Irccs Foundation Santa Lucia

Rome, Italy

Irccs Foundation Santa Lucia

Rome, Italy
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Angelelli P.,University of Salento | Marinelli C.V.,University of Salento | Marinelli C.V.,IRCCS Foundation Santa Lucia | Putzolu A.,University of Salento | And 4 more authors.
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology | Year: 2017

We examined how whole-word lexical information and knowledge of distributional properties of orthography interact in children’s spelling. High- versus low-frequency words, which included inconsistently spelled segments occurring more or less frequently in the orthography, were used in two experiments: (a) word spelling; (b) lexical priming of pseudoword spelling. Participants were 1st-, 2nd-, and 4th-grade Italian children. Word spelling showed sensitivity to the distributional properties of orthography in all children: accuracy in spelling uncommon transcription segments emerged progressively as a function of word frequency and schooling. Lexical priming effects emerged as a function of age. When related primes contained an uncommon segment, 2nd- and 4th-graders preferred uncommon segments than common ones in spelling target pseudowords, thus inverting the response trend found in the control condition. A smaller but significant effect was present in 1st- graders, who, unlike 2nd- and 4th-graders, still preferred common segments, only slightly increasing the use of uncommon ones. A larger priming effect emerged for high-frequency primes than low-frequency ones. Results indicate that children learning to spell in a transparent orthography are sensitive to the distributional properties of the orthography. However, whole-word lexical representations are also used, with larger effects in more skilled pupils. © 2017 The Experimental Psychology Society


Peran P.,Irccs Foundation Santa Lucia | Peran P.,University Paul Sabatier | Cherubini A.,Irccs Foundation Santa Lucia | Assogna F.,IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation | And 13 more authors.
Brain | Year: 2010

One objective of modern neuroimaging is to identify markers that can aid in diagnosis, disease progression monitoring and long-term drug impact analysis. In this study, Parkinson-associated physiopathological modifications were characterized in six subcortical structures by simultaneously measuring quantitative magnetic resonance parameters sensitive to complementary tissue characteristics (i.e. volume atrophy, iron deposition and microstructural damage). Thirty patients with Parkinson's disease and 22 control subjects underwent 3-T magnetic resonance imaging with T2*-weighted, whole-brain T1-weighted and diffusion tensor imaging scans. The mean R2* value, mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy in the pallidum, putamen, caudate nucleus, thalamus, substantia nigra and red nucleus were compared between patients with Parkinson's disease and control subjects. Comparisons were also performed using voxel-based analysis of R2*, mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy maps to determine which subregion of the basal ganglia showed the greater difference for each parameter. Averages of each subregion were then used in a logistic regression analysis. Compared with control subjects, patients with Parkinson's disease displayed significantly higher R2* values in the substantia nigra, lower fractional anisotropy values in the substantia nigra and thalamus, and higher mean diffusivity values in the thalamus. Voxel-based analyses confirmed these results and, in addition, showed a significant difference in the mean diffusivity in the striatum. The combination of three markers was sufficient to obtain a 95 global accuracy (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve) for discriminating patients with Parkinson's disease from controls. The markers comprising discriminating combinations were R2* in the substantia nigra, fractional anisotropy in the substantia nigra and mean diffusivity in the putamen or caudate nucleus. Remarkably, the predictive markers involved the nigrostriatal structures that characterize Parkinson's physiopathology. Furthermore, highly discriminating combinations included markers from three different magnetic resonance parameters (R2*, mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy). These findings demonstrate that multimodal magnetic resonance imaging of subcortical grey matter structures is useful for the evaluation of Parkinson's disease and, possibly, of other subcortical pathologies. © 2010 The Author.


Peran P.,Irccs Foundation Santa Lucia | Peran P.,French Institute of Health and Medical Research | Demonet J.-F.,French Institute of Health and Medical Research | Cherubini A.,Irccs Foundation Santa Lucia | And 4 more authors.
Brain Research | Year: 2010

Recent theories have hypothesized that semantic representations of action verbs and mental representations of action may be supported by partially overlapping, distributed brain networks. An fMRI experiment in healthy participants was designed to identify the common and specific regions in three different tasks from a common set of object drawings (manipulable man-made objects (MMO) and biological objects (MBO)): the generation of action words (GenA), the mental simulation of action (MSoA) and the mime of an action with the right hand (MimA). A fourth task, object naming (ON), was used as control for input/output effects. A null conjunction identified a common neural network consisting of nine regions distributed over premotor, parietal and occipital cortices. Within this common network, GenA elicited significantly more activation than either ON or MSoA in the left inferior frontal region, while MSoA elicited significantly more activation than either ON or GenA in the left superior parietal lobule. Both MSoA and GenA activated the left inferior parietal lobule more than ON. Furthermore, the left superior parietal cortex was activated to a greater extent by MMO than by MBO regardless of the tasks. These results suggest that action-denoting verbs and motor representations of the same actions activate a common frontal-parietal network. The left inferior parietal cortex and the left superior parietal cortex are likely to be involved in the retrieval of spatial-temporal features of object manipulation; the former might relate to the grasping and manipulation of any object while the latter might be linked to specific object-related gestures. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Angelelli P.,University of Bari | Marinelli C.V.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Marinelli C.V.,IRCCS Foundation Santa Lucia | Zoccolotti P.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Zoccolotti P.,IRCCS Foundation Santa Lucia
Cognitive Neuropsychology | Year: 2010

