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1.  White Matter Integrity in Veterans With Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Associations With Executive Function and Loss of Consciousness 
We investigated using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and the association between white matter integrity and executive function (EF) performance in postacute mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). In addition, we examined whether injury severity, as measured by loss of consciousness (LOC) versus alterations in consciousness (AOC), is related to white matter microstructural alterations and neuropsychological outcome.
Thirty Iraq and Afghanistan War era veterans with a history of mTBI and 15 healthy veteran control participants.
There were no significant overall group differences between control and mTBI participants on DTI measures. However, a subgroup of mTBI participants with EF decrements (n = 13) demonstrated significantly decreased fractional anisotropy of prefrontal white matter, corpus callosum, and cingulum bundle structures compared with mTBI participants without EF decrements (n = 17) and control participants. Participants having mTBI with LOC were more likely to evidence reduced EF performances and disrupted ventral prefrontal white matter integrity when compared with either mTBI participants without LOC or control participants.
Findings suggest that altered white matter integrity contributes to reduced EF in subgroups of veterans with a history of mTBI and that LOC may be a risk factor for reduced EF as well as associated changes to ventral prefrontal white matter.
PMCID: PMC4300196  PMID: 23640539
diffusion tensor imaging; executive functions; traumatic brain injury; white matter
2.  Changes in GABA and glutamate concentrations during memory tasks in patients with Parkinson’s disease undergoing DBS surgery 
Until now direct neurochemical measurements during memory tasks have not been accomplished in the human basal ganglia. It has been proposed, based on both functional imaging studies and psychometric testing in normal subjects and in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), that the basal ganglia is responsible for the performance of feedback-contingent implicit memory tasks. To measure neurotransmitters, we used in vivo microdialysis during deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. We show in the right subthalamic nucleus (STN) of patients with PD a task-dependent change in the concentrations of glutamate and GABA during an implicit memory task relative to baseline, while no difference was found between declarative memory tasks. The five patients studied had a significant decrease in the percent concentration of GABA and glutamate during the performance of the weather prediction task (WPT). We hypothesize, based on current models of basal ganglia function, that this decrease in the concentration is consistent with expected dysfunction in basal ganglia networks in patients with PD.
PMCID: PMC3945932  PMID: 24639638
microdialysis; STN; Parkinson disease; implicit memory; DBS; GABA; glutamate; WPT
3.  Are self-reported symptoms of executive dysfunction associated with objective executive function performance following mild to moderate traumatic brain injury? 
Background and objective
We examined the relationship between self-reported pre- and post-injury changes in executive dysfunction, apathy, disinhibition, and depression, and performance on neuropsychological tests of executive function, attention/processing speed, and memory in relation to mood levels and effort test performance in individuals in the early stages of recovery from mild to moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Participants were 71 noncombat military personnel who were in a semiacute stage of recovery (<3 months post injury) from mild to moderate TBI. Pre- and post-TBI behaviors were assessed with the Frontal Systems Behavior Scale (FrSBe; Grace & Malloy, 2001) and correlated with levels of depressive symptoms, effort test performance, and performance on objective measures of attention, executive function, and memory.
Self-reported symptoms of executive dysfunction generally failed to predict performance on objective measures of executive function and memory, although they predicted poorer performance on measures of attention/processing speed. Instead, higher levels of depressive symptomatology best predicted poorer performance on measures of executive function and memory. However, the relationship between memory performance and TBI symptoms was no longer significant when effort performance was controlled.
Our findings suggest that, among individuals in early recovery from mild to moderate TBI, self-reported depressive symptoms, rather than patients’ cognitive complaints, are associated with objective executive function. However, self-reported cognitive complaints may be associated with objectively measured inattention and slow processing speed.
