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Badenes D.,Hospital Universitari Mutua Terrassa | Badenes D.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Garolera M.,Neuropsychological Unit | Casas L.,Hospital Universitari Mutua Terrassa | And 5 more authors.
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society | Year: 2014

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) significantly impacts daily living activities, including car driving. To investigate driving difficulties experienced with MS, we compared 50 MS patients with minor or moderate disability and 50 healthy controls (HC) using computerized driving tests (the ASDE driver test and the Useful Field of View (UFOV) test) and neuropsychological tests. Inclusion criteria included being active drivers. We evaluated whether cognitive deterioration in MS is associated with the results of driving tests by comparing MS patients without cognitive deterioration with HC. The results indicated that the MS patients performed worse than the HCs in attention, information processing, working memory and visuomotor coordination tasks. Furthermore, MS patients with cognitive impairments experienced more difficulties in the driving tests than did the non-impaired MS patients. Motor dysfunction associated with MS also played an important role in this activity. The results of this study suggest that MS should be assessed carefully and that special emphasis should be placed on visuomotor coordination and executive functions because patients with minor motor disability and subtle cognitive impairments can pass measures predictive of driving safety. Copyright © INS.Published by Cambridge University Press, 2014. Source

Pardo B.M.,University of Barcelona | Garolera M.,Neuropsychological Unit | Ariza M.,University of Barcelona | Ariza M.,Institute for Brain Cognition and Behaviour IR3C | And 5 more authors.
Psychiatry Research - Neuroimaging | Year: 2011

The aim of this study was to examine the changes in cognitive flexibility and associated cerebral blood flow in the anterior cingulate lobe of drug-naive patients with first-episode schizophrenia who were treated with atypical antipsychotics for 6. weeks. Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) images were obtained from 8 healthy subjects both at rest and while performing the flexibility subtest of the TAP (Test for Attentional Performance). SPECT images were obtained in parallel from 8 first-episode drug-naive schizophrenic patients while they were performing the same task both before and after 6. weeks of neuroleptic treatment. In the control group, an increase in the perfusion indices of the dorsal section of the anterior cingulate gyrus was observed in the activation condition. Task performance was altered and the level of perfusion of the brain region related to the task execution was significantly decreased in the patients at baseline. After treatment, there was a significant improvement in both task performance and the level of perfusion of the dorsal section of the anterior cingulate. We conclude that treatment with second-generation neuroleptics improves cognitive flexibility, and there was a relationship between such improvements and normalization of perfusion indices of the involved brain areas. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Source

McManus L.M.,University College Dublin | Budini F.,UCD | Di Russo F.,Foro Italico University of Rome | Di Russo F.,Neuropsychological Unit | And 5 more authors.
International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering, NER | Year: 2013

Corticomuscular coherence between human cortical rhythms and surface electromyography (sEMG) is commonly observed within the beta (13-35 Hz) and gamma (35-60 Hz) band frequency ranges, but is typically absent within the alpha band (8-12 Hz) in healthy subjects. A recent study has shown that significant alpha band corticomuscular coherence can be mechanically induced in healthy subjects using a spring of appropriate stiffness. Traditional coherence analysis is limited to examining whether a correlation exists between the electroencephalograph (EEG) and EMG recordings, by portraying instances of mutual synchrony. In this study the temporal evolution and directionality of the interaction between the EEG and EMG signals during mechanically induced alpha band coherence were investigated using two recent extensions of classical coherence, wavelet analysis and partial directed coherence. The results indicate a significant increase in directional information flow within the alpha and piper band frequency ranges in the EMG to EEG direction, and appear to provide evidence of the contribution of afferent feedback, and to a lesser extent descending cortical drives, to alpha band corticomuscular coherence. © 2013 IEEE. Source

Berchicci M.,Foro Italico University of Rome | Lucci G.,Neuropsychological Unit | Perri R.L.,Foro Italico University of Rome | Perri R.L.,University of Rome La Sapienza | And 4 more authors.
Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Motor performance deficits of older adults are due to dysfunction at multiple levels. Age-related differences have been documented on executive functions; motor control becomes more reliant on cognitive control mechanisms, including the engagement of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), possibly compensating for age-related sensorimotor declines. Since at functional level the PFC showed the largest age-related differences during discriminative response task, we wonder whether those effects are mainly due to the cognitive difficulty in stimulus discrimination or they could be also detected in a much easier task. In the present study, we measured the association of physical exercise with the PFC activation and response times (RTs) using a simple response task (SRT), in which the participants were asked to respond as quickly as possible by manual key-press to visual stimuli. Simultaneous behavioral (RTs) and electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings were performed on 84 healthy participants aged 19-86 years. The whole sample was divided into three cohorts (young, middle-aged, and older); each cohort was further divided into two equal sub-cohorts (exercise and not-exercise) based on a self-report questionnaire measuring physical exercise. The EEG signal was segmented in epochs starting 1100 prior to stimulus onset and lasting 2 s. Behavioral results showed age effects, indicating a slowing of RTs with increasing age. The EEG results showed a significant interaction between age and exercise on the activities recorded on the PFC. The results indicates that: (a) the brain of older adults needs the PFC engagement also to perform elementary task, such as the SRT, while this activity is not necessary in younger adults, (b) physical exercise could reduce this age-related reliance on extra cognitive control also during the performance of a SRT, and (c) the activity of the PFC is a sensitive index of the benefits of physical exercise on sensorimotor decline. © 2014 Berchicci, Lucci, Perri, Spinelli and Di Russo. Source

Berchicci M.,Foro Italico University of Rome | Menotti F.,Foro Italico University of Rome | Macaluso A.,Foro Italico University of Rome | Di Russo F.,Foro Italico University of Rome | Di Russo F.,Neuropsychological Unit
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2013

Fatigue has been defined as an exercise-induced decline in force generation capacity because of changes at both the peripheral and central levels. Movement is preceded and accompanied by brain activities related to the preparation and execution of movement (movement related cortical potentials, MRCP), which have been correlated with the perception of effort (RPE). We combined force measurements, surface electromyography (sEMG), peripheral electrical stimulation (maximal twitch, MT) and MRCP analysis to further our understanding of the neural correlates of peripheral and central changes during a fatiguing task involving the lower limbs. Eighteen healthy volunteers performed 4 blocks of isometric knee extensions at 40% of the maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) for a total of 240 2-s contractions. At the baseline and after each block, we measured RPE, MT and MVC. We simultaneously recorded the force of the knee extensor muscles, root mean square (RMS) of the sEMG of the vastus lateralis muscle, and electroencephalography (EEG) from 64 channels. The MRCPs were extracted from the EEG recordings and averaged in the early (Block 1-2) and late (Block 3-4) blocks. Two cohorts were obtained by cluster analysis based on the RPE (i.e., perception of effort) and MT (i.e., peripheral fatigue). We observed a significant decline in both the MVC (-13%) and RMS (-25%) of the sEMG signal over the course of the task; thus, muscle fatigue had occurred in all of the participants regardless of the cohort. The MRCP amplitude was larger in the fatigued than the non-fatigued MT cohort in the supplementary and premotor areas, whereas the MRCP amplitude was larger in the fatigued than the non-fatigued RPE cohort in the aforementioned areas, and also in the primary motor and prefrontal cortices (PFC). The increase in the positive activity of the PFC, along with the perception of effort, represents a novel result, suggesting that it is modulated more by the perception of effort than peripheral fatigue. © 2013 Berchicci, Menotti, Macaluso and Di_russo. Source

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