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Turku, Finland

Rinne J.O.,Turku Center | Ngren K.,Copenhagen University
Journal of Alzheimer's Disease | Year: 2010

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is considered a transitional state between the cognitive changes of normal aging and the earliest clinical features of Alzheimer's disease (AD). An important goal is to find features that predict which MCI patients will later convert to AD. Identification of such features will be increasingly important when treatments slowing down the progression of AD become available enabling early intervention. Brain imaging might be one possible predictor of conversion to AD. Functional imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) has shown that either normal elderly people carrying apolipoprotein E ε4 allele or people with MCI already show reduced cerebral glucose metabolism in those brain areas that are typically affected in AD. Investigations of different neurotransmitter systems might increase specificity and help in the differential diagnosis between dementing disorders. Dopamine transporter imaging to aid in the differential diagnosis between AD and dementia with Lewy bodies seems promising. Amyloid imaging is an example of "pathology specific" imaging that has great potential to enhance early detection of AD processes and to help in differential diagnosis. In the future, multi-tracer imaging or development of agents enabling imaging of other protein aggregations in neurodegenerative diseases could further help in the early and differential diagnostics and evaluation of novel treatments. © 2010 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.

Lahteenmaki M.,Aalto University | Hyona J.,University of Turku | Koivisto M.,University of Turku | Nummenmaa L.,Aalto University | Nummenmaa L.,Turku Center
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General | Year: 2015

Studies using backward masked emotional stimuli suggest that affective processing may occur outside visual awareness and imply primacy of affective over semantic processing, yet these experiments have not strictly controlled for the participants' awareness of the stimuli. Here we directly compared the primacy of affective versus semantic categorization of biologically relevant stimuli in 5 experiments (n = 178) using explicit (semantic and affective discrimination; Experiments 1-3) and implicit (semantic and affective priming; Experiments 4-5) measures. The same stimuli were used in semantic and affective tasks. Visual awareness was manipulated by varying exposure duration of the masked stimuli, and subjective level of stimulus awareness was measured after each trial using a 4-point perceptual awareness scale. When participants reported no awareness of the stimuli, semantic and affective categorization were at chance level and priming scores did not differ from zero. When participants were even partially aware of the stimuli, (a) both semantic and affective categorization could be performed above chance level with equal accuracy, (b) semantic categorization was faster than affective categorization, and (c) both semantic and affective priming were observed. Affective categorization speed was linearly dependent on semantic categorization speed, suggesting dependence of affective processing on semantic recognition. Manipulations of affective and semantic categorization tasks revealed a hierarchy of categorization operations beginning with basic-level semantic categorization and ending with superordinate level affective categorization. We conclude that both implicit and explicit affective and semantic categorization is dependent on visual awareness, and that affective recognition follows semantic categorization. © 2015 American Psychological Association.

Katsyri J.,Aalto University | Hari R.,Aalto University | Ravaja N.,Aalto University | Ravaja N.,University of Helsinki | And 2 more authors.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2013

Although the multimodal stimulation provided by modern audiovisual video games is pleasing by itself, the rewarding nature of video game playing depends critically also on the players' active engagement in the gameplay. The extent to which active engagement influences dopaminergic brain reward circuit responses remains unsettled. Here we show that striatal reward circuit responses elicited by successes (wins) and failures (losses) in a video game are stronger during active than vicarious gameplay. Eleven healthy males both played a competitive first-person tank shooter game (active playing) and watched a pre-recorded gameplay video (vicarious playing) while their hemodynamic brain activation was measured with 3-tesla functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Wins and losses were paired with symmetrical monetary rewards and punishments during active and vicarious playing so that the external reward context remained identical during both conditions. Brain activation was stronger in the orbitomedial prefrontal cortex (omPFC) during winning than losing, both during active and vicarious playing conditions. In contrast, both wins and losses suppressed activations in the midbrain and striatum during active playing; however, the striatal suppression, particularly in the anterior putamen, was more pronounced during loss than win events. Sensorimotor confounds related to joystick movements did not account for the results. Self-ratings indicated losing to be more unpleasant during active than vicarious playing. Our findings demonstrate striatum to be selectively sensitive to self-acquired rewards, in contrast to frontal components of the reward circuit that process both self-acquired and passively received rewards. We propose that the striatal responses to repeated acquisition of rewards that are contingent on game related successes contribute to the motivational pull of video-game playing. © 2013 Kätsyri, Hari, Ravaja and Nummenmaa.

