Major depressive disorder (MDD) has been associated with abnormal prefrontal-limbic interactions and altered catecholaminergic neurotransmission. The val158met polymorphism on the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene has been shown to influence prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation during both emotional processing and working memory (WM). Although COMT-genotype is not directly associated with MDD, it may affect MDD pathology by altering PFC activation, an endophenotype associated with both COMT and MDD. 125 participants, including healthy controls (HC, n=28) and MDD patients were genotyped for the COMT val158met polymorphism and underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI-neuroimaging) during emotion processing (viewing of emotional facial expressions) and a WM task (visuospatial planning). Within HC, we observed a positive correlation between the number of met-alleles and right inferior frontal gyrus activation during emotional processing, whereas within patients the number of met-alleles was not correlated with PFC activation. During WM a negative correlation between the number of met-alleles and middle frontal gyrus activation was present in the total sample. In addition, during emotional processing there was an effect of genotype in a cluster including the amygdala and hippocampus. These results demonstrate that COMT genotype is associated with relevant endophenotypes for MDD. In addition, presence of MDD only interacts with genotype during emotional processing and not working memory.
Mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a non-pharmacological intervention to reduce current symptoms and to prevent recurrence of major depressive disorder. At present, it is not well understood which underlying mechanisms during MBCT are associated with its efficacy. The current study (n = 130) was designed to examine the roles of mindfulness skills, rumination, worry and affect, and the interplay between those factors, in the mechanisms of change in MBCT for residual depressive symptoms. An exploratory but systematic approach was chosen using Sobel-Goodman mediation analyses to identify mediators on the pathway from MBCT to reduction in depressive symptoms. We replicated earlier findings that therapeutic effects of MBCT are mediated by changes in mindfulness skills and worry. Second, results showed that changes in momentary positive and negative affect significantly mediated the efficacy of MBCT, and also mediated the effect of worry on depressive symptoms. Third, within the group of patients with a prior history of ≤ 2 episodes of MDD, predominantly changes in cognitive and to a lesser extent affective processes mediated the effect of MBCT. However, within the group of patients with a prior history of ≥ 3 episodes of MDD, only changes in affect were significant mediators for the effect of MBCT.
Trail Registration: Nederlands Trial Register NTR1084
Klinefelter syndrome (KS) is a chromosomal condition (47, XXY) that may help us to unravel gene–brain behavior pathways to psychopathology. The phenotype includes social cognitive impairments and increased risk for autism traits. We used functional MRI to study neural mechanisms underlying social information processing. Eighteen nonclinical controls and thirteen men with XXY were scanned during judgments of faces with regard to trustworthiness and age. While judging faces as untrustworthy in comparison to trustworthy, men with XXY displayed less activation than controls in (i) the amygdala, which plays a key role in screening information for socio-emotional significance, (ii) the insula, which plays a role in subjective emotional experience, as well as (iii) the fusiform gyrus and (iv) the superior temporal sulcus, which are both involved in the perceptual processing of faces and which were also less involved during age judgments in men with XXY. This is the first study showing that KS can be associated with reduced involvement of the neural network subserving social cognition. Studying KS may increase our understanding of the genetic and hormonal basis of neural dysfunctions contributing to abnormalities in social cognition and behavior, which are considered core abnormalities in psychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.
X chromosome; social cognition; autism; schizophrenia; amygdala; Klinefelter
Alexithymia is a trait characterized by a diminished capacity to describe and distinguish emotions and to fantasize; it is associated with reduced introspection and problems in emotion processing. The default mode network (DMN) is a network of brain areas that is normally active during rest and involved in emotion processing and self-referential mental activity, including introspection. We hypothesized that connectivity of the DMN might be altered in alexithymia. Twenty alexithymic and 18 non-alexithymic healthy volunteers underwent a resting state fMRI scan. Independent component analysis was used to identify the DMN. Differences in connectivity strength were compared between groups. Within the DMN, alexithymic participants showed lower connectivity within areas of the DMN (medial frontal and temporal areas) as compared to non-alexithymic participants. In contrast, connectivity in the high-alexithymic participants was higher for the sensorimotor cortex, occipital areas and right lateral frontal cortex than in the low-alexithymic participants. These results suggest a diminished connectivity within the DMN of alexithymic participants, in brain areas that may also be involved in emotional awareness and self-referential processing. On the other hand, alexithymia was associated with stronger functional connections of the DMN with brain areas involved in sensory input and control of emotion.
