Clinical Neuroscience

Procedural learning and its consolidation in autism spectrum disorder


MARCH 30, 2017

Clinical Neuroscience - 2017;70(03-04)


Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show altered learning and memory. A number of recent studies have debated whether procedural learning in ASD is intact or not. Our aim was to further assess the question of whether the implicit, non-conscious form of procedural learning in ASD children is intact or not, furthermore, how shifts towards a more explicit, attention-demanding task setting can alter this performance. We administered a modified version of the Alternating Serial Reaction Time (ASRT) Task to children with ASD and IQ- and age-matched typically developing (TD) children. The task consisted of alternating blocks of cued (explicit) and uncued (implicit probe) blocks, and was repeated after a 16-hour delay. We found that ASD and TD children showed similar sequence-specific learning in cued explicit blocks, however, on the uncued probe blocks ASD children performed better compared to TD children. After the 16-hour delay both groups showed retention of the previously acquired knowledge. Finally, when we investigated the performance in different parts of the blocks, we found that ASD children did not show an effect of fatigue by the second part of the blocks. Our results suggest that children with ASD have increased implicit procedural learning skills compared to TD children. Differences in cued (explicit) and uncued (implicit) settings indicate that children with ASD are not affected by the lack of explicit instructions in probe blocks, suggesting a resistance for changes in task settings. These findings can help in a more thorough planning of cognitive therapeutic setups for ASD children.



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Clinical Neuroscience

[Relationship between sport and traumatic brain injury - risks and sequelaes]

TAMÁS Viktória, KOVÁCS Noémi, BÜKI András

[Traumatic brain injury represents major public health problem worldwide. A typical form of brain injuries is the injury suffered during sports, which according to severity ranges from mild injuries to fatal damages. The significance of the sport related minor head injuries derives form the high incidence, the excessive involvement of the younger age groups, and their potential repetitive nature. The repeated mild head injuries may accumulate, leading to complex structural, neurochemical, neuroendocrine, and psychological alterations, which in long term may result in changes of the patients quality of life and in significant deterioration of participation in the everyday activity. Actually we neither have enough knowledge about the ne-gative consequences, nor the way of prevention, or protection against the harmful long term results. With this study summary we would like to draw attention to the potential hazards emerging from sport injuries, moreover we would like to emphasize the importance of study participation and follow up of articles in this field.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[A családorvosok alvási apnoéval kapcsolatos ismeretei és attitűdjei. Megvalósul-e az OSAS szűrése a járművezetők egészségi alkalmasságának vizsgálata során?]


[Objective - Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) without treatment can cause serious cardiovascular, cardiorespiratory, neurological and other complications. Family physicians have an important role in recognizing the disease. The aim of the study is to assess the knowledge and attitude of family physicians related to sleep apnea. Whether OSAS screening is realized during the general medical checkup for drivers. Methods - In the cross-sectional study we used a validated OSAKA questionnaire in mandatory continuous medical education courses, supplemented with four additional questions. Results - 116 family physicians and 103 family medicine residents filled out the questionnaire. Hungarian family physicians, especially male doctors lack the adequate knowledge of sleep apnea. The average score of female physicians was significantly higher than that of males (13.4±1.8 vs. 11.7±2.6, p=0.005). The more sprecializations the doctor has, the higher the score. Zero or one special examination holders reached 12.5±2.3 points, two special examination holders 12.7±2.2 points. three or four special examination holders reached 14.0±2.1 (p=0.05). Residents’ average score was 12.1±2.4 points, which is higher than that of family doctors (p=0.012). Female residents also had higher average points than male residents (12.6±2.0 vs. 11.3±2.7; p=0.008). The size, location and type of the practice or the doctor’s age did not show any statistically significant correlation with the number of points achieved. According to our regression analysis, corrected to variables in the model, we found correlation between gender and medical knowledge, but there was no correlation between age, number of specialities, body mass index and the theoretical knowledge of the doctors. In terms of attitude female GPs had higher average scores than male GPs (3.5±0.6 vs. 2.9±0.6, p<0.001). Despite the modification of the 13/1992 regulation only 39% of the practices carried out regularly the required OSAS screening as part of the medical examination for a driving licence. Conclusions - Despite the high prevalence and clinical importance of OSAS, GPs often do not recognize sleep apnea and they have difficulty in treating their patients for this problem.]

