ResearchPad - scalp https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[A flexible workflow for simulating transcranial electric stimulation in healthy and lesioned brains]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14588 Simulating transcranial electric stimulation is actively researched as knowledge about the distribution of the electrical field is decisive for understanding the variability in the elicited stimulation effect. Several software pipelines comprehensively solve this task in an automated manner for standard use-cases. However, simulations for non-standard applications such as uncommon electrode shapes or the creation of head models from non-optimized T1-weighted imaging data and the inclusion of irregular structures are more difficult to accomplish. We address these limitations and suggest a comprehensive workflow to simulate transcranial electric stimulation based on open-source tools. The workflow covers the head model creation from MRI data, the electrode modeling, the modeling of anisotropic conductivity behavior of the white matter, the numerical simulation and visualization. Skin, skull, air cavities, cerebrospinal fluid, white matter, and gray matter are segmented semi-automatically from T1-weighted MR images. Electrodes of arbitrary number and shape can be modeled. The meshing of the head model is implemented in a way to preserve the feature edges of the electrodes and is free of topological restrictions of the considered structures of the head model. White matter anisotropy can be computed from diffusion-tensor imaging data. Our solver application was verified analytically and by contrasting the tDCS simulation results with that of other simulation pipelines (SimNIBS 3.0, ROAST 3.0). An agreement in both cases underlines the validity of our workflow. Our suggested solutions facilitate investigations of irregular structures in patients (e.g. lesions, implants) or new electrode types. For a coupled use of the described workflow, we provide documentation and disclose the full source code of the developed tools.

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<![CDATA[The impact of body posture on intrinsic brain activity: The role of beta power at rest]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N65f7a4e6-ac5f-46ef-91d2-3d4de84bb5d0

Tying the hands behind the back has detrimental effects on sensorimotor perceptual tasks. Here we provide evidence that beta band oscillatory activity in a resting state condition might play a crucial role in such detrimental effects. EEG activity at rest was measured from thirty young participants (mean age = 24.03) in two different body posture conditions. In one condition participants were required to keep their hands freely resting on the table. In the other condition, participants’ hands were tied behind their back. Increased beta power was observed in the left inferior frontal gyrus during the tied hands condition compared to the free hands condition. A control experiment ruled out alternative explanations for observed change in beta power, including muscle tension. Our findings provide new insights on how body postural manipulations impact on perceptual tasks and brain activity.

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<![CDATA[Enhancing activation in the right temporoparietal junction using theta-burst stimulation: Disambiguating between two hypotheses of top-down control of behavioral mimicry]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e659d5eed0c484ef2cf5

Whereas previous research has focused on the role of the rTPJ when consciously inhibiting mimicry, we test the role of the rTPJ on mimicry within a social interaction, during which mimicking occurs nonconsciously. We wanted to determine whether higher rTPJ activation always inhibits the tendency to imitate (regardless of the context) or whether it facilitates mimicry during social interactions (when mimicking is an adaptive response). Participants received either active or sham intermittent theta-burst stimulation (iTBS: a type of stimulation that increases cortical activation) to the rTPJ. Next, we measured how much participants mimicked the hair and face touching of another person. Participants in the active stimulation condition engaged in significantly less mimicry than those in the sham stimulation condition. This finding suggests that even in a context in which mimicking is adaptive, rTPJ inhibits mimicry rather than facilitating it, supporting the hypothesis that rTPJ enhances representations of self over other regardless of the goals within a given context.

