Spatial competences in Prader-Willi syndrome: a radial arm maze study.
ABSTRACT The present study was aimed at investigating the spatial abilities in Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) by using the Radial Arm Maze (RAM) task. We trained PWS individuals with the deletion subtype in two different RAM paradigms that tapped different aspects of spatial memory. To evaluate the extent of spatial deficit in PWS individuals, it seemed interesting to compare their performances with those of individuals with Williams syndrome (WS) in which deficits in spatial abilities have been well described. The two syndromic groups were compared to typically developing (TD) individuals mental-age and gender matched. The findings evidenced the impairment of PWS individuals in solving the RAM task with variable severity depending on the paradigm requests. Since the RAM is a task that allows the acquisition of spatial competences through the movement, we advance that the spatial deficits observed in PWS individuals may be related to the malfunctioning of spatial and motor integrative processing.
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ABSTRACT: Observing another person performing a complex action accelerates the observer's acquisition of the same action and limits the time-consuming process of learning by trial and error. Observational learning makes an interesting and potentially important topic in the developmental domain, especially when disorders are considered. The implications of studies aimed at clarifying whether and how this form of learning is spared by pathology are manifold. We focused on a specific population with learning and intellectual disabilities, the individuals with Williams syndrome. The performance of twenty-eight individuals with Williams syndrome was compared with that of mental age- and gender-matched thirty-two typically developing children on tasks of learning of a visuo-motor sequence by observation or by trial and error. Regardless of the learning modality, acquiring the correct sequence involved three main phases: a detection phase, in which participants discovered the correct sequence and learned how to perform the task; an exercise phase, in which they reproduced the sequence until performance was error-free; an automatization phase, in which by repeating the error-free sequence they became accurate and speedy. Participants with Williams syndrome beneficiated of observational training (in which they observed an actor detecting the visuo-motor sequence) in the detection phase, while they performed worse than typically developing children in the exercise and automatization phases. Thus, by exploiting competencies learned by observation, individuals with Williams syndrome detected the visuo-motor sequence, putting into action the appropriate procedural strategies. Conversely, their impaired performances in the exercise phases appeared linked to impaired spatial working memory, while their deficits in automatization phases to deficits in processes increasing efficiency and speed of the response. Overall, observational experience was advantageous for acquiring competencies, since it primed subjects' interest in the actions to be performed and functioned as a catalyst for executed action.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e53782. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: this study aimed to investigate the cognitive and behavioral profiles, as well as the psychiatric symptoms and disorders in children with three different genetic syndromes with similar sociocultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. thirty-four children aged 6 to 16 years, with Williams-Beuren syndrome (n=10), Prader-Willi syndrome (n=11), and Fragile X syndrome (n=13) from the outpatient clinics of Child Psychiatry and Medical Genetics Department were cognitively assessed through the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-III). Afterwards, a full-scale intelligence quotient (IQ), verbal IQ, performance IQ, standard subtest scores, as well as frequency of psychiatric symptoms and disorders were compared among the three syndromes. significant differences were found among the syndromes concerning verbal IQ and verbal and performance subtests. Post-hoc analysis demonstrated that vocabulary and comprehension subtest scores were significantly higher in Williams-Beuren syndrome in comparison with Prader-Willi and Fragile X syndromes, and block design and object assembly scores were significantly higher in Prader-Willi syndrome compared with Williams-Beuren and Fragile X syndromes. Additionally, there were significant differences between the syndromes concerning behavioral features and psychiatric symptoms. The Prader-Willi syndrome group presented a higher frequency of hyperphagia and self-injurious behaviors. The Fragile X syndrome group showed a higher frequency of social interaction deficits; such difference nearly reached statistical significance. the three genetic syndromes exhibited distinctive cognitive, behavioral, and psychiatric patterns.Jornal de pediatria 10/2013; · 1.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In Williams syndrome (WS) cerebellar measures were only indirectly related to behavioral outcomes. T1-weighted magnetic resonance images and neuropsychological data were acquired to investigate whether cerebellar vermis differences were present in 12 WS individuals compared with 13 chronological age-matched controls and whether WS cerebellar vermis measures were related to cognitive scores. In WS participants, we observed a significant increase in the volume of the posterior superior cerebellar vermis (lobules VI-VII) and an atypical ratio between width and height of the cerebellar vermis. Furthermore, we found an inverse correlation between cerebellar posterior vermis volume and scores on implicit learning, phonological fluency and the verbal short-term memory tasks. The present study supported a role for the posterior cerebellar vermis in higher cognitive processes and indicated that the cerebellar vermis abnormalities (enlargement) in WS individuals have an effect in worsening the cognitive performance in specific domains.Research in developmental disabilities 04/2013; 34(7):2118-2126. · 4.41 Impact Factor