Clinical Neuroscience

Electrophysiological alterations and general toxic signs obtained by subacute administration of titanium dioxide nanoparticles to the airways of rats

HORVÁTH Tamara, PAPP András, KOVÁCS Dávid, KÁLOMISTA Ildikó, KOZMA Gábor, VEZÉR Tünde

Introduction and aims - Particles of titanium dioxide (TiO2) with typical size below 100 nm have gained a broad range of application by now, partly involving direct human exposure. Their known properties - high specific surface, mobility within the organism, induction of oxidative stress, release of inflammation mediators etc. - raise the possibility of nervous system damage but the available data regarding this are scarce and contradictory. Based on that, and the experiences with other metal oxide nanoparticles, the aim of the present study was to investigate certain general end nervous system toxic effects of TiO2 nanoparticles applied in the airways of rats. Materials and methods - Young adult Wistar rats (5 groups of 10 rats each) received, daily for 28 days, intratracheal instillations of titanium dioxide nanoparticles of ca. 10 nm diameter, suspended in 1% hydroxyethyl cellulose dissolved in phosphate-buffered saline, in the doses of 1, 3, and 10 mg/kg b. w. Vehicle controls received the suspension medium and there was also an untreated control group. During treatment, the rats’ body weight was measured, and their clinical state observed, daily. After the 28 days, spontaneous cortical activity, sensory evoked potentials and tail nerve action potential was recorded in urethane anesthesia, then the rats were dissected and tissue samples were taken for Ti level determination and biochemical measurements of some oxidative stress indicators. Results - The two higher doses reduced the rate of body weight gain significantly. Sensory evoked potentials and tail nerve action potential were significantly slowed, but the change in the spectrum of spontaneous cortical activity was not significant. Correlation of moderate strength was found between certain evoked potential parameters and brain Ti level and oxidative stress data. Conclusion - Our results underlined the possible neurotoxicity of TiO2 NPs but also the need for further investigations.

Clinical Neuroscience

Pazopanib induced unilateral posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome

ARSLAN Beyza Muhsine, BAJRAMI Arsida, DEMIR Elif, CABALAR Murat, YAYLA Vildan

Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) is a reversible clinical and neuroradiological syndrome which may appear at any age and characterized by headache, altered consciousness, seizures, and cortical blindness. The exact incidence is still unknown. The most commonly identified causes include hypertensive encephalopathy, eclampsia, and some cytotoxic drugs. Vasogenic edema related subcortical white matter lesions, hyperintense on T2A and FLAIR sequences, in a relatively symmetrical pattern especially in the occipital and parietal lobes can be detected on cranial MR imaging. These findings tend to resolve partially or completely with early diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Here in, we present a rare case of unilateral PRES developed following the treatment with pazopanib, a testicular tumor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitory agent.

Clinical Neuroscience

Surveillance and management of patients with tuberous sclerosis complex

FOGARASI András, GYORSOK Zsuzsanna, BODÓ Tímea

Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal dominant disease due to the uncontrolled differentiation, proliferation, and migration of cells in several organs. Clinical expression is highly variable, from mild skin findings and asymptomatic brain lesions to seizures, mental retardation, autism, and potentially fatal kidney, cardiac, or pulmonary disease. Aim of this paper is to summarize the diagnostic criteria, surveillance and therapeutic issues of this multisystemic disorder emphasizing the most important neurological consequences. Presenting the state-of-the-art management recommendations and comparing them with the local protocols, we hope that our review might help in the proper assessment of one of the most important single gene disorder.

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Clinical Neuroscience

Alexithymia is associated with cognitive impairment in patients with Parkinson’s disease

SENGUL Yildizhan, KOCAK Müge, CORAKCI Zeynep, SENGUL Serdar Hakan, USTUN Ismet

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Clinical Neuroscience

Late simultaneous carcinomatous meningitis, temporal bone infiltrating macro-metastasis and disseminated multi-organ micro-metastases presenting with mono-symptomatic vertigo – a clinico-pathological case reporT

JARABIN András János, KLIVÉNYI Péter, TISZLAVICZ László, MOLNÁR Anna Fiona, GION Katalin, FÖLDESI Imre, KISS Geza Jozsef, ROVÓ László, BELLA Zsolt

