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Clinical intervention in early stages of psychotic disorders is crucial for the prevention of severe symptomatology trajectories and poor outcomes. Genetic variability is studied as a promising modulator of prognosis, thus novel approaches considering the polygenic nature of these complex phenotypes are required to unravel the mechanisms underlying the early progression of the disorder.
The sample comprised of 233 first-episode psychosis (FEP) subjects with clinical and cognitive data assessed periodically for a 2-year period and 150 matched controls. Polygenic risk scores (PRSs) for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, education attainment and cognitive performance were used to assess the genetic risk of FEP and to characterize their association with premorbid, baseline and progression of clinical and cognitive status.
Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and cognitive performance PRSs were associated with an increased risk of FEP [false discovery rate (FDR) ⩽ 0.027]. In FEP patients, increased cognitive PRSs were found for FEP patients with more cognitive reserve (FDR ⩽ 0.037). PRSs reflecting a genetic liability for improved cognition were associated with a better course of symptoms, functionality and working memory (FDR ⩽ 0.039). Moreover, the PRS of depression was associated with a worse trajectory of the executive function and the general cognitive status (FDR ⩽ 0.001).
Our study provides novel evidence of the polygenic bases of psychosis and its clinical manifestation in its first stage. The consistent effect of cognitive PRSs on the early clinical progression suggests that the mechanisms underlying the psychotic episode and its severity could be partially independent.
Are the dimensions of morphological diversity dependent on the cognitive pathways for processing, storage, and learning of word structure, and if so, how? Conversely, are languages that differ in their morphological structure processed and learned in different ways? This volume examines the relationship between linguistic cognition and the morphological diversity found in the world’s languages. As the idea that domain-general cognitive processes and morphological typology are inextricably linked has moved into the mainstream of linguistics, the field has diversified conceptually and methodologically. This introduction to the volume offers an overview of conceptual issues that underpin the volume’s papers and some of the methodological trends they reflect. It thus serves as a roadmap for the papers that follow.
While there is growing interest in the link between diet and psychological health, there is a surprising lack of studies investigating the precise associations between nutrient-rich foods (such as fruit and vegetables) v. nutrient-poor foods (such as energy-dense savoury and sweet snacks), and psychological health. Similarly, the psychological processes underpinning the relationship between dietary intake and psychological health remain unclear. Hence, the present study aimed to explore the relationship between dietary consumption and psychological health, with cognitive processes as a theoretical mediator. This cross-sectional online study included 428 healthy adults (53 % female; mean age = 39·7 years, sd = 13·0), with participants completing a range of validated questionnaires measuring dietary habits and psychological health. Stepwise multiple regression revealed that more frequent consumption of fruit was associated with reduced symptoms of depression (β = –0·109, P = 0·025) and greater positive psychological wellbeing (β = 0·187, P < 0·001). Conversely, more frequent savoury snacking was associated with increased anxiety (β = 0·127, P = 0·005). Further, mediation analyses revealed that more frequent consumption of savoury snacks was associated with increased symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety and reduced psychological wellbeing, via an increase in cognitive failures (ps < 0·001). These results provide new insights on the independent associations between certain types of food and psychological health, and the psychological mechanisms that may mediate these. Further work is now required to establish causality and determine whether these may represent modifiable dietary targets that can directly (and indirectly) influence our psychological health.
Transformations in the “behavioural innovativeness” of species—broadly, the capacity to generate new or novel behaviours—have been associated with significant evolutionary shifts in cognition by both philosophers and scientists. Whilst intuitively and theoretically appealing, this assumption lacks strong empirical support. One barrier being the absence of a good measure of behavioural innovation. This paper offers a solution to this problem by breaking down innovation into its components and presenting a novel multi-dimensional framework for characterising and comparing putative cases of behavioural innovation.
Human predation not only reduces prey densities, but also induces profound phenotypical changes in prey. Changes are increasingly well documented in the context of wildlife exploitation and range from morphological and life history modifications to physiological and behavioral effects. We focus on a form of human predation that has received almost no attention until now: Predation inflicted by lethal control of nuisance, pest, and alien species. We highlight the potential consequences of phenotypical changes in target species and explain the mechanisms by which phenotypical changes can arise, with emphasis on the role of associative learning and generalization. We then present an overview of a research program examining the ways in which the invasive common myna (Acridotheres tristis), one of the most broadly distributed invasive birds globally, is changing its behavior in response to heavy trapping pressure in some areas of Australia. A series of studies demonstrate how mynas learn about novel threats. Free-ranging mynas display compensatory responses to the threats of trapping and the mechanism of change is likely to involve cognition. This work has expanded our understanding of the adaptive significance of learning and memory mechanisms in nonhumans and has informed trapping practices for pest birds in Australia. We hope the chapter will help stimulate more research into the phenotypical changes associated with lethal control for which our work can serve as a model.
