Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique increasingly used to modulate neural activity in the living brain. In order to establish the neurophysiological, cognitive or clinical effects of tDCS,tDCS most studies compare the effects of active tDCS to those observed with a sham tDCS intervention. In most cases, sham tDCS consists in delivering an active stimulation for a few seconds to mimic the sensations observed with active tDCS and keep participants blind to the intervention. However, to date, sham-controlled tDCS studies yield inconsistent results, which might arise in part from sham inconsistencies. Indeed, a multiplicity of sham stimulation protocols is being used in the tDCS research field and might have different biological effects beyond the intended transient sensations. Here, we seek to enlighten the scientific community to this possible confounding factor in order to increase reproducibility of neurophysiological, cognitive and clinical tDCS studies.
Posts Tagged neurophysiological
[ARTICLE] Methods for an Investigation of Neurophysiological and Kinematic Predictors of Response to Upper Extremity Repetitive Task Practice in Chronic Stroke – Full Text PDF
[Abstract] Sham tDCS: A hidden source of variability? Reflections for further blinded, controlled trials
[Abstract+References] Neuroplastic Changes Induced by Cognitive Rehabilitation in Traumatic Brain Injury: A Review
Background. Cognitive deficits are among the most disabling consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI), leading to long-term outcomes and interfering with the individual’s recovery. One of the most effective ways to reduce the impact of cognitive disturbance in everyday life is cognitive rehabilitation, which is based on the principles of brain neuroplasticity and restoration. Although there are many studies in the literature focusing on the effectiveness of cognitive interventions in reducing cognitive deficits following TBI, only a few of them focus on neural modifications induced by cognitive treatment. The use of neuroimaging or neurophysiological measures to evaluate brain changes induced by cognitive rehabilitation may have relevant clinical implications, since they could add individualized elements to cognitive assessment. Nevertheless, there are no review studies in the literature investigating neuroplastic changes induced by cognitive training in TBI individuals.
Objective. Due to lack of data, the goal of this article is to review what is currently known on the cerebral modifications following rehabilitation programs in chronic TBI.
Methods. Studies investigating both the functional and structural neural modifications induced by cognitive training in TBI subjects were identified from the results of database searches. Forty-five published articles were initially selected. Of these, 34 were excluded because they did not meet the inclusion criteria.
Results. Eleven studies were found that focused solely on the functional and neurophysiological changes induced by cognitive rehabilitation.
Conclusions. Outcomes showed that cerebral activation may be significantly modified by cognitive rehabilitation, in spite of the severity of the injury.
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[Abstract] An attempt to explain the Vojta therapy mechanism of action using the surface polyelectromyography in healthy subjects: A pilot study
Rehabilitation according to Vojta is a neurophysiological method used to obtain reflex responses in muscles following stimulation of particular activation zones.
This study aims to objectively evaluate the muscular responses following stimulation according to Vojta’s method. The possible routes of spinal transmission responsible for the phenomenon of muscle activation in upper and lower extremities are considered.
Polyelectromyographic (pEMG) recordings in the upper and lower extremities in healthy volunteers (N = 25; aged 24 ± 1 year) were performed to find out the possible routes of spinal transmission, responsible for muscle activation. The left acromion and right femoral epicondyle were stimulated by a Vojta therapist; pEMG recordings were made including the bilateral deltoid and rectus femoris muscles.
Results and Discussion
Following acromion stimulation, muscle activation was mostly expressed in the contralateral rectus femoris, rather than the contralateral deltoid and the ipsilateral rectus femoris muscles. After stimulation of the lower femoral epicondyle, the following order was observed: contra lateral deltoid, ipsilateral deltoid and the contra lateral rectus femoris muscle.
One of the candidates responsible for the main crossed neural transmission involved in the Vojta therapy mechanism would be the long propriospinal tract neurons.
Summary: Researchers document not only the behavioral and cognitive effects of a single exercise session, but also the neurochemical and neurophysiological changes that occur.
Source: IOS Press.
Even a single bout of physical activity can have significant positive effects on people’s mood and cognitive functions, according to a new study inBrain Plasticity.
In a new review of the effects of acute exercise published in Brain Plasticity, researchers not only summarize the behavioral and cognitive effects of a single bout of exercise, but also summarize data from a large number of neurophysiological and neurochemical studies in both humans and animals showing the wide range of brain changes that result from a single session of physical exercise (i.e., acute exercise).
There is currently enormous interest in the beneficial effects of aerobic exercise on a wide range of brain functions including mood, memory, attention, motor/reaction times, and even creativity. Understanding the immediate effects of a single bout of exercise is the first step to understanding how the positive effects of exercise may accrue over time to cause long-lasting changes in select brain circuits.
According to principal investigator Wendy A. Suzuki, PhD, Professor of Neural Science and Psychology in the Center for Neural Science, New York University, “Exercise interventions are currently being used to help address everything from cognitive impairments in normal aging, minimal cognitive impairment (MCI), and Alzheimer’s disease to motor deficits in Parkinson’s disease and mood states in depression. Our review highlights the neural mechanisms and pathways by which exercise might produce these clinically relevant effects.”