alexithymia; connectivity; default mode network; fMRI; resting state
The potential of noninvasive neurostimulation by repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for improving psychiatric disorders has been studied increasingly over the past two decades. This is especially the case for major depression and for auditory-verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia. The present review briefly describes the background of this novel treatment modality and summarizes evidence from clinical trials into the efficacy of rTMS for depression and hallucinations. Evidence for efficacy in depression is stronger than for hallucinations, although a number of studies have reported clinically relevant improvements for hallucinations too. Different stimulation parameters (frequency, duration, location of stimulation) are discussed. There is a paucity of research into other psychiatric disorders, but initial evidence suggests that rTMS may also hold promise for the treatment of negative symptoms in schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. It can be concluded that rTMS induces alterations in neural networks relevant for psychiatric disorders and that more research is needed to elucidate efficacy and underlying mechanisms of action.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation; Depression; Schizophrenia; Hallucinations; Prefrontal cortex
Neuroticism is a robust personality trait that constitutes a risk factor for psychopathology, especially anxiety disorders and depression. High neurotic individuals tend to be more self-critical and are overly sensitive to criticism by others. Hence, we used a novel resting-state paradigm to investigate the effect of criticism on functional brain connectivity and associations with neuroticism. Forty-eight participants completed the NEO Personality Inventory Revised (NEO-PI-R) to assess neuroticism. Next, we recorded resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) during two sessions. We manipulated the second session before scanning by presenting three standardized critical remarks through headphones, in which the subject was urged to please lie still in the scanner. A seed-based functional connectivity method and subsequent clustering were used to analyse the resting state data. Based on the reviewed literature related to criticism, we selected brain regions associated with self-reflective processing and stress-regulation as regions of interest. The findings showed enhanced functional connectivity between the clustered seed regions and brain areas involved in emotion processing and social cognition during the processing of criticism. Concurrently, functional connectivity was reduced between these clusters and brain structures related to the default mode network and higher-order cognitive control. Furthermore, individuals scoring higher on neuroticism showed altered functional connectivity between the clustered seed regions and brain areas involved in the appraisal, expression and regulation of negative emotions. These results may suggest that the criticized person is attempting to understand the beliefs, perceptions and feelings of the critic in order to facilitate flexible and adaptive social behavior. Furthermore, multiple aspects of emotion processing were found to be affected in individuals scoring higher on neuroticism during the processing of criticism, which may increase their sensitivity to negative social-evaluation.
Impaired Theory of Mind (ToM) has been repeatedly reported as a feature of psychotic disorders. ToM is crucial in social interactions and for the development of social behavior. It has been suggested that reasoning about the belief of others, requires inhibition of the self-perspective. We investigated the neural correlates of self-inhibition in nineteen low psychosis prone (PP) and eighteen high PP subjects presenting with subclinical features. High PP subjects have a more than tenfold increased risk of developing a schizophrenia-spectrum disorder. Brain activation was measured with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging during a ToM task differentiating between self-perspective inhibition and belief reasoning. Furthermore, to test underlying inhibitory mechanisms, we included a stop-signal task. We predicted worse behavioral performance for high compared to low PP subjects on both tasks. Moreover, based on previous neuroimaging results, different activation patterns were expected in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) in high versus low PP subjects in self-perspective inhibition and simple response inhibition. Results showed increased activation in left IFG during self-perspective inhibition, but not during simple response inhibition, for high PP subjects as compared to low PP subjects. High and low PP subjects showed equal behavioral performance. The results suggest that at a neural level, high PP subjects need more resources for inhibiting the self-perspective, but not for simple motor response inhibition, to equal the performance of low PP subjects. This may reflect a compensatory mechanism, which may no longer be available for patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders resulting in ToM impairments.
