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Early regular experience with dual-language management is thought to shape executive function (EF) circuitry during development. However, previous investigations of bilingual children's EF have largely focused on behavioral measures, or on cognitive aspects of EF. The first part of this study compared monolingual and bilingual preschoolers’ performance on more purely cognitive and more affective versions of a card-sort task, and the second part investigated Error-related negativity (ERN) event-related potential (ERP) waveforms to understand error-awareness mechanisms underlying task performance. Behavioral results showed bilingual advantages in reaction times but not accuracy, and interaction effects of language background, level of challenge, and affective/motivational salience on reaction times. Electrophysiological results revealed smaller ERN peak amplitudes in bilinguals compared to monolinguals in frontal and frontocentral midline regions. Results highlight that bilingualism may shape motivational mechanisms and neural learning mechanisms such as error-detection, such that bilinguals may be less focused on their errors.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is debilitating for patients and society. There are a number of treatment methods albeit not all patients respond to these and an interesting method using electroencephalography-based neurofeedback (EEG-NF) has become more prominent in recent years. This systematic review aimed to assess whether EEG-NF, compared with sham NF, other treatment, or no treatment, is effective for PTSD. Primary outcomes were self-harm, PTSD symptoms, level of functioning and health-related quality of life.
Systematic literature searches for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were conducted in six databases. Random effects meta-analysis was performed. Certainty of evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation.
Four RCTs were included (123 participants). Suicidal thoughts were significantly reduced after EEG-NF compared with a waiting list in a small study. PTSD symptoms were assessed in all studies with different instruments. Results were consistently in favor of EEG-NF with large effect sizes (standardized mean difference −2.30 (95% confidence interval: −4.37 to −0.24). One study reported significantly improved level of executive functioning and one study a reduction in use of psychotropic medication. Complications were scarcely reported. Certainty of evidence was assessed as very low for the four assessed outcomes.
Based on four RCTs, with several study limitations and imprecision, it is uncertain whether EEG-NF reduces suicidal thoughts, PTSD symptoms, medication use, or improves function. Although all studies showed promising results, further studies are needed to increase the certainty of evidence.
Accurate perception of visual contours is essential for seeing and differentiating objects in the environment. Both the ability to detect visual contours and the influence of perceptual context created by surrounding stimuli are diminished in people with schizophrenia (SCZ). The central aim of the present study was to better understand the biological underpinnings of impaired contour integration and weakened effects of perceptual context. Additionally, we sought to determine whether visual perceptual abnormalities reflect genetic factors in SCZ and are present in other severe mental disorders.
We examined behavioral data and event-related potentials (ERPs) collected during the perception of simple linear contours embedded in similar background stimuli in 27 patients with SCZ, 23 patients with bipolar disorder (BP), 23 first-degree relatives of SCZ, and 37 controls.
SCZ exhibited impaired visual contour detection while BP exhibited intermediate performance. The orientation of neighboring stimuli (i.e. flankers) relative to the contour modulated perception across all groups, but SCZ exhibited weakened suppression by the perceptual context created by flankers. Late visual (occipital P2) and cognitive (centroparietal P3) neural responses showed group differences and flanker orientation effects, unlike earlier ERPs (occipital P1 and N1). Moreover, behavioral effects of flanker context on contour perception were correlated with modulation in P2 & P3 amplitudes.
In addition to replicating and extending findings of abnormal contour integration and visual context modulation in SCZ, we provide novel evidence that the abnormal use of perceptual context is associated with higher-order sensory and cognitive processes.
Depression even at the subclinical level is often accompanied by sleep disturbances, but little is known about the dynamics of the sleep stages in relation to depressive symptoms. We examined whether the amount, associations, and transition probabilities of various sleep stages were associated with depressive symptoms in a community sample of adolescents.
The participants (N = 172, 59% girls, mean age 16.9 years) underwent overnight polysomnography and provided data on depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory II). The association between depression status and total duration of each stage type was analyzed using ANOVA and survival analyses. The associations between the number of different sleep stage types were analyzed using graphical Gaussian models, mixed graphical models, and relative importance networks. A Markov chain algorithm was used to estimate the transition probabilities between each state and these probabilities were further compared between depression status groups.