The investigators summarized a large and growing body of research examining the changes that occur at the cognitive/behavioral, neurophysiological, and neurochemical levels after a single bout of physical exercise in both humans and animals. They reviewed brain imaging and electrophysiological studies, including electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). They then turned to neurochemical studies, including lactate, glutamate and glutamine metabolism, effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis through cortisol secretion, and neurotrophins such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Neurotransmitter studies of monoamines (dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine and norepinephrine), acetylcholine, glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) were reviewed, as well as neuromodulators such as endogenous opioids and endocannabinoids.
Co-author Julia C. Basso, PhD, post-doctoral research fellow, Center for Neural Science at New York University, commented, “The studies presented in this review clearly demonstrate that acute exercise has profound effects on brain chemistry and physiology, which has important implications for cognitive enhancements in healthy populations and symptom remediation in clinical populations.”
Source: Diana Murray – IOS Press
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Henriette van Praag and MarathonFoto.
Original Research: Full open access research for “The Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways: A Review” by Basso, Julia C. and Suzuki, Wendy A. in Brain Plasticity. Published online March 28 2017 doi:10.3233/BPL-160040
Neurophysiological Basis of Movement, Second Edition, has been thoroughly updated and expanded, making it more comprehensive and accessible to students. With eight new chapters and 130 pages of fresh material, this second edition covers a wide range of topics, including movement disorders and current theories of motor control and coordination. By emphasizing the neurophysiological mechanisms relevant to the processes of generating voluntary movements, the text targets advanced undergraduates or beginning graduate students who want to better understand how the brain generates control signals and how the peripheral apparatus executes them.
The new chapters in Neurophysiological Basis of Movement, Second Edition, focus on motor control and motor synergies, prehension, changes in movement with aging, typical and atypical development, neuromuscular peripheral disorders, and disorders of the spinal cord, basal ganglia, cerebellum, and cortex. The text is designed so that instructors can cover all chapters or select the topics most relevant to their specific courses. In addition, this edition of Neurophysiological Basis of Movementoffers these features:
-A new reference section with more than 700 references, providing supplemental resources that encourage students to read and understand research literature on the neurophysiology of movements
-A more reader-friendly presentation of material with an added color, improved illustrations, and introductions to the chapters that provide better transitions
-A new PowerPoint presentation package that includes 8 to 15 slides of art and text for every chapter, helping instructors prepare for lectures and allowing students to better understand the material
Author Mark Latash presents the material using six levels, or worlds, of analysis of the neurophysiology of movements. These worlds are cells, connections, structures, behaviors (control and coordination), evolving and changing behaviors, and motor disorders. The first three levels are the basis for the analysis of a variety of actions, such as standing, locomotion, eye movements, and reaching. Further, changes in movement with fatigue, development, aging, disorder, and rehabilitation are discussed.
The text also presents six labs to help students perform experiments to address typical “template” research problems, and one-minute drills and self-test questions encourage students to think independently and to test their knowledge as they read. The answers to the self-test questions require students to think critically and explain why they selected a particular answer, as the problems have several answers with varying degrees of correctness.
Neurophysiological Basis of Movement, Second Edition, promotes independent thinking and enhances knowledge of basic facts about the design of cells, muscles, neuronal structures, and the whole body for better understanding of typical and atypical movement production related to the nervous system and the functioning brain.
[DISSERTATION] Cerebral activation during visual stimulation of mirrored hand movements in normal subjects and stroke patients – Full Text PDF
Stroke is the second leading cause for death worldwide (after ischemic heart disease) as per WHO and one of the leading causes for disability at advanced age (Feigin et al., 2014). Stroke is not limited to industrial countries how recent analysis demonstrated, but is a global problem, indeed stroke mortality and stroke burden measured by the disability-adjusted life years (DALY) is highest in low-income countries (Johnston, Mendis, & Mathers, 2009). If the observed trend from 1990 to 2010 in incidence, mortality, and DALYs continues, by 2030 there will be almost “12 million stroke deaths, 70 million stroke survivors, and more than 200 million DALYs” burden worldwide (Feigin et al., 2014). About one third of all stroke patients suffer from severe hemiparesis (disability to move one body side) of the upper limb (Jorgensen et al., 1995). In one study about first-ever unilateral stroke patients in the area of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) with following severe hemiparesis, even after intensive rehabilitation procedure 62% remained without any function and only about 38% regained some dexterity of the affected arm (complete recovery: 11.6%) (Kwakkel, Kollen, van der Grond, & Prevo, 2003). With regard to the individual suffering as well as to the raising costs that are caused by these low recovery rates, it is socially relevant to promote research in the field of neurological rehabilitation of severe hemiparesis and to search for alternatives to the conventional rehabilitation procedures. The thesis at hand aims for a better understanding of the underlying neurophysiological mechanisms of one alternative therapy, the so-called mirror therapy (MT). Although a lot of research on MT has been done in the past years, many questions about the underlying cerebral mechanism and about potential determinants of the efficacy of MT remain open.
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