Monthly Archives: March 2011

Effects of fine structure and extended low frequencies in pediatric cochlear implant recipients

Conclusions
The present study clearly shows that children benefit from the fine structure speech coding strategy in combination with an extended frequency spectrum in the low frequencies, as is offered by the Opus speech processors. This should be taken into consideration when fitting pre- and perilingually deaf children implanted almost a decade previously.

from the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology

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Effect of Audiovisual Training on Monaural Spatial Hearing in Horizontal Plane

The article aims to test the hypothesis that audiovisual integration can improve spatial hearing in monaural conditions when interaural difference cues are not available. We trained one group of subjects with an audiovisual task, where a flash was presented in parallel with the sound and another group in an auditory task, where only sound from different spatial locations was presented. To check whether the observed audiovisual effect was similar to feedback, the third group was trained using the visual feedback paradigm. Training sessions were administered once per day, for 5 days. The performance level in each group was compared for auditory only stimulation on the first and the last day of practice. Improvement after audiovisual training was several times higher than after auditory practice. The group trained with visual feedback demonstrated a different effect of training with the improvement smaller than the group with audiovisual training. We conclude that cross-modal facilitation is highly important to improve spatial hearing in monaural conditions and may be applied to the rehabilitation of patients with unilateral deafness and after unilateral cochlear implantation.

from PLoS ONE

Developmental gender differences in the synchronization of auditory event-related oscillations

Conclusions
The results demonstrate that gender differences in auditory ERPs basically originate from a stronger functional synchronization of oscillatory responses generated during stimulus processing.

from Clinical Neurophysiology

Differential effects of perturbation direction and magnitude on the neural processing of voice pitch feedback

Conclusions
Corresponding changes in vocal and neural responses to upward and downward voice pitch feedback perturbations suggest that the N1 and P2 components of ERPs reflect neural concomitants of the vocal responses.

from Clinical Neurophysiology

Transition from the locked in to the completely locked-in state: A physiological analysis

Conclusions
The results presented contradict the commonly accepted assumption that the EAS is the last remaining muscle under voluntary control and demonstrate complete loss of eye movements in CLIS. The eye muscle was shown to be the last muscle group under voluntary control. The findings suggest ALS as a multisystem disorder, even affecting afferent sensory pathways.

from Clinical Neurophysiology

Argentina’s early contributions to the understanding of frontotemporal lobar degeneration

Over a 100 years have passed since Pick’s description of what is now termed frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). FTLD is a topic of intense current research interest yet some relevant contributions by non-English speaking authors have received little attention, which makes the history of FTLD research incomplete. In the hopes of filling some of the gaps in the history of FTLD research, the present article introduces fundamental work carried out in Argentina during the first half of the 20th century by Christfried Jakob and Braulio A. Moyano. Jakob’s neurophilosophy, as well as his empirical descriptions on dementia and theoretic insights into the role of the frontal lobes are highlighted. Moyano’s works on frontotemporal dementia (FTD), specifically concerning language deficits and the concept of focal pathology in Alzheimer disease presenting with progressive aphasia are introduced. These early contributions are examined in the light of the current knowledge on FTLD, highlighting some of the authors’ early original contributions, as well as their misconceptions. These authors remain largely unknown despite the fact that their contributions were fundamental in kindling interest in behavioral neurology in Latin America, which continues to this day.

from Cortex

Detection of pitch violations depends upon the familiarity of intonational contour of sentences

Conclusions
The similarity of results for Italian (congruous) and jabberwocky sentences on one hand, and the difference of results for French sentences, on the other hand, show that familiarity with intonational contour of utterances/speech provided essential cues to perform the task.

from Cortex

West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease presenting with acute flaccid paralysis and bilateral sensorineural hearing loss

No abstract available.

from the Journal of Neurology

Carol Hagland: Getting to Grips with Asperger Syndrome: Understanding Adults on the Autism Spectrum

No abstract available.

from the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Dysphagia in Inflammatory Myopathy: Self-report, Incidence, and Prevalence

This study compared self-reported incidence and prevalence of dysphagia in inflammatory myopathy diseases with instrumental data from videofluoroscopy in a cohort of 18 patients with inflammatory myopathies (inclusion body myositis, polymyositis, and dermatomyositis). We found a high self-report of incidence of dysphagia and demonstrated that symptoms described by the patients follow a characteristic pattern. We conclude that there is a high incidence of dysphagia in all three of the inflammatory myopathies. Questions about swallowing should routinely be included in inflammatory myopathy patient examinations in order to appropriately refer patients for further investigation of their swallowing function and avoid the complications associated with dysphagia.

from Dysphagia

Age differences in FMRI adaptation for sound identity and location.

