Clinical Neuroscience

Procedural learning and its consolidation in autism spectrum disorder

VIRÁG Márta, JANACSEK Karolina, BALOGH-SZABÓ Virág, CHEZAN Júlia, NÉMETH Dezsõ

MARCH 30, 2017

Clinical Neuroscience - 2017;70(03-04)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.18071/isz.70.0079

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.

COMMENTS

0 comments

Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

Different work schedules of nurses in Hungary and their effects on health

FUSZ Katalin, TÓTH Ákos, VARGA Bernadett, ROZMANN Nóra, OLÁH András

Introduction - The shift work is burdensome for nurses and may lead to health problems. Aims - The purpose of the study was to examine the nursing shift system types and to analyse the effects on nutritional status, subjective state of physical and mental health in case of different shift schedules. Method - In the first phase of the research 326 nurses working in changing shifts filled out the Bergen Shift Work Questionnaire after adaptation into Hungarian. 518 nurses participated in our second study in hospitals of the South-Danubian Region, in clinics of University of Pécs and at trainings organized by the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Pécs. Results - Based on the psychometric characteristics of Bergen Shift Work Questionnaire technically it is suitable for the examination of sleeping disorders associated with shift work. Sleeping quality is worse in those working in irregular work shifts compared to those working in regular and flexible work schedules (p<0.001). The irregular work schedule is worse than the regular work schedule according to 76.6% of the nurses. According to 63.8% of the respondents the following regular work schedule is the best: after one 12-hour day shift one 12-hour night shift, followed by two days of rest. The average Body Mass Index (BMI) is 26.16 kg/m2. Since the nurses work in shift work 47.7% of them reported weight gain. Among the psychosomatic symptoms the most frequent is back pain (78.4%) related elevated BMI (p=0.013). The nurses’ sense of coherence on average is 61.76 points. In case of full-time employees the sense of coherence is better than those who work in shifts (t=2.933, p=0.004). The nurses working irregular shift work asses their health worst (mean rank: 166.61; p=0.019), and their sense of coherence is lower (p=0.04). Conclusion - The irregularity of work schedules is stressful for nurses. Due to the health of nurses it would be useful to establish the least exhausting work schedules.

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

[Multilocus genetic analysis implicates neurodevelopment and immune system in the etiology of schizophrenia]

PULAY Attila József, KOLLER Júlia, NAGY László, MOLNÁR Mária Judit, RÉTHELYI János

[Background - Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder of poorly understood etiology, characterized by high heritability, multifactorial inheritance and high heterogeneity. Multilocus associaton methods may reduce the genetic heterogeneity and improve the probability of replication between analyses. Objectives - The aims of our study were twofold: 1. To analyse genetic risk factors of schizophrenia by using multilocus genetic tests. 2. To assess the replication probability attributable to the various multilocus tests. Subjects - Discovery set: case-parent trios of unaffected parents and affected probands with a DSM-IV schizophrenia diagnosis (n=16); replication set: schizophrenia cases and unaffected controls (n=5337). Methods - Associations of single nucleotide and indel markers were transferred to gene- and geneset-based associations, furthermore to geneset-enrichment tests and functional annotation cluster analyses in a two-staged designs. Associations with p<0.1 from the discovery set were tested in the replication sample. Familywise p-value correction for multiple comparisons were performed during the replication step. Results - After correction for multiplicity, no significant association or enrichment were detected for gene-based nor canonical pathway analyses, but significant association of the 14q31 cytoband and enrichments of the 5q31 and Xq13 cytobands were found (p_corr: 0.002, 0.006 and 0.048, respectively). Functional annotation clustering yielded statistically significant enrichment scores for clusters of splicing/alternative splicing, neurodevelopment and embryonic development. Improvements in replication probabilty were found with increased test complexity (P_rep: 0, 0.015, 0.21). Conclusions - Our results corroborate the involvement of neurodevelopment, synaptic plasticity and immune mechanisms in the etiology of schizophrenia. Also, our findings indicated improvement of replication probability by using multilocus genetic analyses. ]

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.

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.