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<![CDATA[A large scale screening study with a SMR-based BCI: Categorization of BCI users and differences in their SMR activity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e677d5eed0c484ef330f

Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) are inefficient for a non-negligible part of the population, estimated around 25%. To understand this phenomenon in Sensorimotor Rhythm (SMR) based BCIs, data from a large-scale screening study conducted on 80 novice participants with the Berlin BCI system and its standard machine-learning approach were investigated. Each participant performed one BCI session with resting state Encephalography, Motor Observation, Motor Execution and Motor Imagery recordings and 128 electrodes. A significant portion of the participants (40%) could not achieve BCI control (feedback performance > 70%). Based on the performance of the calibration and feedback runs, BCI users were stratified in three groups. Analyses directed to detect and elucidate the differences in the SMR activity of these groups were performed. Statistics on reactive frequencies, task prevalence and classification results are reported. Based on their SMR activity, also a systematic list of potential reasons leading to performance drops and thus hints for possible improvements of BCI experimental design are given. The categorization of BCI users has several advantages, allowing researchers 1) to select subjects for further analyses as well as for testing new BCI paradigms or algorithms, 2) to adopt a better subject-dependent training strategy and 3) easier comparisons between different studies.

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<![CDATA[Implicit measurement of emotional experience and its dynamics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c63394ad5eed0c484ae6422

Although many studies revealed that emotions and their dynamics have a profound impact on cognition and behavior, it has proven difficult to unobtrusively measure emotions. In the current study, our objective was to distinguish different experiences elicited by audiovisual stimuli designed to evoke particularly happy, sad, fear and disgust emotions, using electroencephalography (EEG) and a multivariate approach. We show that we were able to classify these emotional experiences well above chance level. Importantly, we retained all the information (frequency and topography) present in the data. This allowed us to interpret the differences between emotional experiences in terms of component psychological processes such as attention and arousal that are known to be associated with the observed activation patterns. In addition, we illustrate how this method of classifying emotional experiences can be applied on a moment-by-moment basis in order to track dynamic changes in the emotional response over time. The application of our approach may be of value in many contexts in which the experience of a given stimulus or situation changes over time, ranging from clinical to consumption settings.

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<![CDATA[A multicenter survey of temporal changes in chemotherapy-induced hair loss in breast cancer patients]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa558d5eed0c484ca346c

Purpose

Many breast cancer patients suffer from chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Accurate information about temporal changes in chemotherapy-induced hair loss is important for supporting patients scheduled to receive chemotherapy, because it helps them to prepare. However, accurate information, on issues such as the frequency of hair loss after chemotherapy, when regrowth starts, the condition of regrown hair, and the frequency of incomplete hair regrowth, is lacking. This study aimed to clarify the long-term temporal changes in chemotherapy-induced hair loss using patient-reported outcomes for chemotherapy-induced hair loss.

Methods

We conducted a multicenter, cross-sectional questionnaire survey. Disease-free patients who had completed adjuvant chemotherapy consisting of anthracycline and/or taxanes for breast cancer within the prior 5 years were enrolled from 47 hospitals and clinics in Japan. Descriptive statistics were obtained in this study. The study is reported according to the STROBE criteria.

Results

The response rate was 81.5% (1511/1853), yielding 1478 questionnaires. Hair loss occurred in 99.9% of patients. The mean time from chemotherapy until hair loss was 18.0 days. Regrowth of scalp hair occurred in 98% of patients. The mean time from the completion of chemotherapy to the beginning of regrowth was 3.3 months. Two years after chemotherapy completion, the scalp-hair recovery rate was <30% in approximately 4% of patients, and this rate showed no improvement 5 years after chemotherapy. Eighty-four percent of the patients initially used wigs, decreasing to 47% by 1 year after chemotherapy and 15.2% after 2 years. The mean period of wig use was 12.5 months. However, a few patients were still using wigs 5 years after completing chemotherapy.

Conclusions

Our survey focused on chemotherapy-induced hair loss in breast cancer patients. We believe these results to be useful for patients scheduled to receive chemotherapy.