Although vertigo is one of the most common complaints, intracranial malignant tumors rarely cause sudden asymmetry between the tone of the vestibular peripheries masquerading as a peripheral-like disorder. Here we report a case of simultaneous temporal bone infiltrating macro-metastasis and disseminated multi-organ micro-metastases presenting as acute unilateral vestibular syndrome, due to the reawakening of a primary gastric signet ring cell carcinoma. Purpose – Our objective was to identify those pathophysiological steps that may explain the complex process of tumor reawakening, dissemination. The possible causes of vestibular asymmetry were also traced. A 56-year-old male patient’s interdisciplinary medical data had been retrospectively analyzed. Original clinical and pathological results have been collected and thoroughly reevaluated, then new histological staining and immunohistochemistry methods have been added to the diagnostic pool. During the autopsy the cerebrum and cerebellum was edematous. The apex of the left petrous bone was infiltrated and destructed by a tumor mass of 2x2 cm in size. Histological reexamination of the original gastric resection specimen slides revealed focal submucosal tumorous infiltration with a vascular invasion. By immunohistochemistry mainly single infiltrating tumor cells were observed with Cytokeratin 7 and Vimentin positivity and partial loss of E-cadherin staining. The subsequent histological examination of necropsy tissue specimens confirmed the disseminated, multi-organ microscopic tumorous invasion. Discussion – It has been recently reported that the expression of Vimentin and the loss of E-cadherin is significantly associated with advanced stage, lymph node metastasis, vascular and neural invasion and undifferentiated type with p<0.05 significance. As our patient was middle aged and had no immune-deficiency, the promoting factor of the reawakening of the primary GC malignant disease after a 9-year-long period of dormancy remained undiscovered. The organ-specific tropism explained by the “seed and soil” theory was unexpected, due to rare occurrence of gastric cancer to metastasize in the meninges given that only a minority of these cells would be capable of crossing the blood brain barrier. Patients with past malignancies and new onset of neurological symptoms should alert the physician to central nervous system involvement, and the appropriate, targeted diagnostic and therapeutic work-up should be established immediately. Targeted staining with specific antibodies is recommended. Recent studies on cell lines indicate that metformin strongly inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition of gastric cancer cells. Therefore, further studies need to be performed on cases positive for epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

Hypertension and nephrology

[About the care of patients with hyperuricaemia and gout]

[This consensus document is intended to provide guidance for the effective and efficient treatment of asymptomatic individuals with high uric acid levels and gout patients.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[What happens to vertiginous population after emission from the Emergency Department?]

MAIHOUB Stefani, MOLNÁR András, CSIKÓS András, KANIZSAI Péter, TAMÁS László, SZIRMAI Ágnes

[Background – Dizziness is one of the most frequent complaints when a patient is searching for medical care and resolution. This can be a problematic presentation in the emergency department, both from a diagnostic and a management standpoint. Purpose – The aim of our study is to clarify what happens to patients after leaving the emergency department. Methods – 879 patients were examined at the Semmel­weis University Emergency Department with vertigo and dizziness. We sent a questionnaire to these patients and we had 308 completed papers back (110 male, 198 female patients, mean age 61.8 ± 12.31 SD), which we further analyzed. Results – Based on the emergency department diagnosis we had the following results: central vestibular lesion (n = 71), dizziness or giddiness (n = 64) and BPPV (n = 51) were among the most frequent diagnosis. Clarification of the final post-examination diagnosis took several days (28.8%), and weeks (24.2%). It was also noticed that 24.02% of this population never received a proper diagnosis. Among the population only 80 patients (25.8%) got proper diagnosis of their complaints, which was supported by qualitative statistical analysis (Cohen Kappa test) result (κ = 0.560). Discussion – The correlation between our emergency department diagnosis and final diagnosis given to patients is low, a phenomenon that is also observable in other countries. Therefore, patient follow-up is an important issue, including the importance of neurotology and possibly neurological examination. Conclusion – Emergency diagnosis of vertigo is a great challenge, but despite of difficulties the targeted and quick case history and exact examination can evaluate the central or peripheral cause of the balance disorder. Therefore, to prevent declination of the quality of life the importance of further investigation is high.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The role of sleep in the relational memory processes ]

CSÁBI Eszter, ZÁMBÓ Ágnes, PROKECZ Lídia

[A growing body of evidence suggests that sleep plays an essential role in the consolidation of different memory systems, but less is known about the beneficial effect of sleep on relational memory processes and the recognition of emotional facial expressions, however, it is a fundamental cognitive skill in human everyday life. Thus, the study aims to investigate the effect of timing of learning and the role of sleep in relational memory processes. 84 young adults (average age: 22.36 (SD: 3.22), 21 male/63 female) participated in our study, divided into two groups: evening group and morning group indicating the time of learning. We used the face-name task to measure relational memory and facial expression recognition. There were two sessions for both groups: the immediate testing phase and the delayed retesting phase, separated by 24 hours. 84 young adults (average age: 22.36 (SD: 3.22), 21 male/63 female) participated in our study, divided into two groups: evening group and morning group indicating the time of learning. We used the face-name task to measure relational memory and facial expression recognition. There were two sessions for both groups: the immediate testing phase and the delayed retesting phase, separated by 24 hours. Our results suggest that the timing of learning and sleep plays an important role in the stabilizing process of memory representation to resist against forgetting.]