While the majority of cognitive studies on auditory hallucinations (AHs) have been conducted in schizophrenia (SZ), an increasing number of researchers are turning their attention to different clinical and nonclinical populations, often using SZ findings as a model for research. Recent advances derived from SZ studies can therefore be utilized to make substantial progress on AH research in other groups. The objectives of this article were to (1) present an up-to-date review regarding the cognitive mechanisms of AHs in SZ, (2) review findings from cognitive research conducted in other clinical and nonclinical groups, and (3) integrate these recent findings into a cohesive framework. First, SZ studies show that the cognitive underpinnings of AHs include self-source-monitoring deficits and executive and inhibitory control dysfunctions as well as distortions in top-down mechanisms, perceptual and linguistic processes, and emotional factors. Second, consistent with SZ studies, findings in other population groups point to the role of top-down processing, abnormalities in executive inhibition, and negative emotions. Finally, we put forward an integrated model of AHs that incorporates the above findings. We suggest that AHs arise from an interaction between abnormal neural activation patterns that produce salient auditory signals and top-down mechanisms that include signal detection errors, executive and inhibition deficits, a tapestry of expectations and memories, and state characteristics that influence how these experiences are interpreted. Emotional factors play a particular prominent role at all levels of this hierarchy. Our model is distinctively powerful in explaining a range of phenomenological characteristics of AH across a spectrum of disorders.
symptoms; psychosis; hallucinosis; research; domain; criteria; auditory network; model
Patients with schizophrenia perform significantly worse on emotion recognition tasks than healthy participants across several sensory modalities. Emotion recognition abilities are correlated with the severity of clinical symptoms, particularly negative symptoms. However, the relationships between specific deficits of emotion recognition across sensory modalities and the presentation of psychotic symptoms remain unclear. The current study aims to explore how emotion recognition ability across modalities and neurocognitive function correlate with clusters of psychotic symptoms in patients with schizophrenia.
111 participants who met the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia and 70 healthy participants performed on a dual-modality emotion recognition task, the Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy 2-Taiwan version (DANVA-2-TW), and selected subscales of WAIS-III. Of all, 92 patients received neurocognitive evaluations, including CPT and WCST. These patients also received the PANSS for clinical evaluation of symptomatology.
The emotion recognition ability of patients with schizophrenia was significantly worse than healthy participants in both facial and vocal modalities, particularly fearful emotion. An inverse correlation was noted between PANSS total score and recognition accuracy for happy emotion. The difficulty of happy emotion recognition and earlier age of onset, together with the perseveration error in WCST predicted total PANSS score. Furthermore, accuracy of happy emotion and the age of onset were the only two significant predictors of delusion/hallucination. All the associations with happy emotion recognition primarily concerned happy prosody.
Deficits in emotional processing in specific categories, i.e. in happy emotion, together with deficit in executive function, may reflect dysfunction of brain systems underlying severity of psychotic symptoms, in particular the positive dimension.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) has been associated with biased processing and abnormal regulation of negative and positive information, which may result from compromised coordinated activity of prefrontal and subcortical brain regions involved in evaluating emotional information. We tested whether patients with MDD show distributed changes in functional connectivity with a set of independently derived brain networks that have shown high correspondence with different task demands, including stimulus salience and emotional processing. We further explored if connectivity during emotional word processing related to the tendency to engage in positive or negative emotional states. In this study, 25 medication-free MDD patients without current or past comorbidity and matched controls (n = 25) performed an emotional word-evaluation task during functional MRI. Using a dual regression approach, individual spatial connectivity maps representing each subject's connectivity with each standard network were used to evaluate between-group differences and effects of positive and negative emotionality (extraversion and neuroticism, respectively, as measured with the NEO-FFI). Results showed decreased functional connectivity of the medial prefrontal cortex, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, and ventral striatum with the fronto-opercular salience network in MDD patients compared to controls. In patients, abnormal connectivity was related to extraversion, but not neuroticism. These results confirm the hypothesis of a relative (para)limbic–cortical decoupling that may explain dysregulated affect in MDD. As connectivity of these regions with the salience network was related to extraversion, but not to general depression severity or negative emotionality, dysfunction of this network may be responsible for the failure to sustain engagement in rewarding behavior.
•We studied whole-brain functional connectivity in MDD during an emotional task.•We used a set of independent template networks, corresponding to various task demands.•We showed lower connectivity of reward related regions with a salience network in MDD.•Lower salience connectivity specifically related to extraversion in patients•Results may reflect vulnerability for MDD via a circuit vital for rewarding behavior.