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<![CDATA[Human scalp evoked potentials related to the fusion between a sound source and its simulated reflection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa5ced5eed0c484ca8cc3

The auditory system needs to fuse the direct wave (lead) from a sound source and its time-delayed reflections (lag) to achieve a single sound image perception. This lead-lag fusion plays crucial roles in auditory processing in reverberant environments. Here, we investigated neural correlates of the lead-lag fusion by tracking human cortical potentials evoked by a break in the correlation (BIC) between the lead and lag when the time delay between the two was 0, 2, or 4 ms. The BIC evoked a scalp potential consisting of an N1 and a P2 component. Both components were modulated by the delay. The effects of the delay on the amplitude of the two components were similar, an increase of the delay resulting in a decrease of the amplitude. In contrast, the delay differently modulated the latency of the two components, an increase of the delay resulting in an increase of the P2 latency but not an increase of the N1 latency. Similar to the P2 latency, the reaction time for subjective detection of the BIC also increased with the delay. These findings suggest that both the N1 and the P2 evoked by the BIC are neural correlates of the lead-lag fusion and that, relative to the N1, the P2 may be more closely related to listeners’ perception of the fusion. Our study thus provides a neurophysiological and objective approach for investigating the fusion between the direct sound wave from a sound source and its reflections.

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<![CDATA[Unfolding the Spatial and Temporal Neural Processing of Making Dishonest Choices]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da88ab0ee8fa60b9cdd5

To understand the neural processing that underpins dishonest behavior in an economic exchange game task, this study employed both functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and event-related potential (ERP) methodologies to examine the neural conditions of 25 participants while they were making either dishonest or honest choices. It was discovered that dishonest choices, contrary to honest choices, elicited stronger fMRI activations in bilateral striatum and anterior insula. It also induced fluctuations in ERP amplitudes within two time windows, which are 270–30 milliseconds before and 110–290 milliseconds after the response, respectively. Importantly, when making either dishonest or honest choices, human and computer counterparts were associated with distinct fMRI activations in the left insula and different ERP amplitudes at medial and right central sites from 80 milliseconds before to 250 milliseconds after the response. These results support the hypothesis that there would be distinct neural processing during making dishonest decisions, especially when the subject considers the interests of the counterpart. Furthermore, the fMRI and ERP findings, together with ERP source reconstruction, clearly delineate the temporal sequence of the neural processes of a dishonest decision: the striatum is activated before response, then the left insula is involved around the time of response, and finally the thalamus is activated after response.

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<![CDATA[Auditory steady state responses and cochlear implants: Modeling the artifact-response mixture in the perspective of denoising]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdc028

Auditory steady state responses (ASSRs) in cochlear implant (CI) patients are contaminated by the spread of a continuous CI electrical stimulation artifact. The aim of this work was to model the electrophysiological mixture of the CI artifact and the corresponding evoked potentials on scalp electrodes in order to evaluate the performance of denoising algorithms in eliminating the CI artifact in a controlled environment. The basis of the proposed computational framework is a neural mass model representing the nodes of the auditory pathways. Six main contributors to auditory evoked potentials from the cochlear level and up to the auditory cortex were taken into consideration. The simulated dynamics were then projected into a 3-layer realistic head model. 32-channel scalp recordings of the CI artifact-response were then generated by solving the electromagnetic forward problem. As an application, the framework’s simulated 32-channel datasets were used to compare the performance of 4 commonly used Independent Component Analysis (ICA) algorithms: infomax, extended infomax, jade and fastICA in eliminating the CI artifact. As expected, two major components were detectable in the simulated datasets, a low frequency component at the modulation frequency and a pulsatile high frequency component related to the stimulation frequency. The first can be attributed to the phase-locked ASSR and the second to the stimulation artifact. Among the ICA algorithms tested, simulations showed that infomax was the most efficient and reliable in denoising the CI artifact-response mixture. Denoising algorithms can induce undesirable deformation of the signal of interest in real CI patient recordings. The proposed framework is a valuable tool for evaluating these algorithms in a controllable environment ahead of experimental or clinical applications.

