Tactile temporal discrimination in patients with blepharospasm.
ABSTRACT Blepharospasm is an adult-onset focal dystonia that causes involuntary blinking and eyelid spasms. Studies have shown the presence of sensory deficits associated with dystonia.
To rule out any confounding effect of muscle spasms on sensory performance in affected and unaffected body regions of patients with blepharospasm and with hemifacial spasm.
Participants (19 patients with blepharospasm, 19 patients with hemifacial spasm and 19 control subjects) were asked to discriminate between two stimuli that were either simultaneous or sequential (temporal discrimination threshold, TDT). Pairs of tactile stimuli were delivered with increasing or decreasing inter-stimulus intervals from 0 to 400 ms (in 10-ms steps) to the hands or on the skin over the orbicularis oculi muscle.
Tactile stimuli elicited similar TDTs in control subjects and patients with hemifacial spasm, but significantly higher TDTs in patients with blepharospasm, regardless of whether stimuli were applied to the orbicularis muscle or the hand.
As TDT was abnormal in unaffected body regions of patients with blepharospasm, and patients with hemifacial spasm processed tactile stimuli normally, TDT deficits in blepharospasm depend on central rather than peripheral factors. This study further supports the link between focal dystonia and impaired temporal processing of somatosensory inputs.
Article: Structuring heterogeneous biological information using fuzzy clustering of k-partite graphs.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Extensive and automated data integration in bioinformatics facilitates the construction of large, complex biological networks. However, the challenge lies in the interpretation of these networks. While most research focuses on the unipartite or bipartite case, we address the more general but common situation of k-partite graphs. These graphs contain k different node types and links are only allowed between nodes of different types. In order to reveal their structural organization and describe the contained information in a more coarse-grained fashion, we ask how to detect clusters within each node type. Since entities in biological networks regularly have more than one function and hence participate in more than one cluster, we developed a k-partite graph partitioning algorithm that allows for overlapping (fuzzy) clusters. It determines for each node a degree of membership to each cluster. Moreover, the algorithm estimates a weighted k-partite graph that connects the extracted clusters. Our method is fast and efficient, mimicking the multiplicative update rules commonly employed in algorithms for non-negative matrix factorization. It facilitates the decomposition of networks on a chosen scale and therefore allows for analysis and interpretation of structures on various resolution levels. Applying our algorithm to a tripartite disease-gene-protein complex network, we were able to structure this graph on a large scale into clusters that are functionally correlated and biologically meaningful. Locally, smaller clusters enabled reclassification or annotation of the clusters' elements. We exemplified this for the transcription factor MECP2. In order to cope with the overwhelming amount of information available from biomedical literature, we need to tackle the challenge of finding structures in large networks with nodes of multiple types. To this end, we presented a novel fuzzy k-partite graph partitioning algorithm that allows the decomposition of these objects in a comprehensive fashion. We validated our approach both on artificial and real-world data. It is readily applicable to any further problem.BMC Bioinformatics 10/2010; 11:522. · 2.75 Impact Factor
Article: Theta-burst stimulation-induced plasticity over primary somatosensory cortex changes somatosensory temporal discrimination in healthy humans.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold (STDT) measures the ability to perceive two stimuli as being sequential. Precisely how the single cerebral structures contribute in controlling the STDT is partially known and no information is available about whether STDT can be modulated by plasticity-inducing protocols. To investigate how the cortical and cerebellar areas contribute to the STDT we used transcranial magnetic stimulation and a neuronavigation system. We enrolled 18 healthy volunteers and 10 of these completed all the experimental sessions, including the control experiments. STDT was measured on the left hand before and after applying continuous theta-burst stimulation (cTBS) on the right primary somatosensory area (S1), pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA), right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and left cerebellar hemisphere. We then investigated whether intermittent theta-burst stimulation (iTBS) on the right S1 improved the STDT. After right S1 cTBS, STDT values increased whereas after iTBS to the same cortical site they decreased. cTBS over the DLPFC and left lateral cerebellum left the STDT statistically unchanged. cTBS over the pre-SMA also left the STDT statistically unchanged, but it increased the number of errors subjects made in distinguishing trials testing a single stimulus and those testing paired stimuli. Our findings obtained by applying TBS to the cortical areas involved in processing sensory discrimination show that the STDT is encoded in S1, possibly depends on intrinsic S1 neural circuit properties, and can be modulated by plasticity-inducing TBS protocols delivered over S1. Our findings, giving further insight into mechanisms involved in somatosensory temporal discrimination, help interpret STDT abnormalities in movement disorders including dystonia and Parkinson's disease.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(3):e32979. · 4.09 Impact Factor