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Burg bei Magdeburg, Germany

Niewalda T.,University of Wurzburg | Niewalda T.,University of Leipzig | Voller T.,University of Wurzburg | Voller T.,Visitron Systems GmbH | And 13 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

How do physico-chemical stimulus features, perception, and physiology relate? Given the multi-layered and parallel architecture of brains, the question specifically is where physiological activity patterns correspond to stimulus features and/or perception. Perceived distances between six odour pairs are defined behaviourally from four independent odour recognition tasks. We find that, in register with the physico-chemical distances of these odours, perceived distances for 3-octanol and n-amylacetate are consistently smallest in all four tasks, while the other five odour pairs are about equally distinct. Optical imaging in the antennal lobe, using a calcium sensor transgenically expressed in only first-order sensory or only second-order olfactory projection neurons, reveals that 3-octanol and n-amylacetate are distinctly represented in sensory neurons, but appear merged in projection neurons. These results may suggest that within-antennal lobe processing funnels sensory signals into behaviourally meaningful categories, in register with the physico-chemical relatedness of the odours. © 2011 Niewalda et al.

Abdulla S.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Abdulla S.,German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases | Abdulla S.,Hannover Medical School | Vielhaber S.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | And 8 more authors.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration | Year: 2014

There has been evidence that subjective quality of life in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is comparatively good, unrelated to the state of physical functioning, so called 'disability paradox'. Other studies show weak to moderate correlations between disease severity and emotional well-being. Our aim was to analyse the impact of physical impairment on emotional well-being when assessed disease-specifically and seen through the patient's eyes with additional clinical evaluation. In 121 patients emotional functioning was evaluated by the ALS Assessment Questionnaire (ALSAQ-40). Physical status was assessed by the ALS Functional Rating Scale-Extension (ALSFRS-EX) and Borg dyspnoea scales and by clinical examination (muscle strength and pulmonary function). Multiple regression and correlation analyses were performed. Results showed that physical impairment and progression rate of physical deterioration had a significant impact and explained some variance in emotional well-being (adjusted R2 = 0.22). Pulmonary function and the sense of dyspnoea correlated significantly on a weak to moderate level with emotional well-being. In conclusion, disease-specific patient- reported outcome measurement instruments revealed a moderate but distinct impact of physical impairment on emotional well-being. This study challenges the 'disability paradox' and has relevant findings that can support the timely delivery of care for ALS patients. © 2014 Informa Healthcare.

Eschbach C.,University of Wurzburg | Cano C.,University of Wurzburg | Haberkern H.,University of Wurzburg | Schraut K.,University of Wurzburg | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Experimental Biology | Year: 2011

We tested whether Drosophila larvae can associate odours with a mechanosensory disturbance as a punishment, using substrate vibration conveyed by a loudspeaker (buzz: ?). One odour (A) was presented with the buzz, while another odour (B) was presented without the buzz (A?/B training). Then, animals were offered the choice between A and B. After reciprocal training (A/B4), a second experimental group was tested in the same way. We found that larvae show conditioned escape from the previously punished odour. We further report an increase of associative performance scores with the number of punishments, and an increase according to the number of training cycles. Within the range tested (between 50 and 200 Hz), however, the pitch of the buzz does not apparently impact associative success. Last, but not least, we characterized odour-buzz memories with regard to the conditions under which they are behaviourally expressed - or not. In accordance with what has previously been found for associative learning between odours and bad taste (such as high concentration salt or quinine), we report that conditioned escape after odour-buzz learning is disabled if escape is not warranted, i.e. if no punishment to escape from is present during testing. Together with the already established paradigms for the association of odour and bad taste, the present assay offers the prospect of analysing how a relatively simple brain orchestrates memory and behaviour with regard to different kinds of 'bad' events. © 2011. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

Gerber B.,Leibniz Institute For Neurobiologie Lin | Gerber B.,Center for Behavioral Brain science | Gerber B.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Yarali A.,Leibniz Institute For Neurobiologie Lin | And 5 more authors.
Learning and Memory | Year: 2014

Memories relating to a painful, negative event are adaptive and can be stored for a lifetime to support preemptive avoidance, escape, or attack behavior. However, under unfavorable circumstances such memories can become overwhelmingly powerful. They may trigger excessively negative psychological states and uncontrollable avoidance of locations, objects, or social interactions. It is therefore obvious that any process to counteract such effects will be of value. In this context, we stress from a basic-research perspective that painful, negative events are "Janus-faced" in the sense that there are actually two aspects about them that are worth remembering: What made them happen and what made them cease. We review published findings from fruit flies, rats, and man showing that both aspects, respectively related to the onset and the offset of the negative event, induce distinct and oppositely valenced memories: Stimuli experienced before an electric shock acquire negative valence as they signal upcoming punishment, whereas stimuli experienced after an electric shock acquire positive valence because of their association with the relieving cessation of pain. We discuss how memories for such punishment- and relief-learning are organized, how this organization fits into the threat-imminence model of defensive behavior, and what perspectives these considerations offer for applied psychology in the context of trauma, panic, and nonsuicidal self-injury. © 2014 Simpson et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Niewalda T.,Leibniz Institute For Neurobiologie Lin | Jeske I.,University of Leipzig | Michels B.,Leibniz Institute For Neurobiologie Lin | Gerber B.,Leibniz Institute For Neurobiologie Lin | And 2 more authors.
Biology Open | Year: 2014

Understanding social behaviour requires a study case that is simple enough to be tractable, yet complex enough to remain interesting. Do larval Drosophila meet these requirements? In a broad sense, this question can refer to effects of the mere presence of other larvae on the behaviour of a target individual. Here we focused in a more strict sense on 'peer pressure', that is on the question of whether the behaviour of a target individual larva is affected by what a surrounding group of larvae is doing. We found that innate olfactory preference of a target individual was neither affected (i) by the level of innate olfactory preference in the surrounding group nor (ii) by the expression of learned olfactory preference in the group. Likewise, learned olfactory preference of a target individual was neither affected (iii) by the level of innate olfactory preference of the surrounding group nor (iv) by the learned olfactory preference the group was expressing. We conclude that larval Drosophila thus do not take note of specifically what surrounding larvae are doing. This implies that in a strict sense, and to the extent tested, there is no social interaction between larvae. These results validate widely used en mass approaches to the behaviour of larval Drosophila. © 2014, Company of Biologists Ltd. All rights reserved.

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