All articles in the issue

Related contents

Clinical Neuroscience

Fluoxetine use is associated with improved survival of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia: A retrospective case-control study

NÉMETH Klára Zsófia, SZÛCS Anna , VITRAI József , JUHÁSZ Dóra , NÉMETH Pál János , HOLLÓ András

We aimed to investigate the association between fluoxetine use and the survival of hospitalised coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pneumonia patients. This retrospective case-control study used data extracted from the medical records of adult patients hospitalised with moderate or severe COVID-19 pneumonia at the Uzsoki Teaching Hospital of the Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary between 17 March and 22 April 2021. As a part of standard medical treatment, patients received anti-COVID-19 therapies as favipiravir, remdesivir, baricitinib or a combination of these drugs; and 110 of them received 20 mg fluoxetine capsules once daily as an adjuvant medication. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between fluoxetine use and mortality. For excluding a fluoxetine-selection bias potentially influencing our results, we compared baseline prognostic markers in the two groups treated versus not treated with fluoxetine. Out of the 269 participants, 205 (76.2%) survived and 64 (23.8%) died between days 2 and 28 after hospitalisation. Greater age (OR [95% CI] 1.08 [1.05–1.11], p<0.001), radiographic severity based on chest X-ray (OR [95% CI] 2.03 [1.27–3.25], p=0.003) and higher score of shortened National Early Warning Score (sNEWS) (OR [95% CI] 1.20 [1.01-1.43], p=0.04) were associated with higher mortality. Fluoxetine use was associated with an important (70%) decrease of mortality (OR [95% CI] 0.33 [0.16–0.68], p=0.002) compared to the non-fluoxetine group. Age, gender, LDH, CRP, and D-dimer levels, sNEWS, Chest X-ray score did not show statistical difference between the fluoxetine and non-fluoxetine groups supporting the reliability of our finding. Provisional to confirmation in randomised controlled studies, fluoxetine may be a potent treatment increasing the survival for COVID-19 pneumonia.

Clinical Neuroscience

Cases of inborn errors of metabolism diagnosed in children with autism

CAKAR Emel Nafiye, YILMAZBAS Pınar

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a heterogeneous presentation, the etiology of which is not clearly elucidated. In recent years, comorbidity has become more evident with the increase in the frequency of autism and diagnostic possibilities of inborn errors of metabolism. One hundred and seventy-nine patients with diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder who presented to the Pediatric Metabolism outpatient clinic between 01/September/2018-29/February/2020 constituted the study population. The personal information, routine and specific metabolic tests of the patients were analyzed retrospectively. Out of the 3261 patients who presented to our outpatient clinic, 179 (5.48%) were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and were included in the study. As a result of specific metabolic examinations performed, 6 (3.3%) patients were diagnosed with inborn errors of metabolism. Two of our patients were diagnosed with classical phenylketonuria, two with classical homocystinuria, one with mucopolysaccharidosis type 3D (Sanfilippo syndrome) and one with 3-methylchrotonyl Co-A carboxylase deficiency. Inborn errors of metabolism may rarely present with autism spectrum disorder symptoms. Careful evaluation of the history, physical examination and additional findings in patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder will guide the clinician in the decision-making process and chose the appropriate specific metabolic investigation. An underlying inborn errors of metabolism may be a treatable cause of autism.

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.

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

Cognitive dysfunction (CD) is a common non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Alexithy­mia is a still poorly understood neuropsychiatric feature of PD. Cognitive impairment (especially visuospatial dysfunction and executive dysfunction) and alexithymia share com­mon pathology of neuroanatomical structures. We hypo­thesized that there must be a correlation between CD and alexithymia levels considering this relationship of neuroanatomy. Objective – The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between alexithymia and neurocognitive function in patients with PD. Thirty-five patients with PD were included in this study. The Toronto Alexithymia Scale–20 (TAS-20), Geriatric Depression Inventory (GDI) and a detailed neuropsychological evaluation were performed. Higher TAS-20 scores were negatively correlated with Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) similarities test score (r =-0.71, p value 0.02), clock drawing test (CDT) scores (r=-0.72, p=0.02) and verbal fluency (VF) (r=-0.77, p<0.01). Difficulty identifying feelings subscale score was negatively correlated with CDT scores (r=-0.74, p=0.02), VF scores (r=-0.66, p=0.04), visual memory immediate recall (r=-0.74, p=0.01). VF scores were also correlated with difficulty describing feelings (DDF) scores (r=-0.66, p=0.04). There was a reverse relationship bet­ween WAIS similarities and DDF scores (r=-0.70, p=0.02), and externally oriented-thinking (r=-0.77,p<0.01). Executive function Z score was correlated with the mean TAS-20 score (r=-62, p=0.03) and DDF subscale score (r=-0.70, p=0.01) Alexithymia was found to be associated with poorer performance on visuospatial and executive function test results. We also found that alexithymia was significantly correlated with depressive symptoms. Presence of alexithymia should therefore warn the clinicians for co-existing CD.

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.]