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<![CDATA[Early Left Parietal Activity Elicited by Direct Gaze: A High-Density EEG Study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da5dab0ee8fa60b90484

Gaze is one of the most important cues for human communication and social interaction. In particular, gaze contact is the most primary form of social contact and it is thought to capture attention. A very early-differentiated brain response to direct versus averted gaze has been hypothesized. Here, we used high-density electroencephalography to test this hypothesis. Topographical analysis allowed us to uncover a very early topographic modulation (40–80 ms) of event-related responses to faces with direct as compared to averted gaze. This modulation was obtained only in the condition where intact broadband faces–as opposed to high-pass or low-pas filtered faces–were presented. Source estimation indicated that this early modulation involved the posterior parietal region, encompassing the left precuneus and inferior parietal lobule. This supports the idea that it reflected an early orienting response to direct versus averted gaze. Accordingly, in a follow-up behavioural experiment, we found faster response times to the direct gaze than to the averted gaze broadband faces. In addition, classical evoked potential analysis showed that the N170 peak amplitude was larger for averted gaze than for direct gaze. Taken together, these results suggest that direct gaze may be detected at a very early processing stage, involving a parallel route to the ventral occipito-temporal route of face perceptual analysis.

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<![CDATA[Neural Correlates of Attention to Human-Made Sounds: An ERP Study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d9ab0ee8fa60b66cc0

Previous neuroimaging and electrophysiological studies have suggested that human made sounds are processed differently from non-human made sounds. Multiple groups have suggested that voices might be processed as “special,” much like faces. Although previous literature has explored neural correlates of voice perception under varying task demands, few studies have examined electrophysiological correlates of attention while directly comparing human made and non-human made sounds. In the present study, we used event-related potentials (ERPs) to compare attention to human versus non-human made sounds in an oddball paradigm. ERP components of interest were the P300, and fronto-temporal positivity to voices (FTVP), which has been reported in previous investigations of voice versus non-voice stimuli. We found that participants who heard human made sounds as “target” or infrequent stimuli had significantly larger FTPV amplitude, shorter FTPV latency, and larger P300 amplitude than those who heard non-human sounds as “target” stimuli. Our results are in concordance with previous findings that human-made and non-human made sounds are processed differently, and expand upon previous literature by demonstrating increased attention to human versus non-human made sounds, even when the non-human made sounds are ones that require immediate attention in daily life (e.g. a car horn). Heightened attention to human-made sounds is important theoretically and has potential for application in tests of social interest in populations with autism.

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<![CDATA[Brain Connectivity Variation Topography Associated with Working Memory]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadcab0ee8fa60bba486

Brain connectivity analysis plays an essential role in the research of working memory that involves complex coordination of various brain regions. In this research, we present a comprehensive view of trans-states brain connectivity variation based on continuous scalp EEG, extending beyond traditional stimuli-lock averaging or restriction to short time scales of hundreds of milliseconds after stimulus onset. The scalp EEG was collected under three conditions: quiet, memory, and control. The only difference between the memory and control conditions was that in the memory condition, subjects made an effort to retain information. We started our investigation with calibrations of Pearson correlation in EEG analysis and then derived two indices, link strength and node connectivity, to make comparisons between different states. Finally, we constructed and studied trans-state brain connectivity variation topography. Comparing memory and control states with quiet state, we found that the beta topography highlights links between T5/T6 and O1/O2, which represents the visual ventral stream, and the gamma topography conveys strengthening of inter-hemisphere links and weakening of intra-hemisphere frontal-posterior links, implying parallel inter-hemisphere coordination combined with sequential intra-hemisphere coordination when subjects are confronted with visual stimuli and a motor task. For comparison between memory and control states, we also found that the node connectivity of T6 stands out in gamma topography, which provides strong proof from scalp EEG for the information binding or relational processing function of the temporal lobe in memory formation. To our knowledge, this is the first time for any method to effectively capture brain connectivity variation associated with working memory from a relatively large scale both in time (from a second to a minute) and in space (from the scalp). The method can track brain activity continuously with minimal manual interruptions; therefore, it has promising potential in applications such as brain computer interfaces and brain training.

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<![CDATA[Short Meditation Trainings Enhance Non-REM Sleep Low-Frequency Oscillations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae4ab0ee8fa60bbcc70

Study Objectives

We have recently shown higher parietal-occipital EEG gamma activity during sleep in long-term meditators compared to meditation-naive individuals. This gamma increase was specific for NREM sleep, was present throughout the entire night and correlated with meditation expertise, thus suggesting underlying long-lasting neuroplastic changes induced through prolonged training. The aim of this study was to explore the neuroplastic changes acutely induced by 2 intensive days of different meditation practices in the same group of practitioners. We also repeated baseline recordings in a meditation-naive cohort to account for time effects on sleep EEG activity.