Depression; Extraversion; Functional magnetic resonance imagint; Salience network; Whole-brain functional connectivity
Major depressive disorder (MDD) has been associated with biased memory formation for mood-congruent information, which may be related to altered monoamine levels. The piccolo (PCLO) gene, involved in monoaminergic neurotransmission, has previously been linked to depression in a genome-wide association study. Here, we investigated the role of the PCLO risk allele on functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) correlates of emotional memory in a sample of 89 MDD patients (64 PCLO risk allele carriers) and 29 healthy controls (18 PCLO risk allele carriers). During negative word encoding, risk allele carriers showed significant lower activity relative to non-risk allele carriers in the insula, and trend-wise in the anterior cingulate cortex and inferior frontal gyrus. Moreover, depressed risk allele carriers showed significant lower activity relative to non-risk allele carriers in the striatum, an effect which was absent in healthy controls. Finally, amygdalar response during processing new positive words vs. known words was blunted in healthy PCLO+ carriers and in MDD patients irrespective of genotype, which may indicate that signalling of salient novel information does not occur to the same extent in PCLO+ carriers and MDD patients. The PCLO risk allele may increase vulnerability for MDD by modulating local brain function with regard to responsiveness to salient stimuli (i.e. insula) and processing novel negative information. Also, depression-specific effects of PCLO on dorsal striatal activation during negative word encoding and the absence of amygdalar salience signalling for novel positive information further suggest a role of PCLO in symptom maintenance in MDD.
The ‘complex neural pulse’TM (CNP) is a neuromodulation protocol employing weak pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF). A pioneering paper reported an analgesic effect in healthy humans after 30 minutes of CNP-stimulation using three nested whole head coils. We aimed to devise and validate a stimulator with a novel design entailing a multitude of small coils at known anatomical positions on a head cap, to improve applicability. The main hypothesis was that CNP delivery with this novel device would also increase heat pain thresholds. Twenty healthy volunteers were enrolled in this double-blind, sham-controlled, crossover study. Thirty minutes of PEMF (CNP) or sham was applied to the head. After one week the other treatment was given. Before and after each treatment, primary and secondary outcomes were measured. Primary outcome was heat pain threshold (HPT) measured with thermal quantitative sensory testing. Other outcomes were warmth detection threshold, and aspects of cognition, emotion and motor performance. As hypothesized heat pain threshold was significantly increased after the PEMF stimulation. All other outcomes were unaltered by the PEMF but there was a trend level reduction of cognitive performance after PEMF stimulation as measured by the digit-symbol substitution task. Results from this pilot study suggest that our device is able to stimulate the brain and to modulate its function. This is in agreement with previous studies that used similar magnetic field strengths to stimulate the brain. Specifically, pain control may be achieved with PEMF and for this analgesic effect, coil design does not appear to play a dominant role. In addition, the flexible configuration with small coils on a head cap improves clinical applicability.
Dutch Cochrane Centre NTR1093
To examine the effect of multicomponent exercise program on memory function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and identify biomarkers associated with improvement of cognitive functions.
Subjects were 100 older adults (mean age, 75 years) with MCI. The subjects were classified to an amnestic MCI group (n = 50) with neuroimaging measures, and other MCI group (n = 50) before the randomization. Subjects in each group were randomized to either a multicomponent exercise or an education control group using a ratio of 1∶1. The exercise group exercised for 90 min/d, 2 d/wk, 40 times for 6 months. The exercise program was conducted under multitask conditions to stimulate attention and memory. The control group attended two education classes. A repeated-measures ANOVA revealed that no group × time interactions on the cognitive tests and brain atrophy in MCI patients. A sub-analysis of amnestic MCI patients for group × time interactions revealed that the exercise group exhibited significantly better Mini-Mental State Examination (p = .04) and logical memory scores (p = .04), and reducing whole brain cortical atrophy (p<.05) compared to the control group. Low total cholesterol levels before the intervention were associated with an improvement of logical memory scores (p<.05), and a higher level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor was significantly related to improved ADAS-cog scores (p<.05).
The results suggested that an exercise intervention is beneficial for improving logical memory and maintaining general cognitive function and reducing whole brain cortical atrophy in older adults with amnestic MCI. Low total cholesterol and higher brain-derived neurotrophic factor may predict improvement of cognitive functions in older adults with MCI. Further studies are required to determine the positive effects of exercise on cognitive function in older adults with MCI.
UMIN-CTR UMIN000003662 ctr.cgi?function = brows&action = brows&type = summary&recptno = R000004436&language = J.