To design a meditation protocol and test its feasibility, acceptability and efficacy in conjunction with yoga training (YT) for persons with schizophrenia (SZ).
The meditation protocol consisted of Anapana (observing normal respiration) and Yoga Nidra (supine, restful awareness). In a single-blind randomised controlled trial, medicated and clinically stable outpatients diagnosed with SZ were randomised to receive treatment as usual (TAU), TAU augmented with YT or TAU augmented with meditation and yoga training (MYT) for 3 weeks (N = 145). Acceptability, clinical, social and cognitive functions were assessed after 3-week and 3-month post-randomisation using within-group and between-group analyses with repeated measures multivariate tests.
No group-wise differences in compliance, study discontinuation, major/serious side effects or adverse events were noted. For six assessed clinical variables, the direction of changes were in the desired direction and the effect sizes were greater in the MYT group compared with the TAU group at both time points. Changes in social function variables were greater at 3 months than at 3 weeks. Nominally significant improvement in individual cognitive domains were noted in all groups at both time points. All effect sizes were in the small to medium range.
MYT is feasible and acceptable and shows modest benefits for persons with SZ. MYT can also improve quality of life and clinical symptoms. Larger studies of longer duration are warranted.
Integrating an appreciation of natural behavior into laboratory studies, and laboratory techniques into field studies allows researchers to examine and control proximate factors while identifying adaptive problems faced by particular species. This focus reveals both important similarities and differences across phylogenetic lineages. Carnivores other than canids have been relatively neglected in the study of cognition. An examination of members of the ursid family reveals the important role of foraging ecology in shaping learning and memory in both wild and captive settings. Whereas top-down approaches tend to be anthropocentric, a bottom-up approach focused on the unique capacities and traits of individual species bears the most fruit in terms of understanding the selective pressures responsible for the emergence and maintenance of those traits.
People with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may have cognitive decline, a risk which can be particularly threatening at old age. However, it is yet unclear whether initial cognitive decline renders one more susceptible to subsequent PTSD following exposure to traumatic events, whether initial PTSD precedes cognitive decline or whether the effects are reciprocal.
This study examined the bidirectional longitudinal associations between cognitive function and PTSD symptoms and whether this association is mediated by depressive symptoms.
The study used data from two waves of the Israeli component of the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), collected in 2013 and 2015. This study focused on adults aged 50 years and above (N = 567, mean age = 65.9 years). Each wave used three measures of cognition (recall, fluency, and numeracy) and PTSD symptoms following exposure to war-related events. Data were analyzed using mediation analysis with path analysis.
Initial PTSD symptoms predicted cognitive decline in recall and fluency two years later, while baseline cognitive function did not impact subsequent PTSD symptoms. Partial mediation showed that older adults with more PTSD symptoms had higher depressive symptoms, which in turn were linked to subsequent cognitive decline across all three measures.
This study reveals that PTSD symptoms are linked with subsequent cognitive decline, supporting approaches addressing this direction. It further indicates that part of this effect can be explained by increased depressive symptoms. Thus, treatment for depressive symptoms may help reduce cognitive decline due to PTSD.
Animal studies have shown beneficial effects of probiotic supplementation on the hippocampus (HC) and cognitive performance. Evidence in humans is scarce. It was hypothesised that probiotic supplementation is associated with enhanced hippocampal (HC) regional grey matter volume (rGMV), as well as HC functional connectivity (FC). Relatedly improvements in mnestic and navigational performance, or emotional well-being, were expected to be observed in healthy human volunteers.
A randomised-controlled, double-blind trial (RCT) was conducted in N = 59 volunteers (age Mean = 27.1, s.d. = 6.7), applying a multi-strain probiotic (Vivomixx®) v. non-probiotic milk-powder placebo, each with 4.4 g/day, for 4 weeks. Volumetric data was extracted from 3T structural magnetic resonance images of total HC and -subfields. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and FreeSurfer-based analyses were performed. Potential neuroplastic change beyond HC was explored using whole-brain-VBM for white- and GMV. Seed-based FC was calculated based on HC. Cognitive tests included visual, map-based, object-location, and verbal memory, and spatial navigation. Mental health status (stress, anxiety, depression, and emotion-regulation) was assessed using self-reports.
