to have healthy responses to the stresses of aging. By giving the biological basis for the advice given, you will learn the steps to take in your activities, diet and mental outlook to grasp the opportunity that aging offers. Everyone must know that what we do makes a difference.
Chapter 5: Neurocognitive Processing and Reading Ability. This chapter examines the relationship between neurological processing and reading comprehension. Over the past twenty years, there has been an increasing connection between real-time behavioral language (and reading) processing and newer perspectives on neurolinguistic processing. In order to provide an introductory overview, the chapter first described the key physiological features of language in the brain. The goal is to connect neurological processes and cognitive-behavioral research on reading comprehension. Both cortical and sub-cortical contributions are addressed as is the recent turn to networks and pathways (the connectome). The chapter also describes the various measurement methods for examining neurological processing (fMRI, ERP, PET, DTI, TMS, MEG). The chapter also notes distinct, but very similar, language processing when engaged in L2 reading. The last major section focuses more specifically on ERP and fMRI research studies, involving both L1 and L2 reading. This chapter does not note implications for instruction.
Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory disease with pelvic pain and uncharacteristic accompanying symptoms. Endometriosis-associated pain often persists despite treatment of the disease, thus it brings a deleterious impact on their personal lives as well as imposing a substantial economic burden on them. At present, mechanisms underlie endometriosis-associated pain including inflammatory reaction, injury, aberrant blood vessels and the morphological and functional anomaly of the peripheral and central nervous systems. The nerve endings are influenced by the physical and chemical factors surrounding the lesion, via afferent nerve to the posterior root of the spinal nerve, then to the specific cerebral cortex involved in nociception. However, our understanding of the aetiology and mechanism of this complex pain process caused by endometriosis remains incomplete. Identifying the pathogenesis of endometriosis is crucial to disease management, offering proper treatment, and helping patients to seek novel targets for the maintenance and contributors of chronic pain. The main aim of this review is to focus on every possible mechanism of pain related to endometriosis in both peripheral and central nervous systems, and to present related mechanisms of action from the interaction between peripheral lesions and nerves to the changes in transmission of pain, resulting in hyperalgesia and the corresponding alterations in cerebral cortex and brain metabolism.