This article presents a report on the first meeting of the International Consortium on Hallucination Research, which took place on September 13–14, 2011 at the Institute of Psychiatry, London. The first day of the meeting served to reflect on the current state of knowledge regarding auditory hallucinations in different diagnostic groups, based on the presentations from the phenomenology, cognition, emotion, electrophysiology, neurochemical, neuroimaging, genetics, treatment, and computational modeling working groups. The second day comprised a discussion forum where the most important and urgent questions for future research were identified. The meeting recognized that a lot has been achieved in auditory hallucination research but that much still remains to be done. Here, we outline the top 16 goals for research on auditory hallucinations, which cover topics of conceptual importance, academic and treatment issues, scientific rigor, and cross-disciplinary collaboration. Concerted and coordinated actions will be required to make substantial research progress.
auditory hallucinations; meeting; phenomenology; cognition; electrophysiology; neuroimaging; treatment
Depression in myocardial infarction patients is often a first episode with a late age of onset. Two studies that compared depressed myocardial infarction patients to psychiatric patients found similar levels of somatic symptoms, and one study reported lower levels of cognitive/affective symptoms in myocardial infarction patients. We hypothesized that myocardial infarction patients with first depression onset at a late age would experience fewer cognitive/affective symptoms than depressed patients without cardiovascular disease. Combined data from two large multicenter depression studies resulted in a sample of 734 depressed individuals (194 myocardial infarction, 214 primary care, and 326 mental health care patients). A structured clinical interview provided information about depression diagnosis. Summed cognitive/affective and somatic symptom levels were compared between groups using analysis of covariance, with and without adjusting for the effects of recurrence and age of onset. Depressed myocardial infarction and primary care patients reported significantly lower cognitive/affective symptom levels than mental health care patients (F (2,682) = 6.043, p = 0.003). Additional analyses showed that the difference between myocardial infarction and mental health care patients disappeared after adjusting for age of onset but not recurrence of depression. These group differences were also supported by data-driven latent class analyses. There were no significant group differences in somatic symptom levels. Depression after myocardial infarction appears to have a different phenomenology than depression observed in mental health care. Future studies should investigate the etiological factors predictive of symptom dimensions in myocardial infarction and late-onset depression patients.
Background: Impaired insight is a common feature in psychosis and an important predictor of variables such as functional outcome, prognosis, and treatment adherence. A cognitive process that may underlie insight in psychosis is self-reflection, or the conscious evaluation of one’s traits and characteristics. The current study aims to investigate the neural correlates of self-reflective processing and its relationship with insight in schizophrenia. Methods: Forty-seven schizophrenia patients and 21 healthy controls performed a self-reflection task in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. The tasks comprised a self-reflection, close other-reflection, and a semantic (baseline) condition. Insight scores were obtained with the Schedule of Assessment of Insight Expanded. In addition, cognitive insight scores were obtained (Beck Cognitive Insight Scale [BCIS]). Results: Schizophrenia patients demonstrated less activation in the posterior cingulate cortex in the self- and other-reflection conditions and less activation in the precuneus in the other-reflection condition compared with healthy controls. Better insight was associated with greater response in the inferior frontal gyrus, anterior insula, and inferior parietal lobule during self-reflection. In addition, better cognitive insight was associated with higher activation in ventromedial prefrontal cortex during self-reflection. Conclusion: In the current study, evidence for a relationship between self-reflection and insight in patients with schizophrenia was found in brain areas related to self-reflection, self/other distinction and source attribution. The findings support the rationale for a treatment that is currently under evaluation, which attempts to increase insight by enhancing self-reflection.
self-reflection; schizophrenia; psychosis; insight; cognitive insight; fMRI
While hemispheric specialization of language processing is well established, lateralization of emotion processing is still under debate. Several conflicting hypotheses have been proposed, including right hemisphere hypothesis, valence asymmetry hypothesis and region-specific lateralization hypothesis. However, experimental evidence for these hypotheses remains inconclusive, partly because direct comparisons between hemispheres are scarce.
The present fMRI study systematically investigated functional lateralization during affective stimulus processing in 36 healthy participants. We normalized our functional data on a symmetrical template to avoid confounding effects of anatomical asymmetries. Direct comparison of BOLD responses between hemispheres was accomplished taking two approaches: a hypothesis-driven region of interest analysis focusing on brain areas most frequently reported in earlier neuroimaging studies of emotion; and an exploratory whole volume analysis contrasting non-flipped with flipped functional data using paired t-test.
