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1.  Near-Infrared Spectroscopy in Schizophrenia: A Possible Biomarker for Predicting Clinical Outcome and Treatment Response 
Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a relatively new technique that can measure hemoglobin changes in brain tissues, and its use in psychiatry has been progressing rapidly. Although it has several disadvantages (e.g., relatively low spatial resolution and the possibility of shallow coverage in the depth of brain regions) compared with other functional neuroimaging techniques (e.g., functional magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography), fNIRS may be a candidate instrument for clinical use in psychiatry, as it can measure brain activity in naturalistic position easily and non-invasively. fNIRS instruments are also small and work silently, and can be moved almost everywhere including schools and care units. Previous fNIRS studies have shown that patients with schizophrenia have impaired activity and characteristic waveform patterns in the prefrontal cortex during the letter version of the verbal fluency task, and part of these results have been approved as one of the Advanced Medical Technologies as an aid for the differential diagnosis of depressive symptoms by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan in 2009, which was the first such approval in the field of psychiatry. Moreover, previous studies suggest that the activity in the frontopolar prefrontal cortex is associated with their functions in chronic schizophrenia and is its next candidate biomarker. Future studies aimed at exploring fNIRS differences in various clinical stages, longitudinal changes, drug effects, and variations during different task paradigms will be needed to develop more accurate biomarkers that can be used to aid differential diagnosis, the comprehension of the present condition, the prediction of outcome, and the decision regarding treatment options in schizophrenia. Future fNIRS researches will require standardized measurement procedures, probe settings, analytical methods and tools, manuscript description, and database systems in an fNIRS community.
doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00145
PMCID: PMC3827961  PMID: 24294205
near-infrared spectroscopy; verbal fluency task; biological markers; early intervention; clinical outcome
2.  Prefrontal activation during inhibitory control measured by near-infrared spectroscopy for differentiating between autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults☆ 
NeuroImage : Clinical  2013;4:53-63.
The differential diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) based solely on symptomatic and behavioral assessments can be difficult, even for experts. Thus, the development of a neuroimaging marker that differentiates ASDs from ADHD would be an important contribution to this field. We assessed the differences in prefrontal activation between adults with ASDs and ADHD using an entirely non-invasive and portable neuroimaging tool, near-infrared spectroscopy. This study included 21 drug-naïve adults with ASDs, 19 drug-naïve adults with ADHD, and 21 healthy subjects matched for age, sex, and IQ. Oxygenated hemoglobin concentration changes in the prefrontal cortex were assessed during a stop signal task and a verbal fluency task. During the stop signal task, compared to the control group, the ASDs group exhibited lower activation in a broad prefrontal area, whereas the ADHD group showed underactivation of the right premotor area, right presupplementary motor area, and bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortices. Significant differences were observed in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex between the ASDs and ADHD groups during the stop signal task. The leave-one-out cross-validation method using mean oxygenated hemoglobin changes yielded a classification accuracy of 81.4% during inhibitory control. These results were task specific, as the brain activation pattern observed during the verbal fluency task did not differentiate the ASDs and ADHD groups significantly. This study therefore provides evidence of a difference in left ventrolateral prefrontal activation during inhibitory control between adults with ASDs and ADHD. Thus, near-infrared spectroscopy may be useful as an auxiliary tool for the differential diagnosis of such developmental disorders.
Highlights
•We examined the prefrontal function in 2 developmental disorders and HC using NIRS.•NIRS signals were assessed during a stop signal task (SST) and a verbal fluency task.•ASDs showed significantly smaller activation during SST than ADHD in left VLPFC.•NIRS is a useful biomarker for the differential diagnosis of ASDs and ADHD.
doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2013.10.002
PMCID: PMC3842411  PMID: 24298446
Autism spectrum disorders; Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; Near-infrared spectroscopy; Inhibitory control; Stop signal task
3.  The development of agoraphobia is associated with the symptoms and location of a patient's first panic attack 
Background
The place where a patient experiences his/her first panic attack (FPA) may be related to their agoraphobia later in life. However, no investigations have been done into the clinical features according to the place where the FPA was experienced. In particular, there is an absence of detailed research examining patients who experienced their FPA at home. In this study, patients were classified by the location of their FPA and the differences in their clinical features were explored (e.g., symptoms of FPA, frequency of agoraphobia, and severity of FPA).
Methods
The subjects comprised 830 panic disorder patients who were classified into 5 groups based on the place of their FPA (home, school/office, driving a car, in a public transportation vehicle, outside of home), The clinical features of these patients were investigated. Additionally, for panic disorder patients with agoraphobia at their initial clinic visit, the clinical features of patients who experienced their FPA at home were compared to those who experienced their attack elsewhere.
Results
In comparison of the FPAs of the 5 groups, significant differences were seen among the 7 descriptors (sex ratio, drinking status, smoking status, severity of the panic attack, depression score, ratio of agoraphobia, and degree of avoidance behavior) and 4 symptoms (sweating, chest pain, feeling dizzy, and fear of dying). The driving and public transportation group patients showed a higher incidence of co-morbid agoraphobia than did the other groups. Additionally, for panic disorder patients with co-morbid agoraphobia, the at-home group had a higher frequency of fear of dying compared to the patients in the outside-of-home group and felt more severe distress elicited by their FPA.
Conclusion
The results of this study suggest that the clinical features of panic disorder patients vary according to the place of their FPA. The at-home group patients experienced "fear of dying" more frequently and felt more distress during their FPA than did the subjects in the other groups. These results indicate that patients experiencing their FPA at home should be treated with a focus on the fear and distress elicited by the attack.
doi:10.1186/1751-0759-6-12
PMCID: PMC3349583  PMID: 22494552
Place of first panic attack; Panic attack symptoms; Subtype of panic disorder; Agoraphobia

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