Matching Items (11)

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The Effects of Story Champs and Puente de Cuentos on the Maze Usage and Story Retell Abilities of Bilingual Preschoolers

Description

In this pilot study, the purpose was to determine if certain language interventions could help bilingual children reduce maze use and improve their story retell abilities. We used language intervention,

In this pilot study, the purpose was to determine if certain language interventions could help bilingual children reduce maze use and improve their story retell abilities. We used language intervention, Story Champs, and its Spanish version, Puente de Cuentos to help bilingual children improve their story retell abilities. We conducted the intervention over the course of three days in both Spanish and English. The children participated in three stories in each language each day. They also received a narrative measure before and after the intervention to measure gains in story ability and to measure maze use. Results of the study indicated that there were no statistically-significant differences in the children's story retell abilities or maze use before and after the intervention. Nevertheless, we are encouraged by our results for future further study because of some improvements the children made.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

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Effects of Story Champs and Puente de Cuentos on Bilingual Preschoolers' Use of Emotional Terms and Ability to Tell Stories

Description

This pilot study evaluated whether Story Champs and Puente de Cuentos helped bilingual preschoolers increase their usage of emotional terms and ability to tell stories. Participants in this study included

This pilot study evaluated whether Story Champs and Puente de Cuentos helped bilingual preschoolers increase their usage of emotional terms and ability to tell stories. Participants in this study included 10 Spanish-English bilingual preschoolers. Intervention was conducted in 9 sessions over 3 days using the Test of Narrative Retell to measure results. Results did not find significant gains in either emotional term usage or ability to tell stories, but the results were promising as a pilot study.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

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Motor system integrity in older adults with autism spectrum disorder

Description

Background: Gait disturbance, clumsiness, and other mild movement problems are often observed in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Maurer and Damasio 1982). As the brain ages, these symptoms may

Background: Gait disturbance, clumsiness, and other mild movement problems are often observed in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Maurer and Damasio 1982). As the brain ages, these symptoms may persist or worsen in late adulthood in those diagnosed with ASD. This study focused on older adults with ASD to study motor behavior and underlying brain integrity. Using a finger tapping task, motor performance was measured in a cross-sectional study comparing older adults with ASD and age-matched typically developing (TD) controls. We hypothesized that older adults with ASD would show poorer motor performance (slower finger tapping speed). We also hypothesized that underlying brain differences, measured using MRI, in regions associated with motor function including the primary motor cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum, as well as the white matter connecting tracts would exist between groups and be associated with the proposed disparity in motor performance.

Method: A finger oscillation (Finger Tapping) test was administered to both ASD (n=21) and TD (n=20) participants aged 40-70 year old participants as a test of fine motor speed. Magnetic resonance (MR) images were collected using a Philips 3 Tesla scanner. 3D T1-weighted and diffusion tensor images (DTI) were obtained to measure gray and white matter volume and white matter integrity, respectively. FreeSurfer, an automated volumetric measurement software, was used to determine group volumetric differences. Mean, radial, and axial diffusivity, fractional anisotropy, and local diffusion homogeneity were measured from DTI images using PANDA software in order to evaluate white matter integrity.

Results: All participants were right-handed and there were no significant differences in demographic variables (ASD/TD, means) including age (51.9/49.1 years), IQ (107/112) and years education (15/16). Total brain volume was not significantly different between groups. No statistically significant group differences were observed in finger tapping speed. ASD participants compared to TDs showed a trend of slower finger tapping (taps/10 seconds) speed on the dominant hand (47.00 (±11.2) vs. (50.5 (±6.6)) and nondominant hand (44.6 (±7.6) vs. (47.2 (±6.6)). However, a large degree of variability was observed in the ASD group, and the Levene’s test for homogeneity of variance approached significance (p=0.053) on the dominant, but not the nondominant, hand. No significant group differences in gray matter regional volume were found for brain regions associated with performing motor tasks. In contrast, group differences were found on several measures of white matter including the corticospinal tract, anterior internal capsule and middle cerebellar peduncle. Brain-behavior correlations showed that dominant finger tapping speed correlated with left hemisphere white matter integrity of the corticospinal tract and right hemisphere cerebellar white matter in the ASD group.

Conclusions: No significant differences were observed between groups in finger tapping speed but the high degree of variability seen in the ASD group. Differences in motor performance appear to be associated with observed brain differences, particularly in the integrity of white matter tracts contributing to motor functioning.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-05

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The GABAA Antagonist Bicuculline Attenuates Progesterone-Induced Memory Impairments in Middle-Aged Ovariectomized Rats

Description

In women, high levels of natural progesterone have been associated with detrimental cognitive effects via the “maternal amnesia” phenomenon as well as in controlled experiments. In aged ovariectomized (Ovx) rats,