There were no changes in HC-total, -subfield GMV, or FC, through probiotics. VBM revealed no changes at a whole-brain-level. There were no effects on cognitive performance or mental health. Evidence in favor of the null-hypothesis, using Bayesian statistics, was consistent.
The applied multi-strain probiotic did not elicit any effects concerning hippocampal structural plasticity, cognition, or mental well-being in young, healthy adults. For future studies, longer application/observation RCTs, perhaps in stressed, otherwise psychologically/ cognitively vulnerable, or ageing groups, with well-founded strain selection and investigation of mechanism, are advised.
While Parkinson’s disease is associated with impairments in many aspects of prospective cognition, no study to date has tested whether these difficulties extend to problems using episodic foresight to guide future-directed behavior. To provide the first examination of whether people with Parkinson’s disease are impaired in their capacity to initiate and apply episodic foresight.
People with Parkinson’s disease (n = 42), and a demographically matched neurotypical comparison group (n = 42) completed a validated behavioral assessment that met strict criteria for assessing episodic foresight (Virtual Week-Foresight), as well as a broader neurocognitive and clinical test battery.
People with Parkinson’s disease were significantly less likely than the comparison group to acquire items that would later allow a problem to be solved and were also less likely to subsequently use these items for problem resolution. These deficits were largely unrelated to performance on other cognitive measures or clinical characteristics of the disorder.
The ability to engage in episodic foresight in an adaptive way is compromised in Parkinson’s disease. This appears to be a stable feature of the disorder, and one that is distinct from other clinical symptoms and neurocognitive deficits. It is now critical to establish exactly why these difficulties exist and how they impact on real-life functional capacity.
Deficits in decision-making are a common consequence of moderate-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Less is known, however, about how individuals with TBI perform on moral decision-making tasks. To address this gap in the literature, the current study probed moral decision-making in a sample of individuals with TBI using a widely employed experimental measure.
We administered a set of 50 trolley-type dilemmas to 31 individuals with TBI and 31 demographically matched, neurotypical comparison participants. We hypothesized that individuals with TBI would be more likely to offer utilitarian responses to personal dilemmas than neurotypical peers.
In contrast to our hypothesis, we observed that individuals with TBI were not more likely to offer utilitarian responses for personal dilemmas.
Our results suggest that moral decision-making ability is not uniformly impaired following TBI. Rather, neuroanatomical (lesion location) and demographic (age at injury) characteristics may be more predictive of a disruption in moral decision-making than TBI diagnosis or injury severity alone. These results inform the neurobiology of moral decision-making and have implications for characterizing patterns of spared and impaired cognitive abilities in TBI.
Inaccurate self-assessment of performance is common among people with serious mental illness, and it is associated with poor functional outcomes independent from ability. However, the temporal interdependencies between judgments of performance, confidence in accuracy, and feedback about performance are not well understood.
We evaluated two tasks: the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and the Penn Emotion recognition task (ER40). These tasks were modified to include item-by-item confidence and accuracy judgments, along with feedback on accuracy. We evaluated these tasks as time series and applied network modeling to understand the temporal relationships between momentary confidence, accuracy judgments, and feedback. The sample constituted participants with schizophrenia (SZ; N = 144), bipolar disorder (BD; N = 140), and healthy controls (HC; N = 39).
Network models for both WCST and ER40 revealed denser and lagged connections between confidence and accuracy judgments in SZ and, to a lesser extent in BD, that were not evidenced in HC. However, associations between feedback regarding accuracy with subsequent accuracy judgments and confidence were weaker in SZ and BD. In each of these comparisons, the BD group was intermediate between HC and SZ. In analyses of the WCST, wherein incorporating feedback is crucial for success, higher confidence predicted worse subsequent performance in SZ but not in HC or BD.
While network models are exploratory, the results suggest some potential mechanisms by which challenges in self-assessment may impede performance, perhaps through hyperfocus on self-generated judgments at the expense of incorporation of feedback.
In the present study, we aimed to perform a systematic review evaluating the cognitive performance of patients with hoarding disorder (HD) compared with controls. We hypothesized that HD patients would present greater cognitive impairment than controls.
A systematic search of the literature using the electronic databases MEDLINE, SCOPUS, and LILACS was conducted on May 2020, with no date limit. The search terms were “hoarding disorder,” “cognition,” “neuropsychology,” “cognitive impairment,” and “cognitive deficit.” We included original studies assessing cognitive functioning in patients with HD.