Design

High-density EEG recordings of human brain activity were acquired over the course of whole sleep nights following intervention.

Setting

Sound-attenuated sleep research room.

Patients or Participants

Twenty-four long-term meditators and twenty-four meditation-naïve controls.

Interventions

Two 8-h sessions of either a mindfulness-based meditation or a form of meditation designed to cultivate compassion and loving kindness, hereafter referred to as compassion meditation.

Measurements and Results

We found an increase in EEG low-frequency oscillatory activities (1–12 Hz, centered around 7–8 Hz) over prefrontal and left parietal electrodes across whole night NREM cycles. This power increase peaked early in the night and extended during the third cycle to high-frequencies up to the gamma range (25–40 Hz). There was no difference in sleep EEG activity between meditation styles in long-term meditators nor in the meditation naïve group across different time points. Furthermore, the prefrontal-parietal changes were dependent on meditation life experience.

Conclusions

This low-frequency prefrontal-parietal activation likely reflects acute, meditation-related plastic changes occurring during wakefulness, and may underlie a top-down regulation from frontal and anterior parietal areas to the posterior parietal and occipital regions showing chronic, long-lasting plastic changes in long-term meditators.

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<![CDATA[Neural Correlates of Task Cost for Stance Control with an Additional Motor Task: Phase-Locked Electroencephalogram Responses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da5eab0ee8fa60b908d0

With appropriate reallocation of central resources, the ability to maintain an erect posture is not necessarily degraded by a concurrent motor task. This study investigated the neural control of a particular postural-suprapostural procedure involving brain mechanisms to solve crosstalk between posture and motor subtasks. Participants completed a single posture task and a dual-task while concurrently conducting force-matching and maintaining a tilted stabilometer stance at a target angle. Stabilometer movements and event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded. The added force-matching task increased the irregularity of postural response rather than the size of postural response prior to force-matching. In addition, the added force-matching task during stabilometer stance led to marked topographic ERP modulation, with greater P2 positivity in the frontal and sensorimotor-parietal areas of the N1-P2 transitional phase and in the sensorimotor-parietal area of the late P2 phase. The time-frequency distribution of the ERP primary principal component revealed that the dual-task condition manifested more pronounced delta (1–4 Hz) and beta (13–35 Hz) synchronizations but suppressed theta activity (4–8 Hz) before force-matching. The dual-task condition also manifested coherent fronto-parietal delta activity in the P2 period. In addition to a decrease in postural regularity, this study reveals spatio-temporal and temporal-spectral reorganizations of ERPs in the fronto-sensorimotor-parietal network due to the added suprapostural motor task. For a particular set of postural-suprapostural task, the behavior and neural data suggest a facilitatory role of autonomous postural response and central resource expansion with increasing interregional interactions for task-shift and planning the motor-suprapostural task.

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<![CDATA[The influence of corticospinal activity on TMS-evoked activity and connectivity in healthy subjects: A TMS-EEG study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc4d7

Combined transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electroencephalography (EEG) can be used to analyze cortical reactivity and connectivity. However, the effects of corticospinal and peripheral muscle activity on TMS-evoked potentials (TEPs) are not well understood. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the relationship between cortico-spinal activity, in the form of peripheral motor-evoked potentials (MEPs), and the TEPs from motor areas, along with the connectivity among activated brain areas. TMS was applied to left and right motor cortex (M1), separately, at motor threshold while multi-channel EEG responses were recorded in 17 healthy human subjects. Cortical excitability and source imaging analysis were performed for all trials at each stimulation location, as well as comparing trials resulting in MEPs to those without. Connectivity analysis was also performed comparing trials resulting in MEPs to those without. Cortical excitability results significantly differed between the MEP and no-MEP conditions for left M1 TMS at 60 ms (CP1, CP3, C1) and for right M1 TMS at 54 ms (CP6, C6). Connectivity analysis revealed higher outflow and inflow between M1 and somatosensory cortex bi-directionally for trials with MEPs than those without for both left M1 TMS (at 60, 100, 164 ms) and right M1 TMS (at 54, 100, and 164 ms). Both TEP amplitudes and connectivity measures related to motor and somatosensory areas ipsilateral to the stimulation were shown to correspond with peripheral MEP amplitudes. This suggests that cortico-spinal activation, along with the resulting somatosensory feedback, affects the cortical activity and dynamics within motor areas reflected in the TEPs. The findings suggest that TMS-EEG, along with adaptive connectivity estimators, can be used to evaluate the cortical dynamics associated with sensorimotor integration and proprioceptive manipulation along with the influence of peripheral muscle feedback.