In women, high levels of natural progesterone have been associated with detrimental cognitive effects via the “maternal amnesia” phenomenon as well as in controlled experiments. In aged ovariectomized (Ovx) rats, progesterone has been shown to impair cognition and impact the GABAergic system in cognitive brain regions. Here, we tested whether the GABAergic system is a mechanism of progesterone’s detrimental cognitive effects in the Ovx rat by attempting to reverse progesterone-induced impairments via concomitant treatment with the GABAA antagonist, bicuculline. Thirteen month old rats received Ovx plus daily vehicle, progesterone, bicuculline, or progesterone+bicuculline injections beginning 2 weeks prior to testing. The water radial-arm maze was used to evaluate spatial working and reference memory. During learning, rats administered progesterone made more working memory errors than those administered vehicle, and this impairment was reversed by the addition of bicuculline. The progesterone impairment was transient and all animals performed similarly by the end of regular testing. On the last day of testing, a 6 hour delay was administered to evaluate memory retention. Progesterone-treated rats were the only group to increase working memory errors with the delay relative to baseline performance; again, the addition of bicuculline prevented the progesterone-induced impairment. The vehicle, bicuculline, and progesterone+bicuculline groups were not impaired by the delay. The current rodent findings corroborate prior research reporting progesterone-induced detriments on cognition in women and in the aging Ovx rat. Moreover, the data suggest that the progesterone-induced cognitive impairment is, in part, related to the GABAergic system. Given that progesterone is included in numerous clinically-prescribed hormone therapies and contraceptives (e.g., micronized), and as synthetic analogs, further research is warranted to better understand the parameters and mechanism(s) of progesterone-induced cognitive impairments.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-08-14

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Enhancing Studies of the Connectome in Autism Using the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange II

Description

The second iteration of the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE II) aims to enhance the scope of brain connectomics research in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Consistent with the initial

The second iteration of the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE II) aims to enhance the scope of brain connectomics research in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Consistent with the initial ABIDE effort (ABIDE I), that released 1112 datasets in 2012, this new multisite open-data resource is an aggregate of resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and corresponding structural MRI and phenotypic datasets. ABIDE II includes datasets from an additional 487 individuals with ASD and 557 controls previously collected across 16 international institutions. The combination of ABIDE I and ABIDE II provides investigators with 2156 unique cross-sectional datasets allowing selection of samples for discovery and/or replication. This sample size can also facilitate the identification of neurobiological subgroups, as well as preliminary examinations of sex differences in ASD. Additionally, ABIDE II includes a range of psychiatric variables to inform our understanding of the neural correlates of co-occurring psychopathology; 284 diffusion imaging datasets are also included. It is anticipated that these enhancements will contribute to unraveling key sources of ASD heterogeneity.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-03-14

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Aging in Autism: Changes in the Hippocampal System and Verbal/ Visual Memory

Description

The aim of this study was to explore cross-sectional and longitudinal aging differences in immediate and delayed visual and verbal memory abilities in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) compared

The aim of this study was to explore cross-sectional and longitudinal aging differences in immediate and delayed visual and verbal memory abilities in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) compared with neurotypicals (NTs). We measured hippocampal size, fornix fractional anisotropy (FA), and hippocampal and fornix freewater to understand how aging impacts memory structures. Longitudinal findings highlight vulnerabilities in immediate verbal memory and hippocampal volume, while cross-sectional findings indicate fornix freewater may increase at a faster rate in adults with ASD. Future research will examine cognitive and structural sex differences and will study how cognitive measures correlate with structural measures.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Improving sentence comprehension post-stroke using neuroimaging and neuropsychological approaches

Description

Cognitive deficits often accompany language impairments post-stroke. Past research has focused on working memory in aphasia, but attention is largely underexplored. Therefore, this dissertation will first quantify attention deficits post-stroke

Cognitive deficits often accompany language impairments post-stroke. Past research has focused on working memory in aphasia, but attention is largely underexplored. Therefore, this dissertation will first quantify attention deficits post-stroke before investigating whether preserved cognitive abilities, including attention, can improve auditory sentence comprehension post-stroke. In Experiment 1a, three components of attention (alerting, orienting, executive control) were measured in persons with aphasia and matched-controls using visual and auditory versions of the well-studied Attention Network Test. Experiment 1b then explored the neural resources supporting each component of attention in the visual and auditory modalities in chronic stroke participants. The results from Experiment 1a indicate that alerting, orienting, and executive control are uniquely affected by presentation modality. The lesion-symptom mapping results from Experiment 1b associated the left angular gyrus with visual executive control, the left supramarginal gyrus with auditory alerting, and Broca’s area (pars opercularis) with auditory orienting attention post-stroke. Overall, these findings indicate that perceptual modality may impact the lateralization of some aspects of attention, thus auditory attention may be more susceptible to impairment after a left hemisphere stroke.