The region of interest analysis revealed lateralization towards the left in the medial prefrontal cortex (BA 10) during positive stimulus processing; while negative stimulus processing was lateralized towards the right in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (BA 9 & 46) and towards the left in the amygdala and uncus. The whole brain analysis yielded similar results and, in addition, revealed lateralization towards the right in the premotor cortex (BA 6) and the temporo-occipital junction (BA 19 & 37) during positive stimulus processing; while negative stimulus processing showed lateralization towards the right in the temporo-parietal junction (BA 37,39,42) and towards the left in the middle temporal gyrus (BA 21).
Our data suggests region-specific functional lateralization of emotion processing. Findings show valence asymmetry for prefrontal cortical areas and left-lateralized negative stimulus processing in subcortical areas, in particular, amygdala and uncus.
Background: One of the most influential cognitive models of auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) suggests that a failure to adequately monitor the production of one’s own inner speech leads to verbal thought being misidentified as an alien voice. However, it is unclear whether this theory can explain the phenomenological complexity of AVH. We aimed to assess whether subjective perceptual and experiential characteristics may be linked to neural activation in the inner speech processing network. Methods: Twenty-two patients with schizophrenia and AVH underwent a 3-T functional magnetic resonance imaging scan, while performing a metrical stress evaluation task, which has been shown to activate both inner speech production and perception regions. Regions of interest (ROIs) comprising the putative inner speech network were defined using the Anatomical Automatic Labeling system. Correlations were calculated between scores on the “loudness” and “reality” subscales of the Auditory Hallucination Rating Scale (AHRS) and activation in these ROIs. Second, the AHRS subscales, and general AVH severity, indexed by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, were correlated with a language lateralization index. Results: Louder AVH were associated with reduced task-related activity in bilateral angular gyrus, anterior cingulate gyrus, left inferior frontal gyrus, left insula, and left temporal cortex. This could potentially be due to a competition for shared neural resources. Reality on the other hand was found to be associated with reduced language lateralization. Conclusion: Strong activation of the inner speech processing network may contribute to the subjective loudness of AVH. However, a relatively increased contribution from right hemisphere language areas may be responsible for the more complex experiential characteristics, such as the nonself source or how real AVH are.
fMRI; schizophrenia; language; cognition
Lack of insight (unawareness of illness) is a common and clinically relevant feature of schizophrenia. Reduced levels of self-referential processing have been proposed as a mechanism underlying poor insight. The default mode network (DMN) has been implicated as a key node in the circuit for self-referential processing. We hypothesized that during resting state the DMN network would show decreased connectivity in schizophrenia patients with poor insight compared to patients with good insight. Patients with schizophrenia were recruited from mental health care centers in the north of the Netherlands and categorized in groups having good insight (n = 25) or poor insight (n = 19). All subjects underwent a resting state fMRI scan. A healthy control group (n = 30) was used as a reference. Functional connectivity of the anterior and posterior part of the DMN, identified using Independent Component Analysis, was compared between groups. Patients with poor insight showed lower connectivity of the ACC within the anterior DMN component and precuneus within the posterior DMN component compared to patients with good insight. Connectivity between the anterior and posterior part of the DMN was lower in patients than controls, and qualitatively different between the good and poor insight patient groups. As predicted, subjects with poor insight in psychosis showed decreased connectivity in DMN regions implicated in self-referential processing, although this concerned only part of the network. This finding is compatible with theories implying a role of reduced self-referential processing as a mechanism contributing to poor insight.
To investigate the effects of social-skills training and parental training programme for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
We conducted a randomized two-armed, parallel group, assessor-blinded superiority trial consisting of social-skills training plus parental training and standard treatment versus standard treatment alone. A sample size calculation showed at least 52 children should be included for the trial with follow up three and six months after randomization. The primary outcome measure was ADHD symptoms and secondary outcomes were social skills and emotional competences.
children (39 boys, 17 girls, mean age 10.4 years, SD 1.31) with ADHD were randomized, 28 to the experimental group and 27 to the control group. Mixed-model analyses with repeated measures showed that the time course (y = a + bt + ct2) of ADHD symptoms (p = 0.40), social skills (p = 0.80), and emotional competences (p = 0.14) were not significantly influenced by the intervention.
Social skills training plus parental training did not show any significant benefit for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when compared with standard treatment. More and larger randomized trials are needed.