Nummenmaa L.,Aalto University | Nummenmaa L.,Turku Center | Saarimaki H.,Aalto University | Glerean E.,Aalto University | And 4 more authors.
NeuroImage | Year: 2014

Speech provides a powerful means for sharing emotions. Here we implement novel intersubject phase synchronization and whole-brain dynamic connectivity measures to show that networks of brain areas become synchronized across participants who are listening to emotional episodes in spoken narratives. Twenty participants' hemodynamic brain activity was measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they listened to 45-s narratives describing unpleasant, neutral, and pleasant events spoken in neutral voice. After scanning, participants listened to the narratives again and rated continuously their feelings of pleasantness-unpleasantness (valence) and of arousal-calmness. Instantaneous intersubject phase synchronization (ISPS) measures were computed to derive both multi-subject voxel-wise similarity measures of hemodynamic activity and inter-area functional dynamic connectivity (seed-based phase synchronization, SBPS). Valence and arousal time series were subsequently used to predict the ISPS and SBPS time series. High arousal was associated with increased ISPS in the auditory cortices and in Broca's area, and negative valence was associated with enhanced ISPS in the thalamus, anterior cingulate, lateral prefrontal, and orbitofrontal cortices. Negative valence affected functional connectivity of fronto-parietal, limbic (insula, cingulum) and fronto-opercular circuitries, and positive arousal affected the connectivity of the striatum, amygdala, thalamus, cerebellum, and dorsal frontal cortex. Positive valence and negative arousal had markedly smaller effects. We propose that high arousal synchronizes the listeners' sound-processing and speech-comprehension networks, whereas negative valence synchronizes circuitries supporting emotional and self-referential processing. © 2014.

We studied whether a reduced coronary flow reserve (CFR) in healthy young men independently predicts the presence of coronary artery disease as assessed by coronary artery calcification after 11 years of follow-up. Coronary microvascular dysfunction in early stages of coronary artery disease can be detected as a reduced CFR by positron emission tomography (PET). Seventy-seven healthy, lean, normotensive, non-smoking and non-diabetic men underwent 15-Oxygen ((15)O) water myocardial perfusion PET at rest and during vasodilator stress at the age of 35 ± 4 years at baseline. The subjects were followed-up for 11 ± 1 years and the coronary artery calcium score (CCS) was measured with computed tomography at the end of the follow-up. At the end of the follow-up, 30 (39%) individuals had CCS >0 (average 65 ± 93), but none had clinical symptoms or evidence of ischaemia in stress echocardiography. At baseline, the average CFR was comparable in individuals with CCS >0 and CCS = 0 (4.2 ± 1.4 vs. 4.0 ± 1.2, P = 0.4). Logistic regression analysis showed no associations between CFR, serum glucose, cholesterol levels, systolic blood pressure or body mass index at baseline and CCS at the end of the follow-up (P always >0.05). The presence of CCS (CCS >0) was associated with higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures at the end of the follow-up (137 ± 18 vs. 128 ± 11 mmHg, P = 0.04 and 86 ± 12 vs. 78 ± 11 mmHg, P = 0.01). Coronary reactivity to vasodilator-induced hyperaemia as assessed by perfusion PET was not predictive of the presence of coronary calcification after 11 years of follow-up in asymptomatic men with very low likelihood of coronary artery disease.

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