Prosody, rhythm and pitch changes associated with spoken language may improve spoken language comprehension in persons with aphasia by recruiting intact cognitive abilities (e.g., attention and working memory) and their associated non-lesioned brain regions post-stroke. Therefore, Experiment 2 explored the relationship between cognition, two unique prosody manipulations, lesion location, and auditory sentence comprehension in persons with chronic stroke and matched-controls. The combined results from Experiment 2a and 2b indicate that stroke participants with better auditory orienting attention and a specific left fronto-parietal network intact had greater comprehension of sentences spoken with sentence prosody. For list prosody, participants with deficits in auditory executive control and/or short-term memory and the left angular gyrus and globus pallidus relatively intact, demonstrated better comprehension of sentences spoken with list prosody. Overall, the results from Experiment 2 indicate that following a left hemisphere stroke, individuals need good auditory attention and an intact left fronto-parietal network to benefit from typical sentence prosody, yet when cognitive deficits are present and this fronto-parietal network is damaged, list prosody may be more beneficial.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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The Fusion of Multimodal Brain Imaging Data from Geometry Perspectives

Description

The rapid development in acquiring multimodal neuroimaging data provides opportunities to systematically characterize human brain structures and functions. For example, in the brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a typical non-invasive

The rapid development in acquiring multimodal neuroimaging data provides opportunities to systematically characterize human brain structures and functions. For example, in the brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a typical non-invasive imaging technique, different acquisition sequences (modalities) lead to the different descriptions of brain functional activities, or anatomical biomarkers. Nowadays, in addition to the traditional voxel-level analysis of images, there is a trend to process and investigate the cross-modality relationship in a high dimensional level of images, e.g. surfaces and networks.

In this study, I aim to achieve multimodal brain image fusion by referring to some intrinsic properties of data, e.g. geometry of embedding structures where the commonly used image features reside. Since the image features investigated in this study share an identical embedding space, i.e. either defined on a brain surface or brain atlas, where a graph structure is easy to define, it is straightforward to consider the mathematically meaningful properties of the shared structures from the geometry perspective.

I first introduce the background of multimodal fusion of brain image data and insights of geometric properties playing a potential role to link different modalities. Then, several proposed computational frameworks either using the solid and efficient geometric algorithms or current geometric deep learning models are be fully discussed. I show how these designed frameworks deal with distinct geometric properties respectively, and their applications in the real healthcare scenarios, e.g. to enhanced detections of fetal brain diseases or abnormal brain development.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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The Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on Resting-State Functional Connectivity and Executive Function in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Description

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are known to show impairments in various domains of executive function (EF) such as behavioral flexibility or inhibitory control. Research suggests that EF

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are known to show impairments in various domains of executive function (EF) such as behavioral flexibility or inhibitory control. Research suggests that EF impairment in adults with ASD may relate to ASD core symptoms, restrictive behaviors and social communication deficits. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has shown promise for improving EF abilities in neurotypical adults, but research has not explored its efficacy or neural mechanisms in adults with ASD. This pilot study examines the effects of an 8-week MBSR intervention on self-report measures of EF and resting-state functional connectivity in a sample of adults with ASD. Fifty-four participants were assigned either to an MBSR group (n = 29) or a social support group (n = 25). Executive function was measured using the BRIEF-2 before and after the intervention for the twenty-seven participants in the second cohort. MBSR-specific improvements in EF were found for BRIEF measures of initiation, inhibition, and working-memory. Resting-state fMRI data was analyzed using independent component analysis (ICA), and group by time resting-state functional connectivity differences were observed between the cerebellar network and frontal regions including the right frontal pole (rFP), medial frontal cortex (MFC) and left and right superior frontal gyri (SFG). The MBSR group showed increases in functional connectivity between the cerebellum and EF regions which correlated with improvements in BRIEF-2 measures. These findings suggest that MBSR may improve EF domains in adults with ASD, and that increases in functional connectivity between the cerebellum and frontal regions while at rest may be a mechanism for such improvements.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2021

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Navigating to new frontiers in behavioral neuroscience: traditional neuropsychological tests predict human performance on a rodent-inspired radial-arm maze

Description

We constructed an 11-arm, walk-through, human radial-arm maze (HRAM) as a translational instrument to compare existing methodology in the areas of rodent and human learning and memory research. The HRAM,

We constructed an 11-arm, walk-through, human radial-arm maze (HRAM) as a translational instrument to compare existing methodology in the areas of rodent and human learning and memory research. The HRAM, utilized here, serves as an intermediary test between the classic rat radial-arm maze (RAM) and standard human neuropsychological and cognitive tests. We show that the HRAM is a useful instrument to examine working memory ability, explore the relationships between rodent and human memory and cognition models, and evaluate factors that contribute to human navigational ability. One-hundred-and-fifty-seven participants were tested on the HRAM, and scores were compared to performance on a standard cognitive battery focused on episodic memory, working memory capacity, and visuospatial ability. We found that errors on the HRAM increased as working memory demand became elevated, similar to the pattern typically seen in rodents, and that for this task, performance appears similar to Miller's classic description of a processing-inclusive human working memory capacity of 7 ± 2 items. Regression analysis revealed that measures of working memory capacity and visuospatial ability accounted for a large proportion of variance in HRAM scores, while measures of episodic memory and general intelligence did not serve as significant predictors of HRAM performance. We present the HRAM as a novel instrument for measuring navigational behavior in humans, as is traditionally done in basic science studies evaluating rodent learning and memory, thus providing a useful tool to help connect and translate between human and rodent models of cognitive functioning.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-09-09