Previous studies have indicated that the processes leading to the resolution of emotional and non-emotional interference conflicts are unrelated, involving separate networks. It is also known that conflict resolution itself suggests a considerable overlap of the networks. Our study is an attempt to examine how these findings may be related.
We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study neural responses of 24 healthy subjects to emotional and non-emotional conflict paradigms involving the presentation of congruent and incongruent word-face pairs based on semantic incompatibility between targets and distractors. In the emotional task, the behavioral interference conflict was greater (compared to the non-emotional task) and was paralleled by involvement of the extrastriate visual and posterodorsal medial frontal cortices. In both tasks, we also observed a common network including the dorsal anterior cingulate, the supplemental motor area, the anterior insula and the inferior prefrontal cortex, indicating that these brain structures are markers of experienced conflict. However, the emotional task involved conflict-triggered networks to a considerably higher degree.
Our findings indicate that responses to emotional and non-emotional distractors involve the same systems, which are capable of flexible adjustments based on conflict demands. The function of systems related to conflict resolution is likely to be adjusted on the basis of an evaluation process that primarily involves the extrastriate visual cortex, with target playing a significant role.
Alexithymia is a personality trait characterized by difficulties in the cognitive processing of emotions (cognitive dimension) and in the experience of emotions (affective dimension). Previous research focused mainly on visual emotional processing in the cognitive alexithymia dimension. We investigated the impact of both alexithymia dimensions on electrophysiological responses to emotional speech in 60 female subjects.
During unattended processing, subjects watched a movie while an emotional prosody oddball paradigm was presented in the background. During attended processing, subjects detected deviants in emotional prosody. The cognitive alexithymia dimension was associated with a left-hemisphere bias during early stages of unattended emotional speech processing, and with generally reduced amplitudes of the late P3 component during attended processing. In contrast, the affective dimension did not modulate unattended emotional prosody perception, but was associated with reduced P3 amplitudes during attended processing particularly to emotional prosody spoken in high intensity.
Our results provide evidence for a dissociable impact of the two alexithymia dimensions on electrophysiological responses during the attended and unattended processing of emotional prosody. The observed electrophysiological modulations are indicative of a reduced sensitivity to the emotional qualities of speech, which may be a contributing factor to problems in interpersonal communication associated with alexithymia.
Dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is thought to be associated with more mood symptoms and worse cognitive functioning. This study examined whether variation in HPA axis activity underlies the association between mood symptoms and cognitive functioning.
In 65 bipolar patients cognitive functioning was measured in domains of psychomotor speed, speed of information processing, attentional switching, verbal memory, visual memory, executive functioning and an overall mean score. Severity of depression was assessed by the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-self rating version. Saliva cortisol measurements were performed to calculate HPA axis indicators: cortisol awakening response, diurnal slope, the evening cortisol level and the cortisol suppression on the dexamethasone suppression test. Regression analyses of depressive symptoms and cognitive functioning on each HPA axis indicator were performed. In addition we calculated percentages explanation of the association between depressive symptoms and cognition by HPA axis indicators. Depressive symptoms were associated with dysfunction in psychomotor speed, attentional switching and the mean score, as well as with attenuation in diurnal slope value. No association was found between HPA axis activity and cognitive functioning and HPA axis activity did not explain the associations between depressive symptoms and cognition.
As our study is the first one in this field specific for bipolar patients and changes in HPA-axis activity did not seem to explain the association between severity of depressive symptoms and cognitive functioning in bipolar patients, future studies are needed to evaluate other factors that might explain this relationship.
Prolonged response times are observed with targets having been presented as distractors immediately before, called negative priming effect. Among others, inhibitory and retrieval processes have been suggested underlying this behavioral effect. As those processes would involve different neural activation patterns, a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study including 28 subjects was conducted. Two tasks were used to investigate stimulus repetition effects. One task focused on target location, the other on target identity. Both tasks are known to elicit the expected response time effects. However, there is less agreement about the relationship of those tasks with the explanatory accounts under consideration. Based on within-subject comparisons we found clear differences between the experimental repetition conditions and the neutral control condition on neural level for both tasks. Hemodynamic fronto-striatal activation patterns occurred for the location-based task favoring the selective inhibition account. Hippocampal activation found for the identity-based task suggests an assignment to the retrieval account; however, this task lacked a behavioral effect.