PMCID: PMC3325052  PMID: 21958432
Traumatic brain injury; Neuropsychology; Cognition; Behavior; Depression
4.  Specific Measures of Executive Function Predict Cognitive Decline in Older Adults 
Decline in executive function has been noted in the prodromal stage of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and may presage more global cognitive declines. In this prospective longitudinal study, five measures of executive function were used to predict subsequent global cognitive decline in initially nondemented older adults. Of 71 participants, 15 demonstrated significant decline over a 1-year period on the Dementia Rating Scale (Mattis, 1988) and the remaining participants remained stable. In the year before decline, the decline group performed significantly worse than the no-decline group on two measures of executive function: the Color-Word Interference Test (CWIT; inhibition/switching condition) and Verbal Fluency (VF; switching condition). In contrast, decliners and non-decliners performed similarly on measures of spatial fluency (Design Fluency switching condition), spatial planning (Tower Test), and number-letter switching (Trail Making Test switching condition). Furthermore, the CWIT inhibition-switching measure significantly improved the prediction of decline and no-decline group classification beyond that of learning and memory measures. These findings suggest that some executive function measures requiring inhibition and switching provide predictive utility of subsequent global cognitive decline independent of episodic memory and may further facilitate early detection of dementia.
PMCID: PMC3314335  PMID: 22115028
Executive functions; Global cognition; Switching; Prodromal Alzheimer’s disease; Mild cognitive impairment; Prediction
5.  Predictors of Health Status in Nondepressed and Nondemented Individuals with Parkinson's Disease 
Recent studies have shown that self-perceived health status (HS) in Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with motor, cognitive, or mood symptoms, with the greatest association typically occurring with mood. The purpose of this study was to determine if these associations are present in nondepressed and nondemented individuals with PD by using sensitive neuropsychological measures and statistically derived factors from mood and motor scales. The best predictors of poor HS in PD participants (N = 32) without dementia or depression were mood symptoms, specific to self-reported cognitive impairment and anxiety. Bivariate correlations between HS and number of correct categories on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test and the gait–balance factor from the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale Part III were also significant or approached significance. These findings suggest that specific mood and cognitive symptoms continue to be important factors in HS in those individuals who lack clinical levels of depression or dementia.
PMCID: PMC2770862  PMID: 19767296
Parkinson's disease; Health status; Health-related quality of life; Quality of life
6.  Verbal Learning and Memory in Patients with Dementia with Lewy Bodies or Parkinson's Disease with Dementia 
This study compared verbal learning and memory in patients with autopsy-confirmed dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and patients with Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD). Twenty-four DLB patients, 24 PDD patients, and 24 normal comparison participants were administered the California Verbal Learning Test. The three groups were matched on demographic variables and the two patient groups were matched on the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale. The results indicated that DLB patients recalled less information than PDD patients on all but one recall measure and displayed a more rapid rate of forgetting. In contrast, the PDD patients committed a greater percent of perseveration errors than the DLB patients. The two groups did not differ in the percentage of recall intrusion errors or any measures of recognition. A discriminant function analysis (DFA) using short delay cued recall, percent perseveration errors, and list b recall, differentiated the DLB and PDD groups with 81.3% accuracy. The application of the DFA algorithm to another sample of 42 PDD patients resulted in a 78.6% correct classification rate. The results suggest that, despite equivalent levels of general cognitive impairment, patients with DLB or PDD exhibit a different pattern of verbal learning and memory deficits.
PMCID: PMC2935683  PMID: 19221922
7.  Complex activities of daily living vary by mild cognitive impairment subtype 
There is increasing consensus regarding the importance of operationally defining and measuring functional decline in mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, few studies have directly examined functional abilities in MCI or its presumed subtypes and, to date, reported findings have been discrepant. Nondemented older adults (n = 120) were administered a comprehensive cognitive battery measuring multiple domains as well as a performance-based functional ability measure. Participants were characterized as either cognitively normal, amnestic MCI, or non-amnestic MCI. MCI individuals demonstrated decrements in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) relative to their cognitively normal counterparts. Specifically, participants with amnestic MCI demonstrated significant decrements in financial management, whereas those with non-amnestic MCI showed poorer performance in abilities related to health and safety. Moreover, decreased functional abilities were associated with decrements in global cognitive functioning but not memory or executive functions in the MCI participants. Finally, logistic regression demonstrated that functional abilities accurately predicted MCI subtype. Results support the need for better delineation of functional decline in MCI. Given the implications of functional status for MCI diagnosis and treatment, the direct assessment of functional abilities is recommended. Results further suggest performance-based IADL assessment may have utility in distinguishing MCI subtypes.
PMCID: PMC2891154  PMID: 20374675
Mild cognitive impairment; Older adults; Neuropsychology; Activities of daily living; Amnestic; Nonamnestic

Results 1-7 (7)