The associations between N1 and N3 were significantly stronger in both directions of the association (p-values for interactions 0.012 and 0.006) in those with more depressive symptoms. Similarly, a stronger association was observed from N1 to wake stage in those with more depressive symptoms (p-value for interaction 0.002). In those with more depressive symptoms, it was more likely to transition from N2 to N3 and from REM to N2 compared to others.
These findings indicate that changes in sleep architecture are not limited to clinical depression and that the transitional dynamics of sleep stages are an important marker of subclinical depression.
Although child maltreatment is a major public health concern, which adversely affects psychological and physical development, we know relatively little concerning psychophysiological and personality factors that may modify risk in children exposed to maltreatment. Using a three-wave, short-term prospective design, we examined the influence of individual differences in two disparate psychophysiological measures of risk (i.e., resting frontal brain electrical activity and respiratory sinus arrhythmia) on the trajectories of extraversion and neuroticism in a sample of female adolescents (N = 55; M age = 14.02 years) exposed to child maltreatment. Adolescents exposed to child maltreatment with relatively higher left frontal absolute alpha power (i.e., lower brain activity) at rest exhibited increasing trajectories of extraversion, and adolescents exposed to child maltreatment with relatively lower respiratory sinus arrhythmia at rest displayed increasing trajectories of neuroticism over 1 year. Individual differences in psychophysiological measures indexing resting central and peripheral nervous system activity may therefore differentially influence personality characteristics in adolescent females exposed to child maltreatment.
The effects of air traffic conflict geometry have been well investigated in prior studies, particularly in the context of the pilot, though little in the context of the air traffic control officer (ATCO). No study to date has investigated the effects of conflict geometry on human factors variables of ATCOs through objective and physiological approaches. This study examines the effects of conflict geometries on ATCO situation awareness, stress level and brain activity during conflict resolution. Fifteen participants were instructed to resolve six different conflict geometries: crossing level, crossing non-level, converging level, converging non-level, overtaking level, and overtaking non-level. The results indicate that converging and crossing conflicts led to lower situation awareness (SA), higher stress level, and higher theta activation at the temporal and parietal lobes. Level conflict led to lower SA. The findings offer two implications, providing insights for the formal guidelines in ATC conflict resolution training and provision of inputs for the conflict resolution aid development.
Subclinical adolescent alcohol use is highly prevalent and may have deleterious effects on important psychosocial and brain outcomes. Prior research has focused on identifying endophenotypes of pathological drinking, and the predictors of normative drinking remain understudied. This study investigated the incremental predictive value of two potential psychophysiological endophenotypes, P3 amplitude (an index of decision making) and midfrontal theta power (a correlate of attentional control), for prospectively predicting the expression and initiation of alcohol use emerging in adolescence.
A large (N = 594) epidemiological sample was prospectively assessed at ages 11/14/17. Alcohol/substance use was assessed at all ages via a computerized self-report inventory. EEG was recorded at age-14 during a visual oddball task to elicit P3 and theta.
Reduced target-related P3 and theta at age-14 prospectively predicted drinking at age-17 independent of one another. Among alcohol-naive individuals at age-14, attenuated P3 and theta increased the odds of new-onset alcohol behaviors 3 years later. Importantly, the endophenotypes provided significant incremental predictive power of future non-clinical alcohol use beyond relevant risk factors (prior alcohol use; tobacco/illicit drug initiation; parental alcohol use disorder).
The current report is the first of our knowledge to demonstrate that deviations in parietal P3 and midfrontal theta prospectively predict the emergence of normative/non-pathological drinking. P3 and theta provide modest yet significant explanatory variance beyond prominent self-report and familial risk measures. Findings offer strong evidence supporting the predictive utility of P3 and theta as candidate endophenotypes for adolescent drinking.
Onomatopoeia is widespread across the world’s languages. They represent a relatively simple iconic mapping: the phonological/phonetic properties of the word evokes acoustic related features of referents. Here, we explore the EEG correlates of processing onomatopoeia in English. Participants were presented with a written cue-word (e.g., leash) and then with a spoken target-word. The target-word was either an onomatopoeia (e.g., bark), a sound-related but arbitrary word (e.g., melody), or another arbitrary word (e.g., bike). Participants judged whether the cue- and the target-word were similar in meaning. We analysed Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) in different time-windows: (i) early (100–200 and 200–250 ms) to assess differences in processing at the form-level; (ii) the N400 time-window (300–500 ms) in order to establish if there are differences in semantic processing across our word-types; and (iii) late (600–900 ms) to assess post-lexical effects. We found that onomatopoeia differed from the other words in the N400 time-window: when cue and target were unrelated, onomatopoeic words led to greater negativity which can be accounted for in terms of enhanced semantic activation of onomatopoeia which leads to greater salience of the mismatch. We discuss results in the context of a growing body of literature investigating iconicity in language processing and development.
