In neurorehabilitation, longitudinal assessment of arm movement related brain function in patients with motor disability is challenging due to variability in task performance. MRI-compatible robots monitor and control task performance, yielding more reliable evaluation of brain function over time. The main goals of the present study were first to define the brain network activated while performing active and passive elbow movements with an MRI-compatible arm robot (MaRIA) in healthy subjects, and second to test the reproducibility of this activation over time. For the fMRI analysis two models were compared. In model 1 movement onset and duration were included, whereas in model 2 force and range of motion were added to the analysis. Reliability of brain activation was tested with several statistical approaches applied on individual and group activation maps and on summary statistics. The activated network included mainly the primary motor cortex, primary and secondary somatosensory cortex, superior and inferior parietal cortex, medial and lateral premotor regions, and subcortical structures. Reliability analyses revealed robust activation for active movements with both fMRI models and all the statistical methods used. Imposed passive movements also elicited mainly robust brain activation for individual and group activation maps, and reliability was improved by including additional force and range of motion using model 2. These findings demonstrate that the use of robotic devices, such as MaRIA, can be useful to reliably assess arm movement related brain activation in longitudinal studies and may contribute in studies evaluating therapies and brain plasticity following injury in the nervous system.
The present study aimed to measure the prevalence of adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a large, representative sample of young Swiss men and to assess factors associated with this disorder.
The way in which humans represent their own bodies is critical in guiding their interactions with the environment. To achieve successful body-space interactions, the body representation is strictly connected with that of the space immediately surrounding it through efficient visuo-tactile crossmodal integration. Such a body-space integrated representation is not fixed, but can be dynamically modulated by the use of external tools. Our study aims to explore the effect of using a complex tool, namely a functional prosthesis, on crossmodal visuo-tactile spatial interactions in healthy participants. By using the crossmodal visuo-tactile congruency paradigm, we found that prolonged training with a mechanical hand capable of distal hand movements and providing sensory feedback induces a pattern of interference, which is not observed after a brief training, between visual stimuli close to the prosthesis and touches on the body. These results suggest that after extensive, but not short, training the functional prosthesis acquires a visuo-tactile crossmodal representation akin to real limbs. This finding adds to previous evidence for the embodiment of functional prostheses in amputees, and shows that their use may also improve the crossmodal combination of somatosensory feedback delivered by the prosthesis with visual stimuli in the space around it, thus effectively augmenting the patients visuomotor abilities.
The combination of first-person observation and motor imagery, i.e. first-person observation of limbs with online motor imagination, is commonly used in interactive 3D computer gaming and in some movie scenes. These scenarios are designed to induce a cognitive process in which a subject imagines himself/herself acting as the agent in the displayed movement situation. Despite the ubiquity of this type of interaction and its therapeutic potential, its relationship to passive observation and imitation during observation has not been directly studied using an interactive paradigm. In the present study we show activation resulting from observation, coupled with online imagination and with online imitation of a goal-directed lower limb movement using functional MRI (fMRI) in a mixed block/event-related design. Healthy volunteers viewed a video (first-person perspective) of a foot kicking a ball. They were instructed to observe-only the action (O), observe and simultaneously imagine performing the action (O-MI), or imitate the action (O-IMIT). We found that when O-MI was compared to O, activation was enhanced in the ventralpremotor cortex bilaterally, left inferior parietal lobule and left insula. The O-MI and O-IMIT conditions shared many activation foci in motor relevant areas as confirmed by conjunction analysis. These results show that (i) combining observation with motor imagery (O-MI) enhances activation compared to observation-only (O) in the relevant foot motor network and in regions responsible for attention, for control of goal-directed movements and for the awareness of causing an action, and (ii) it is possible to extensively activate the motor execution network using O-MI, even in the absence of overt movement. Our results may have implications for the development of novel virtual reality interactions for neurorehabilitation interventions and other applications involving training of motor tasks.
Longitudinal studies to evaluate the effect of rehabilitative therapies require an objective, reproducible and quantitative means for testing function in vivo. An fMRI assessment tool for upper extremity related brain activation using an MRI-compatible manipulandum was developed and tested for use in neurorehabilitation research.
Three mathematical models, two logistic models (previously published in previous works) and one mechanistic, developed in this work and based on Michaelis-Menten kinetics, were compared to select the most adequate model in describing the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibitory activity of bioactive peptide mixtures obtained from cheese whey protein. The significance of both the model and its parameters as well as the value of the regression coefficient was used as criteria to select the most adequate model for obtaining the IC(50) values corresponding to each bioactive peptides mixture. The best results were obtained with the Michaelis-Menten-based model because it provided the best fits and in addition the values for its parameters were always significant. As parameters of this model have a physical meaning, it could be used for inhibition-testing experiments in the development of novel bioactive peptides. The results obtained indicated that the peptide mixture derived from the neutrase hydrolysis exhibited strong ACE inhibition activity. The main active peptides were short, with molecular masses below 1 kDa (IC(50) = 40.37 ± 2.66 ?g/mL) and represent 38% of the initial protein content in the hydrolysate.
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