We retrieved 197 studies initially. Of those, 22 studies were included in the present study. We evaluated 1757 patients who were 41 to 72 years old. All selected studies comprised case–control studies and presented fair quality. Contrary to our hypothesis, HD patients showed impairment only in categorization skills in comparison with controls, particularly at confidence to complete categorization tasks. Regarding attention, episodic memory, working memory, information-processing speed, planning, decision-making, inhibitory control, mental flexibility, language, and visuospatial ability, HD patients did not show impairment when compared with controls. There is a paucity of studies on social cognition in HD patients, although they may show deficits. The impact of emotion in cognition is also understudied in HD patients.
Except for categorization skills, the cognitive performance in HD patients does not seem to be impaired when compared with that in controls. Further work is needed to explore social cognition and the impact of emotion in cognitive performance in HD patients.
Chapter 5 argues that the feeling of harmony expressed by pure aesthetic judgments is to be understood as the promissory feeling that a sensible manifold can be brought under concepts. The manifold which evokes in us this particular feeling of cognitive purposiveness makes us subconsciously identify it as an object exemplary of a natural kind, even before we have found concepts under which to subsume it and its kind. Furthermore, it is only on the assumption that the same manifolds will bring about this feeling in all of us that we will be able to make cognitive judgments about the same objects. Pure aesthetic judgments underwrite our pre-conceptual identification of spatial forms as exemplary of objective natural kinds. It is a necessary condition of cognition that we carve up the manifold given to us in intuition into objects exemplary of natural kinds in the same manner. The assumption of a common sense is a necessary condition of objective empirical experience and knowledge. It grounds the appeal to universal assent, which aesthetic judgments express. The Critique of the Aesthetic Power of Judgment is an essential part of the transcendental account of the conditions of empirical experience and knowledge.
Kant announces that the Critique of the Power of Judgment will bring his entire critical enterprise to an end. But it is by no means agreed upon that it in fact does so and, if it does, how. In this book, Ido Geiger argues that a principal concern of the third Critique is completing the account of the transcendental conditions of empirical experience and knowledge. This includes both Kant's analysis of natural beauty and his discussion of teleological judgments of organisms and of nature generally. Geiger's original reading of the third Critique shows that it forms a unified whole - and that it does in fact deliver the final part of Kant's transcendental undertaking. His book will be valuable to all who are interested in Kant's theory of the aesthetic and conceptual purposiveness of nature.
There is now evidence to suggest that there may be an interaction between B vitamins and n-3 PUFA, with suggestions that increasing intake of both nutrients simultaneously may benefit cognition in older adults. The aim of this systematic review was to investigate whether supplementation with a combination of n-3 PUFA and B vitamins can prevent cognitive decline in older adults. Randomised controlled trials conducted in older adults that measured cognitive function were retrieved. The included trials provided a combination of n-3 PUFA and B vitamins alone, or in combination with other nutrients. Trials that provided n-3 PUFA alone and also measured B vitamin status or provided B vitamin supplementation alone and measured n-3 PUFA status were also included. The databases searched were The Cochrane Library, EMBASE, CINAHL, Scopus and MEDLINE. A total of 14 papers were included in the analysis (n 4913; age: 60–70 years; follow-up 24 weeks to 4 years). The meta-analysis results found a significant benefit of nutrient formulas, which included both n-3 PUFA and B vitamins alongside other nutrients, v. placebo on global cognition assessed using composite scores from a neuropsychological test battery (G = 0·23, P = 0·002), global cognition using single measures of cognition (G = 0·28, P = 0·004) and episodic memory (G = 0·32, P = 0·001). The results indicate that providing a combination of n-3 PUFA and B vitamins as part of a multi-nutrient formula benefits cognition in older adults v. a placebo, and the potential for an interaction between these key nutrients should be considered in future experimental work.
Persons with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) are at increased risk for cognitive dysfunction. Considering the impact and potential ramifications of cognitive dysfunction, it is important that cognition is routinely assessed in PwMS. Thus, it is also important to identify a screener that is accurate and sensitive to MS-related cognitive difficulties, which can inform decisions for more resource-intensive neuropsychological testing. However, research focused on available self-report screeners has been mixed, such as with the Multiple Sclerosis Neuropsychological Screening Questionnaire (MSNQ). This study aims to clarify the relationship between subjective and objective assessment of cognitive functioning in MS by examining domain-specific performance and intraindividual variability (IIV).