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<![CDATA[Changes in P3b Latency and Amplitude Reflect Expertise Acquisition in a Football Visuomotor Learning Task]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da96ab0ee8fa60ba1dba

Learning is not a unitary phenomenon. Rather, learning progresses through stages, with the stages reflecting different challenges that require the support of specific cognitive processes that reflect the functions of different brain networks. A theory of general learning proposes that learning can be divided into early and late stages controlled by corticolimbic networks located in frontal and posterior brain regions, respectively. Recent human studies using dense-array EEG (dEEG) support these results by showing progressive increases in P3b amplitude (an Event Related Potential with estimated sources in posterior cingulate cortex and hippocampus) as participants acquire a new visuomotor skill. In the present study, the P3b was used to track the learning and performance of participants as they identify defensive football formations and make an appropriate response. Participants acquired the task over three days, and P3b latency and amplitude significantly changed when participants learned the task. As participants demonstrated further proficiency with extensive training, amplitude and latency changes in the P3b continued to closely mirror performance improvements. Source localization results across all days suggest that an important source generator of the P3b is located in the posterior cingulate cortex. Results from the study support prior findings and further suggest that the careful analysis of covert learning mechanisms and their underlying electrical signatures are a robust index of task competency.

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<![CDATA[A Quantitative Electrophysiological Biomarker of Duplication 15q11.2-q13.1 Syndrome]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db00ab0ee8fa60bc6735

Background

Duplications of 15q11.2-q13.1 (Dup15q syndrome) are highly penetrant for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A distinct electrophysiological (EEG) pattern characterized by excessive activity in the beta band has been noted in clinical reports. We asked whether EEG power in the beta band, as well as in other frequency bands, distinguished children with Dup15q syndrome from those with non-syndromic ASD and then examined the clinical correlates of this electrophysiological biomarker in Dup15q syndrome.

Methods

In the first study, we recorded spontaneous EEG from children with Dup15q syndrome (n = 11), age-and-IQ-matched children with ASD (n = 10) and age-matched typically developing (TD) children (n = 9) and computed relative power in 6 frequency bands for 9 regions of interest (ROIs). Group comparisons were made using a repeated measures analysis of variance. In the second study, we recorded spontaneous EEG from a larger cohort of individuals with Dup15q syndrome (n = 27) across two sites and examined age, epilepsy, and duplication type as predictors of beta power using simple linear regressions.

Results

In the first study, spontaneous beta1 (12–20 Hz) and beta2 (20–30 Hz) power were significantly higher in Dup15q syndrome compared with both comparison groups, while delta (1–4 Hz) was significantly lower than both comparison groups. Effect sizes in all three frequency bands were large (|d| > 1). In the second study, we found that beta2 power was significantly related to epilepsy diagnosis in Dup15q syndrome.

Conclusions

Here, we have identified an electrophysiological biomarker of Dup15q syndrome that may facilitate clinical stratification, treatment monitoring, and measurement of target engagement for future clinical trials. Future work will investigate the genetic and neural underpinnings of this electrophysiological signature as well as the functional consequences of excessive beta oscillations in Dup15q syndrome.

