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1.  Age-related differences in the involvement of the prefrontal cortex in attentional control 
Brain and cognition  2009;71(3):328-335.
We investigated the relative involvement of cortical regions supporting attentional control in older and younger adults during performance on a modified version of the Stroop task. Participants were exposed to two different types of incongruent trials. One of these, an incongruent-ineligible condition, produces conflict at the non-response level, while the second, an incongruent-eligible condition, produces conflict at both non-response and response levels of information processing. Greater attentional control is needed to perform the incongruent-eligible condition compared to other conditions. We examined the cortical recruitment associated with this task in an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging paradigm in twenty-five older and twenty-five younger adults. Our results indicated that while younger adults demonstrated an increase in the activation of cortical regions responsible for maintaining attentional control in response to increased levels of conflict, such sensitivity and flexibility of the cortical regions to increased attentional control demands was absent in older adults. These results suggest a limitation in older adults’ capabilities for flexibly recruiting the attentional network in response to increasing attentional demands.
doi:10.1016/j.bandc.2009.07.005
PMCID: PMC2783271  PMID: 19699019
attentional control; aging; fMRI; flexibility; Stroop task; interference; inhibition
2.  Integrated device for optical stimulation and spatiotemporal electrical recording of neural activity in light-sensitized brain tissue 
Journal of neural engineering  2009;6(5):055007.
Neural stimulation with high spatial and temporal precision is desirable both for studying the real-time dynamics of neural networks and for prospective clinical treatment of neurological diseases. Optical stimulation of genetically targeted neurons expressing the light sensitive channel protein Channelrhodopsin (ChR2) has recently been reported as a means for millisecond temporal control of neuronal spiking activities with cell-type selectivity. This offers the prospect of enabling local delivery of optical stimulation and the simultaneous monitoring of the neural activity by electrophysiological means, both in the vicinity of and distant to the stimulation site. We report here a novel dual-modality hybrid device, which consists of a tapered coaxial optical waveguide (‘optrode’) integrated into a 100 element intra-cortical multi-electrode recording array. We first demonstrate the dual optical delivery and electrical recording capability of the single optrode in in vitro preparations of mouse retina, photo-stimulating the native retinal photoreceptors while recording light-responsive activities from ganglion cells. The dual-modality array device was then used in ChR2 transfected mouse brain slices. Specifically, epileptiform events were reliably optically triggered by the optrode and their spatiotemporal patterns were simultaneously recorded by the multi-electrode array.
doi:10.1088/1741-2560/6/5/055007
PMCID: PMC2921864  PMID: 19721185
4.  Development of the Chicago Food Allergy Research Surveys: assessing knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of parents, physicians, and the general public 
Background
Parents of children with food allergy, primary care physicians, and members of the general public play a critical role in the health and well-being of food-allergic children, though little is known about their knowledge and perceptions of food allergy. The purpose of this paper is to detail the development of the Chicago Food Allergy Research Surveys to assess food allergy knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs among these three populations.
Methods
From 2006–2008, parents of food-allergic children, pediatricians, family physicians, and adult members of the general public were recruited to assist in survey development. Preliminary analysis included literature review, creation of initial content domains, expert panel review, and focus groups. Survey validation included creation of initial survey items, expert panel ratings, cognitive interviews, reliability testing, item reduction, and final validation. National administration of the surveys is ongoing.
Results
Nine experts were assembled to oversee survey development. Six focus groups were held: 2/survey population, 4–9 participants/group; transcripts were reviewed via constant comparative methods to identify emerging themes and inform item creation. At least 220 participants per population were recruited to assess the relevance, reliability, and utility of each survey item as follows: cognitive interviews, 10 participants; reliability testing ≥ 10; item reduction ≥ 50; and final validation, 150 respondents.
Conclusion
The Chicago Food Allergy Research surveys offer validated tools to assess food allergy knowledge and perceptions among three distinct populations: a 42 item parent tool, a 50 item physician tool, and a 35 item general public tool. No such tools were previously available.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-142
PMCID: PMC2736935  PMID: 19664230

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