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Christchurch, New Zealand

Alamri Y.A.S.,New Zealand Brain Research Institute
Journal of Medical Ethics | Year: 2016

It is human nature, perhaps more so for doctors and nurses, to comfort children in distress. Unfortunately, however, necessary medical procedures carried out by healthcare providers (eg, venipuncture) can often result in pain and discomfort, which may in turn cause the provider a degree of guilt and distress. Is it ever acceptable to comfort a paediatric patient with a kiss? This essay examines the literature published on this subject reflecting on a recent encounter with a patient. © 2016 by the BMJ Publishing Group Ltd & Institute of Medical Ethics.

Borrie S.A.,University of Canterbury | McAuliffe M.J.,University of Canterbury | Liss J.M.,Arizona State University | O'Beirne G.A.,University of Canterbury | Anderson T.J.,New Zealand Brain Research Institute
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2013

This investigation examined perceptual learning of dysarthric speech. Forty listeners were randomly assigned to one of two identification training tasks, aimed at highlighting either the linguistic (word identification task) or indexical (speaker identification task) properties of the neurologically degraded signal. Twenty additional listeners served as a control group, passively exposed to the training stimuli. Immediately following exposure to dysarthric speech, all three listener groups completed an identical phrase transcription task. Analysis of listener transcripts revealed remarkably similar intelligibility improvements for listeners trained to attend to either the linguistic or the indexical properties of the signal. Perceptual learning effects were also evaluated with regards to underlying error patterns indicative of segmental and suprasegmental processing. The findings of this study suggest that elements within both the linguistic and indexical properties of the dysarthric signal are learnable and interact to promote improved processing of this type and severity of speech degradation. Thus, the current study extends support for the development of a model of perceptual processing in which the learning of indexical properties is encoded and retained in conjunction with linguistic properties of the signal. © 2013 Acoustical Society of America.

Anderson T.J.,University of Otago | MacAskill M.R.,New Zealand Brain Research Institute
Nature Reviews Neurology | Year: 2013

The neural pathways and brain regions involved in eye movements during ocular fixation and gaze control include the cerebrum, brainstem and cerebellum, and abnormal eye movements can indicate the presence of neurodegeneration. In some patients, oculomotor signs are key to making a diagnosis. Careful clinical examination of eye movements in patients with neurodegenerative disorders is, therefore, an invaluable adjunct to neurological and cognitive assessments. Eye movement recordings in the laboratory are generally not necessary for diagnostic purposes, but can be a useful addition to the clinical examination. Laboratory recordings of eye movements can provide valuable information about disease severity, progression or regression in neurodegenerative disease, and hold particular promise for objective evaluation of the efficacy of putative neuroprotective and neurorestorative therapies. For example, aspects of saccade performance can be tested to probe both motor and cognitive aspects of oculomotor behaviour. This Review describes the oculomotor features of the major age-related movement disorders, including Parkinson disease, Huntington disease, dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders. Findings in presymptomatic individuals and changes associated with disease progression are discussed. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Harland B.C.,University of Canterbury | Collings D.A.,University of Canterbury | Mcnaughton N.,University of Otago | Abraham W.C.,University of Otago | And 3 more authors.
Hippocampus | Year: 2014

Injury to the anterior thalamic nuclei (ATN) may affect both hippocampus and retrosplenial cortex thus explaining some parallels between diencephalic and medial temporal lobe amnesias. We found that standard-housed rats with ATN lesions, compared with standard-housed controls, showed reduced spine density in hippocampal CA1 neurons (basal dendrites, -11.2%; apical dendrites, -9.6%) and in retrospenial granular b cortex (Rgb) neurons (apical dendrites, -20.1%) together with spatial memory deficits on cross maze and radial-arm maze tasks. Additional rats with ATN lesions were also shown to display a severe deficit on spatial working memory in the cross-maze, but subsequent enriched housing ameliorated their performance on both this task and the radial-arm maze. These enriched rats with ATN lesions also showed recovery of both basal and apical CA1 spine density to levels comparable to that of the standard-housed controls, but no recovery of Rgb spine density. Inspection of spine types in the CA1 neurons showed that ATN lesions reduced the density of thin spines and mushroom spines, but not stubby spines; while enrichment promoted recovery of thin spines. Comparison with enriched rats that received pseudo-training, which provided comparable task-related experience, but no explicit spatial memory training, suggested that basal CA1 spine density in particular was associated with spatial learning and memory performance. Distal pathology in terms of reduced integrity of hippocampal and retrosplenial microstructure provides clear support for the influence of the ATN lesions on the extended hippocampal system. The reversal by postoperative enrichment of this deficit in the hippocampus but not the retrosplenial cortex may indicate region-specific mechanisms of recovery after ATN injury. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Borrie S.A.,University of Canterbury | McAuliffe M.J.,University of Canterbury | Liss J.M.,Arizona State University | O'Beirne G.A.,University of Canterbury | Anderson T.J.,New Zealand Brain Research Institute
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2012

Differences in perceptual strategies for lexical segmentation of moderate hypokinetic dysarthric speech, apparently related to the conditions of the familiarization procedure, have been previously reported [Borrie, Language and Cognitive Processes (2012)]. The current follow-up investigation examined whether this difference was also observed when familiarization stimuli highlighted syllabic strength contrast cues. Forty listeners completed an identical transcription task following familiarization with dysarthric phrases presented under either passive or explicit learning conditions. Lexical boundary error patterns revealed that syllabic strength cues were exploited in both familiarization conditions. Comparisons with data previously reported afford further insight into perceptual learning of dysarthric speech. © 2012 Acoustical Society of America.

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