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<![CDATA[The Feedback-Related Negativity and the P300 Brain Potential Are Sensitive to Price Expectation Violations in a Virtual Shopping Task]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf8ab0ee8fa60bc3cda

A large body of evidence shows that buying behaviour is strongly determined by consumers’ price expectations and the extent to which real prices violate these expectations. Despite the importance of this phenomenon, little is known regarding its neural mechanisms. Here we show that two patterns of electrical brain activity known to index prediction errors–the Feedback-Related Negativity (FRN) and the feedback-related P300 –were sensitive to price offers that were cheaper than participants’ expectations. In addition, we also found that FRN amplitude time-locked to price offers predicted whether a product would be subsequently purchased or not, and further analyses suggest that this result was driven by the sensitivity of the FRN to positive price expectation violations. This finding strongly suggests that ensembles of neurons coding positive prediction errors play a critical role in real-life consumer behaviour. Further, these findings indicate that theoretical models based on the notion of prediction error, such as the Reinforcement Learning Theory, can provide a neurobiologically grounded account of consumer behavior.

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<![CDATA[Spatial Scaling of the Profile of Selective Attention in the Visual Field]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dabaab0ee8fa60bae4f0

Neural mechanisms of selective attention must be capable of adapting to variation in the absolute size of an attended stimulus in the ever-changing visual environment. To date, little is known regarding how attentional selection interacts with fluctuations in the spatial expanse of an attended object. Here, we use event-related potentials (ERPs) to investigate the scaling of attentional enhancement and suppression across the visual field. We measured ERPs while participants performed a task at fixation that varied in its attentional demands (attentional load) and visual angle (1.0° or 2.5°). Observers were presented with a stream of task-relevant stimuli while foveal, parafoveal, and peripheral visual locations were probed by irrelevant distractor stimuli. We found two important effects in the N1 component of visual ERPs. First, N1 modulations to task-relevant stimuli indexed attentional selection of stimuli during the load task and further correlated with task performance. Second, with increased task size, attentional modulation of the N1 to distractor stimuli showed a differential pattern that was consistent with a scaling of attentional selection. Together, these results demonstrate that the size of an attended stimulus scales the profile of attentional selection across the visual field and provides insights into the attentional mechanisms associated with such spatial scaling.

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<![CDATA[Strong Components of Epigenetic Memory in Cultured Human Fibroblasts Related to Site of Origin and Donor Age]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db35ab0ee8fa60bd2fd2

Differentiating pluripotent cells from fibroblast progenitors is a potentially transformative tool in personalized medicine. We previously identified relatively greater success culturing dura-derived fibroblasts than scalp-derived fibroblasts from postmortem tissue. We hypothesized that these differences in culture success were related to epigenetic differences between the cultured fibroblasts by sampling location, and therefore generated genome-wide DNA methylation and transcriptome data on 11 intrinsically matched pairs of dural and scalp fibroblasts from donors across the lifespan (infant to 85 years). While these cultured fibroblasts were several generations removed from the primary tissue and morphologically indistinguishable, we found widespread epigenetic differences by sampling location at the single CpG (N = 101,989), region (N = 697), “block” (N = 243), and global spatial scales suggesting a strong epigenetic memory of original fibroblast location. Furthermore, many of these epigenetic differences manifested in the transcriptome, particularly at the region-level. We further identified 7,265 CpGs and 11 regions showing significant epigenetic memory related to the age of the donor, as well as an overall increased epigenetic variability, preferentially in scalp-derived fibroblasts—83% of loci were more variable in scalp, hypothesized to result from cumulative exposure to environmental stimuli in the primary tissue. By integrating publicly available DNA methylation datasets on individual cell populations in blood and brain, we identified significantly increased inter-individual variability in our scalp- and other skin-derived fibroblasts on a similar scale as epigenetic differences between different lineages of blood cells. Lastly, these epigenetic differences did not appear to be driven by somatic mutation—while we identified 64 probable de-novo variants across the 11 subjects, there was no association between mutation burden and age of the donor (p = 0.71). These results depict a strong component of epigenetic memory in cell culture from primary tissue, even after several generations of daughter cells, related to cell state and donor age.

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