Attention impairment is an under-investigated feature and diagnostic criterion of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) that is associated with poorer outcomes. Despite increasing knowledge regarding mechanisms of attention in healthy adults, we lack a detailed characterization of attention impairments and their neural signatures in MDD.
Here, we focus on selective attention and advance a deep multi-modal characterization of these impairments in MDD, using data acquired from n = 1008 patients and n = 336 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Selective attention impairments were operationalized and anchored in a behavioral performance measure, assessed within a battery of cognitive tests. We sought to establish the accompanying neural signature using independent measures of functional magnetic resonance imaging (15% of the sample) and electroencephalographic recordings of oscillatory neural activity.
Greater impairment on the behavioral measure of selective attention was associated with intrinsic hypo-connectivity of the fronto-parietal attention network. Not only was this relationship specific to the fronto-parietal network unlike other large-scale networks; this hypo-connectivity was also specific to selective attention performance unlike other measures of cognition. Selective attention impairment was also associated with lower posterior alpha (8–13 Hz) power at rest and was related to more severe negative bias (frequent misidentifications of neutral faces as sad and lingering attention on sad faces), relevant to clinical features of negative attributions and brooding. Selective attention impairments were independent of overall depression severity and of worrying or sleep problems.
These results provide a foundation for the clinical translational development of objective markers and targeted therapeutics for attention impairment in MDD.
A 16-year-old boy with learning disability presented with nocturnal pharmaco-resistant focal seizures consisting of right arm/axilla pain, sometimes followed by tonic-clonic movements of right arm/leg since 8 years of age. He was on valproate and levetiracetam and had failed multiple drugs in the past. Family history and examination were unremarkable.
Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the influence of lower limb loss (LL) on mental workload by assessing neurocognitive measures in individuals with unilateral transtibial (TT) versus those with transfemoral (TF) LL while dual-task walking under varying cognitive demand. Methods: Electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded as participants performed a task of varying cognitive demand while being seated or walking (i.e., varying physical demand). Results: The findings revealed both groups of participants (TT LL vs. TF LL) exhibited a similar EEG theta synchrony response as either the cognitive or the physical demand increased. Also, while individuals with TT LL maintained similar performance on the cognitive task during seated and walking conditions, those with TF LL exhibited performance decrements (slower response times) on the cognitive task during the walking in comparison to the seated conditions. Furthermore, those with TF LL neither exhibited regional differences in EEG low-alpha power while walking, nor EEG high-alpha desynchrony as a function of cognitive task difficulty while walking. This lack of alpha modulation coincided with no elevation of theta/alpha ratio power as a function of cognitive task difficulty in the TF LL group. Conclusions: This work suggests that both groups share some common but also different neurocognitive features during dual-task walking. Although all participants were able to recruit neural mechanisms critical for the maintenance of cognitive-motor performance under elevated cognitive or physical demands, the observed differences indicate that walking with a prosthesis, while concurrently performing a cognitive task, imposes additional cognitive demand in individuals with more proximal levels of amputation.
Despite the critical role of working memory (WM) in neuropsychiatric conditions, there remains a dearth of available WM-targeted interventions. Gamma and theta oscillations as measured with electroencephalography (EEG) or magnetoencephalography (MEG) reflect the neural underpinnings of WM. The WM processes that fluctuate in conjunction with WM demands are closely correlated with WM test performance, and their EEG signatures are abnormal in several clinical populations. Novel interventions such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) have been shown to modulate these oscillations and subsequently improve WM performance and clinical symptoms. Systematically identifying pathological WM-related gamma/theta oscillatory patterns with EEG/MEG and developing ways to target them with interventions such as TMS is an active area of clinical research. Results hold promise for enhancing the outcomes of our patients with WM deficits and for moving the field of clinical neuropsychology towards a mechanism-based approach.
