Cognitive learning is associated with gray matter changes in healthy human individuals: a tensor-based morphometry study.
ABSTRACT Longitudinal voxel-based morphometry studies have demonstrated morphological changes in cortical structures following motor and cognitive learning. In this study, we applied, for the first time, tensor-based morphometry (TBM) to assess the short-term structural brain gray matter (GM) changes associated with cognitive learning in healthy subjects. Using a 3 T scanner, a 3D T1-weighted sequence was acquired from 32 students at baseline and after two weeks. Students were separated into two groups: 13 defined as "students in cognitive training", who underwent a two-week cognitive learning period, and 19 "students not in cognitive training", who were not involved in any teaching activity. GM changes were assessed using TBM and statistical parametric mapping. Baseline regional GM volume did not differ between the two groups. At follow up, compared to "students not in cognitive training", the "students in cognitive training" had a significant GM volume increase in the dorsomedial frontal cortex, the orbitofrontal cortex, and the precuneus (p<0.001). These results suggest that cognitive learning results in short-term structural GM changes of neuronal networks of the human brain, which are known to be involved in cognition. This may have important implications for the development of rehabilitation strategies in patients with neurological diseases.
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ABSTRACT: The emergence of political neuroscience—an interdisciplinary venture involving political science, psychology, and cognitive neuroscience—has piqued the interests of scholars as well as the mass public. In this chapter, we review evidence pertaining to four areas of inquiry that have generated most of the research in political neuroscience to date: (1) racial prejudice and intergroup relations; (2) the existence of partisan bias and motivated political cognition; (3) the nature of left‐right differences in political orientation; and (4) the dimensional structure of political attitudes. Although these topics are well‐known to political psychologists, the application of models and methods from neuroscience has renewed interest in each of them and yielded novel insights. There is reason to believe that many other areas of political psychology await similarly promising renewals and that innovative methods will continue to advance our understanding of the physiological processes involved in political cognition, evaluation, judgment, and behavior. We address limitations, criticisms, and potential pitfalls of existing work—including the “chicken‐and‐egg problem”—and propose an ambitious agenda for the next generation of research in political neuroscience.Political Psychology 02/2014; 35. · 1.71 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Preclinical studies using animal models have shown that grey matter plasticity in both perilesional and distant neural networks contributes to behavioural recovery of sensorimotor functions after ischaemic cortical stroke. Whether such morphological changes can be detected after human cortical stroke is not yet known, but this would be essential to better understand post-stroke brain architecture and its impact on recovery. Using serial behavioural and high-resolution magnetic resonanc"/>e imaging (MRI) measurements, we tracked recovery of dexterous hand function in 28 patients with ischaemic stroke involving the primary sensorimotor cortices. We were able to classify three recovery subgroups (fast, slow, and poor) using response feature analysis of individual recovery curves. To detect areas with significant longitudinal grey matter vol-ume (GMV) change, we performed tensor-based mor-phometry of MRI data acquired in the subacute phase, i.e. after the stage compromised by acute oedema and inflam-mation. We found significant GMV expansion in the per-ilesional premotor cortex, ipsilesional mediodorsal thalamus, and caudate nucleus, and GMV contraction in the contralesional cerebellum. According to an interaction model, patients with fast recovery had more perilesional than subcortical expansion, whereas the contrary was true for patients with impaired recovery. Also, there were sig-nificant voxel-wise correlations between motor perfor-mance and ipsilesional GMV contraction in the posterior parietal lobes and expansion in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In sum, perilesional GMV expansion is associated with successful recovery after cortical stroke, possibly reflecting the restructuring of local cortical networks. Distant changes within the prefrontal-striato-thalamic net-work are related to impaired recovery, probably indicating higher demands on cognitive control of motor behaviour.Brain Structure and Function 06/2014; · 7.84 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Objective Bipolar disorder (BD) is associated with a higher risk of suicide and with worse early life stress. A serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) has been shown to influence the relationship between stress and the risk of attempting suicide in the general population, but has not been investigated in BD.Methods We studied 136 inpatients (93 females, 43 males) with a major depressive episode in the course of BD. Early and recent stressful life events were scored on the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS). Regional gray matter (GM) volumes were analyzed, acquiring T1-weighted images on a 3.0 Tesla scanner.ResultsHomozygote l/l patients attempted suicide in a higher proportion than *s carriers. A separate-slopes logistic regression showed a significant effect of 5-HTTLPR on the relationship between stress, depression, and suicide among *s carriers, but not among l/l homozygotes, early stress associated with worse probability of attempting suicide and with earlier age at onset of BD. Exposure to early stress correlated with GM volumes in the right prefrontal cortex (Brodmann area 46) – again, in *s carriers only.Conclusions5-HTTLPR modulated the relationship between early life stress and the core features of bipolar illness. 5-HTTLPR*s carriers showed a higher sensitivity to the effects of stress; when exposed to low levels of early stress, they were protected against suicide in respect to l/l, but higher levels of stress progressively increased their risk of suicide and reduced the age at onset of illness.Bipolar Disorders 09/2014; · 4.62 Impact Factor