Italian children with surface dyslexia and dysgraphia show defective orthographic lexical processing in both reading and spelling. It is unclear whether this parallelism is due to impairment of separate orthographic input and output lexicons or to a unique defective lexicon. The main aim of the present study was to compare the single- versus dual-lexicon accounts in dyslexic/dysgraphic children (and in normal but younger children). In the first experiment, 9 Italian children with surface dyslexia and dysgraphia judged the orthographic correctness (input lexicon) of their phonologically plausible misspellings (output lexicon) and of phonologically plausible spellings experimentally introduced for words they consistently spelt correctly. The children were generally impaired in recognizing phonologically plausible misspellings. Parallel deficits in reading and spelling also emerged: Children were more impaired in judging items they consistently misspelt and more accurate in judging items they always spelt correctly. In a second experiment, younger normal children with reading/spelling ability similar to that of the dyslexic/dysgraphic children in the first experiment (but younger) were examined. The results confirmed a close parallelism between the orthographic lexical representations used for reading and spelling. Overall, findings support the hypothesis that a single orthographic lexicon is responsible for reading and spelling performance in both dyslexic/dysgraphic and normal (but younger) children. © 2011 Psychology Press.


PubMed | IRCCS Foundation Santa Lucia
Type: | Journal: Brain research | Year: 2010

Recent theories have hypothesized that semantic representations of action verbs and mental representations of action may be supported by partially overlapping, distributed brain networks. An fMRI experiment in healthy participants was designed to identify the common and specific regions in three different tasks from a common set of object drawings (manipulable man-made objects (MMO) and biological objects (MBO)): the generation of action words (GenA), the mental simulation of action (MSoA) and the mime of an action with the right hand (MimA). A fourth task, object naming (ON), was used as control for input/output effects. A null conjunction identified a common neural network consisting of nine regions distributed over premotor, parietal and occipital cortices. Within this common network, GenA elicited significantly more activation than either ON or MSoA in the left inferior frontal region, while MSoA elicited significantly more activation than either ON or GenA in the left superior parietal lobule. Both MSoA and GenA activated the left inferior parietal lobule more than ON. Furthermore, the left superior parietal cortex was activated to a greater extent by MMO than by MBO regardless of the tasks. These results suggest that action-denoting verbs and motor representations of the same actions activate a common frontal-parietal network. The left inferior parietal cortex and the left superior parietal cortex are likely to be involved in the retrieval of spatial-temporal features of object manipulation; the former might relate to the grasping and manipulation of any object while the latter might be linked to specific object-related gestures.


PubMed | Irccs Foundation Santa Lucia
Type: Comparative Study | Journal: Brain : a journal of neurology | Year: 2010

One objective of modern neuroimaging is to identify markers that can aid in diagnosis, disease progression monitoring and long-term drug impact analysis. In this study, Parkinson-associated physiopathological modifications were characterized in six subcortical structures by simultaneously measuring quantitative magnetic resonance parameters sensitive to complementary tissue characteristics (i.e. volume atrophy, iron deposition and microstructural damage). Thirty patients with Parkinsons disease and 22 control subjects underwent 3-T magnetic resonance imaging with T*-weighted, whole-brain T-weighted and diffusion tensor imaging scans. The mean R* value, mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy in the pallidum, putamen, caudate nucleus, thalamus, substantia nigra and red nucleus were compared between patients with Parkinsons disease and control subjects. Comparisons were also performed using voxel-based analysis of R*, mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy maps to determine which subregion of the basal ganglia showed the greater difference for each parameter. Averages of each subregion were then used in a logistic regression analysis. Compared with control subjects, patients with Parkinsons disease displayed significantly higher R* values in the substantia nigra, lower fractional anisotropy values in the substantia nigra and thalamus, and higher mean diffusivity values in the thalamus. Voxel-based analyses confirmed these results and, in addition, showed a significant difference in the mean diffusivity in the striatum. The combination of three markers was sufficient to obtain a 95% global accuracy (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve) for discriminating patients with Parkinsons disease from controls. The markers comprising discriminating combinations were R* in the substantia nigra, fractional anisotropy in the substantia nigra and mean diffusivity in the putamen or caudate nucleus. Remarkably, the predictive markers involved the nigrostriatal structures that characterize Parkinsons physiopathology. Furthermore, highly discriminating combinations included markers from three different magnetic resonance parameters (R*, mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy). These findings demonstrate that multimodal magnetic resonance imaging of subcortical grey matter structures is useful for the evaluation of Parkinsons disease and, possibly, of other subcortical pathologies.

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