Objective: Focal cortical dysplasia (FCD) is a common cause of refractory, focal onset epilepsy in children. Interictal, scalp electroencephalograph (EEG) markers have been associated with these pathologies and epilepsy surgery may be an option for some patients. We aim to study how scalp EEG and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) markers of FCD affect referral of these patients for surgical evaluation. Methods: A single-center, retrospective review of children with focal onset epilepsy. Patients were included if they were between 1 month and 18 years of age, had focal onset seizures, prolonged scalp EEG monitoring, and an MRI conducted after 2 years of age. Statistics were carried out using the chi-squared and student’s t-test, as well as a logistic regression model. Results: Sixty-eight patients were included in the study. Thirty-seven of these patients were referred to a comprehensive pediatric epilepsy program (CPEP) for surgical evaluation, and of these 22% showed FCD EEG markers, 32% FCD MRI markers, and 10% had both. These markers were also present in patients not referred to a CPEP. The MRI markers were significantly associated with CPEP referral, whereas EEG markers were not. Neither marker type was associated with epilepsy surgery. Conclusion: This study found that children with focal onset epilepsy were more likely to be referred for surgical evaluation if they were medically refractory, or were diagnosed with FCD or tumor on MRI. Scalp EEG markers of FCD were not associated with CPEP referral. The online tool CASES may be a useful physician guide for identifying appropriate children for epilepsy surgery referral.
Background: Continuous EEG monitoring, in the form of amplitude-integrated (aEEG) or conventional EEG (cEEG), is used in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to detect subclinical central nervous system pathologies, inform management, and prognosticate neurodevelopmental outcomes. To learn more about provider attitudes and current practices in Canada, we evaluated neurologist and neonatologist opinions regarding NICU EEG monitoring. Methods: A 15-item electronic questionnaire was distributed to 114 pediatric neurologists and 176 neonatologists working across 25 sites. Results: The survey was completed by 87 of 290 physicians. Continuous EEG monitoring is utilized by 97% of pediatric neurologists and 92% of neonatologists. Neurologists and neonatologists differ in their EEG monitoring preferences. For seizure detection and diagnosis of encephalopathy, significantly more neonatologists favor aEEG alone or in combination with cEEG, whereas most neurologists prefer cEEG (p = 0.047, 0.001). There is a significant difference in the perceived gaps in monitoring patients with cEEG between neonatologists (13% would monitor more) and neurologists (41% would monitor more) (p = 0.007). Half of all respondents (53%) reported that they would be interested in attending an education session on neonatal EEG monitoring. Conclusions: Canadian neurologists and neonatologists do not agree on the best monitoring approach for critically ill neonates. Furthermore, neonatologists perceive a smaller cEEG monitoring gap as compared with neurologists. However, many participants from both specialties would like to increase long-term EEG monitoring in the NICU setting. Facilitating access to EEG monitoring and enhancing education may help to address these needs.
Objectives: This report examined theta-band neurodynamics for potential biomarkers of brain health in athletes with concussion. Methods: Participants included college-age contact/collision athletes with (N=24) and without a history of concussion (N=16) in Study 1. Study 2 (N=10) examined changes over time in contact/collision athletes. There were two primary dependent variables: (1) theta-band phase-synchronization (e.g., functional connectivity) between medial and right-lateral electrodes; and (2) the within-subject correlation between synchronization strength on error trials and post-error reaction time (i.e., operationalization of cognitive control). Results: Head injury history was inversely related with medial-lateral connectivity. Head injury was also related to declines in a neurobehavioral measure of cognitive control (i.e., the single-trial relationship between connectivity and post-error slowing). Conclusions: Results align with a theory of connectivity-mediated cognitive control. Mild injuries undetectable by behavioral measures may still be apparent on direct measures of neural functioning. This report demonstrates that connectivity and cognitive control measures may be useful for tracking recovery from concussion. Theoretically relevant neuroscientific findings in healthy adults may have applications in patient populations, especially with regard to monitoring brain health. (JINS 2019, 25, 314–323)
Using electroencephalography (EEG) power measures within conventional delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma bands, the aims of the current study were to highlight cortical correlates of subjective perception of cold pain (CP) and the associations of these measures with behavioral inhibition system (BIS), fight-flight-freeze system (FFFS), and behavioral approach system personality traits. EEG was recorded in 55 healthy right-handed women under (i) a white noise interruption detection condition (Baseline); (ii) enduring CP induced by the cold cup test. CP and Baseline EEG band power scores within conventional frequency bands served for covariance analyses. We found that: (1) higher Pain scorers had higher EEG beta power changes at left frontal, midline central, posterior temporal leads; (2) higher BIS was associated with greater EEG delta activity changes at parietal scalp regions; (3) higher FFFS was associated with higher EEG delta activity changes at temporal and left-parietal regions, and with lower EEG gamma activity changes at right parietal regions. High FFFS, compared to Low FFFS scorers, also showed a lower gamma power across the midline, posterior temporal, and parietal regions. Results suggest a functional role of higher EEG beta activity in the subjective perception of tonic pain. EEG delta activity underpins conflict resolution system responsible for passive avoidance control of pain, while higher EEG delta and lower EEG gamma activity changes, taken together, underpin active avoidance system responsible for pain escape behavior.
The Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality has as its main foundation a Behavioural Inhibition System (BIS), defined by anxiolytic drugs, in which high trait sensitivity should lead to internalising, anxiety, disorders. Conversely, it has been suggested that low BIS sensitivity would be a characteristic of externalising disorders. BIS output should lead to increased arousal and attention as well as behavioural inhibition. Here, therefore, we tested whether an externalising disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), involves low BIS sensitivity. Goal-Conflict-Specific Rhythmicity (GCSR) in an auditory Stop Signal Task is a right frontal EEG biomarker of BIS function. We assessed children diagnosed with ADHD-I (inattentive) or ADHD-C (combined) and healthy control groups for GCSR in: a) an initial smaller study in Dunedin, New Zealand (population ~120,000: 15 control, 10 ADHD-I, 10 ADHD-C); and b) a main larger one in Tehran, Iran (population ~9 [city]-16 [metropolis] million: 27 control, 18 ADHD-I, 21 ADHD-C). GCSR was clear in controls (particularly at 6–7 Hz) and in ADHD-C (particularly at 8–9 Hz) but was reduced in ADHD-I. Reduced attention and arousal in ADHD-I could be due, in part, to BIS dysfunction. However, hyperactivity and impulsivity in ADHD-C are unlikely to reflect reduced BIS activity. Increased GCSR frequency in ADHD-C may be due to increased input to the BIS. BIS dysfunction may contribute to some aspects of ADHD (and potentially other externalising disorders) and to some differences between the ADHD subtypes but other prefrontal systems (and, e.g. dopamine) are also important.
A patient with intractable epilepsy, previous right frontal resection, and active vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) developed new onset quasi-continuous twitching around the left eye. Electroencephalography showed no correlate to the orbicularis oculi twitches apart from myographic potentials at the left supraorbital and anterior frontal electrodes. Magnetoencephalography was performed using spatiotemporal signal space separation to suppress magnetic artifacts associated with the VNS apparatus. Magnetoencephalographic source imaging performed on the data back-averaged from the left supraorbital myographic potentials revealed an intrasulcal cortical generator situated in the posterior wall of the right precentral gyrus representing the eye area of the motor homunculus.
Numerous studies shown that structural hippocampal alterations are present in subjects at high risk of developing psychosis or schizophrenia. These findings indicate that in a subset of patients undergoing first-psychosis episode (FPE), hippocampal volume alterations are accompanied by associated cognitive and neuropsychological deficits. The combination of psychological deficits and neuroanatomical alterations, in turn, appears to increase treatment complexity and worsen clinical outcomes.
We aim to determine whether cognitive and neuropsychological functioning deficits precede or follow hippocampal alterations during early onset psychosis.
This cross-sectional study describes 3 case-studies of adolescent subjects, ages 16–17, admitted at the child and adolescent inpatient psychiatric unit in lieu of first psychotic episode. We conducted detailed structured clinical psychiatric interviews, anatomical-structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), sleep-deprived electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings, laboratory testing, and a comprehensive battery of psychological testing to better understand their clinical pictures.
Psychological testing in each patient demonstrated the presence of low to borderline intellectual functioning coupled with neuropsychological deficits in different psychiatric domains. Interestingly, these changes coincided with structural MRI alterations in the hippocampal area.
Our case report adds to the armamentarium of literature signifying that radiologically detectable alterations of the hippocampus may occur either concomitantly or closely following the development of early cognitive deficits in patients with FPE.