87 PwMS (F = 65, M = 22) completed a comprehensive neuropsychological battery which included self- and informant-report measures of neurocognitive functioning. Scores were examined in relation to mean performance on five domains of cognitive functioning and two measures of IIV.
The MSNQ-Self was inversely associated with executive function, verbal memory, and visual memory; it was not associated with IIV. The MSNQ-Informant was inversely associated with executive function and verbal memory, and positively associated with one measure of IIV. The MSNQ-Self showed a correlation of moderate effect size with depression (r = .39) while the MSNQ-Informant did not.
Results suggest that the MSNQ-Self and MSNQ-Informant show similar utility. Our findings also suggest that domains of executive function and memory may be most salient, thus more reflected in subjective reports of cognitive functioning. Future work should further examine the impact of mood disturbance with cognitive performance and IIV.
The present study examined the differential effect of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism on neuropsychological functioning in children with traumatic brain injury (TBI) relative to orthopedic injury (OI).
Participants were drawn from a prospective, longitudinal study of children who sustained a TBI (n = 69) or OI (n = 72) between 3 and 7 years of age. Children completed a battery of neuropsychological measures targeting attention, memory, and executive functions at four timepoints spanning the immediate post-acute period to 18 months post-injury. Children also completed a comparable age-appropriate battery of measures approximately 7 years post-injury. Parents rated children’s dysexecutive behaviors at all timepoints.
Longitudinal mixed models revealed a significant allele status × injury group interaction with a medium effect size for verbal fluency. Cross-sectional models at 7 years post-injury revealed non-significant but medium effect sizes for the allele status x injury group interaction for fluid reasoning and immediate and delayed verbal memory. Post hoc stratified analyses revealed a consistent pattern of poorer neuropsychological functioning in Met carriers relative to Val/Val homozygotes in the TBI group, with small effect sizes; the opposite trend or no appreciable effect was observed in the OI group.
The results suggest a differential effect of the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism on verbal fluency, and possibly fluid reasoning and immediate and delayed verbal memory, in children with early TBI relative to OI. The Met allele—associated with reduced activity-dependent secretion of BDNF—may confer risk for poorer neuropsychological functioning in children with TBI.
To further investigate objective measures of cognitive fatigue (CF), defined as the inability to sustain performance over time, in newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, by conducting a performance analysis on the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT) based on the type of errors (omissions vs. incorrect responses) committed.
Sixty-two newly diagnosed patients with MS (pwMS) and 41 healthy controls (HC) completed the PASAT. Analysis of the change in performance during the test was performed by comparing the number of correct responses, incorrect responses, and omissions in the 1st versus the 3rd tertile of the PASAT.
A significant decline in accuracy over time was observed to be related to an increment in the number of omissions, significantly more pronounced in pwMS than in HC. No change in the number of incorrect responses throughout the PASAT was observed for either group.
CF can be detected even in newly diagnosed pwMS and might objectively manifest as a progressive increase in omissions during a sustained highly demanding task (i.e., PASAT). This pattern may reflect slowed processing speed and increased fatigue in pwMS. Focusing on omissions on the PASAT instead of correct responses only may improve its specificity as an objective measure of CF.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating neurological disease associated with a variety of psychological, cognitive, and motoric symptoms. Walking is among the most important functions compromised by MS. Dual-task walking (DTW), an everyday activity in which people walk and engage in a concurrent, discrete task, has been assessed in MS, but little is known about how it relates to other MS symptoms. Self-awareness theory suggests that DTW may be a function of the interactions among psychological, cognitive, and motor processes.
Cognitive testing, self-report assessments for depression and falls self-efficacy (FSE), and walk evaluations [DTW and single-task walk (STW)] were assessed in seventy-three people with MS in a clinical care setting. Specifically, we assessed whether psychological factors (depression and FSE) that alter subjective evaluations regarding one’s abilities would moderate the relationships between physical and cognitive abilities and DTW performance.
DTW speed is related to diverse physical and cognitive predictors. In support of self-awareness theory, FSE moderated the relationship between STW and DTW speeds such that lower FSE attenuated the strength of the relationship between them. DTW costs – the change in speed normalized by STW speed – did not relate to cognitive and motor predictors. DTW costs did relate to depressive symptoms, and depressive symptoms moderated the effect of information processing on DTW costs.
Findings indicate that an interplay of physical ability and psychological factors – like depression and FSE – may enhance understanding of walking performance under complex, real-world, DTW contexts.