We explored age differences in auditory perception by measuring fMRI adaptation of brain activity to repetitions of sound identity (what) and location (where), using meaningful environmental sounds. In one condition, both sound identity and location were repeated allowing us to assess non-specific adaptation. In other conditions, only one feature was repeated (identity or location) to assess domain-specific adaptation. Both young and older adults showed comparable non-specific adaptation (identity and location) in bilateral temporal lobes, medial parietal cortex, and subcortical regions. However, older adults showed reduced domain-specific adaptation to location repetitions in a distributed set of regions, including frontal and parietal areas, and to identity repetition in anterior temporal cortex. We also re-analyzed data from a previously published 1-back fMRI study, in which participants responded to infrequent repetition of the identity or location of meaningful sounds. This analysis revealed age differences in domain-specific adaptation in a set of brain regions that overlapped substantially with those identified in the adaptation experiment. This converging evidence of reductions in the degree of auditory fMRI adaptation in older adults suggests that the processing of specific auditory “what” and “where” information is altered with age, which may influence cognitive functions that depend on this processing.

from Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

Functional imaging reveals movement preparatory activity in the vegetative state.

The vegetative state (VS) is characterized by the absence of awareness of self or the environment and preserved autonomic functions. The diagnosis relies critically on the lack of consistent signs of purposeful behavior in response to external stimulation. Yet, given that patients with disorders of consciousness often exhibit fragmented movement patterns, voluntary actions may go unnoticed. Here we designed a simple motor paradigm that could potentially detect signs of purposeful behavior in VS patients with mild to severe brain damage by examining the neural correlates of motor preparation in response to verbal commands. Twenty-four patients who met the diagnostic criteria for VS were recruited for this study. Eleven of these patients showing preserved auditory evoked potentials underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test for basic speech processing. Five of these patients, who showed word related activity, were included in a second fMRI study aimed at detecting functional changes in premotor cortex elicited by specific verbal instructions to move either their left or their right hand. Despite the lack of overt muscle activity, two patients out of five activated the dorsal premotor cortex contralateral to the instructed hand, consistent with movement preparation. Our results may reflect residual voluntary processing in these two patients. We believe that the identification of positive results with fMRI using this simple task, may complement the clinical assessment by helping attain a more precise diagnosis in patients with disorders of consciousness.

from Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

This review on the efficacy of communication-based treatments for children with autism spectrum disorders is limited

No abstract available.

from Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention

Testing Second Language Oral Proficiency in Direct and Semidirect Settings: A Social-Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective

This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify differences in the neural processes underlying direct and semidirect interviews. We examined brain activation patterns while 20 native speakers of Japanese participated in direct and semidirect interviews in both Japanese (first language [L1]) and English (second language [L2]). Significantly greater activation was observed in the regions involved in social communication (the medial prefrontal cortex and the bilateral posterior superior temporal sulci) during the direct interview conducted in the L2 than during the semidirect interview conducted in the L2. In contrast, both the direct and semidirect interviews conducted in the L1 produced similar increases in activation in the same brain areas as those observed during the L2 direct interview. These findings suggest that the direct interview may have elicited L2 communicative ability to a greater degree than the semidirect interview. Furthermore, during the L2 direct interview, activity in the right superior temporal region, which is involved in the processing of paralinguistic features (e.g., prosody and intonation), was positively correlated with increased L2 oral proficiency. Based on our findings, we conclude that the L2 direct interview may elicit more balanced and varied aspects of communicative ability than the L2 semidirect interview.

from Language Learning

The Effect of L2 Proficiency and Study-Abroad Experience on Pragmatic Comprehension

This cross-sectional study examined the effect of general proficiency and study-abroad experience on pragmatic comprehension in second-language English. Participants were 25 native English speakers and 64 Japanese college students of English divided into three groups. Group 1 (n = 22) had lower proficiency and no study-abroad experience. Group 2 (n = 20) and Group 3 (n = 22) had higher proficiency than Group 1 but differed in their study-abroad experience. Group 2 had no study-abroad experience, but Group 3 had a minimum of 1 year of study-abroad experience in an English-speaking country. They completed a pragmatic listening test measuring their ability to comprehend conventional and nonconventional implicatures. Group performance was compared for the comprehension accuracy scores and response times. There was a significant effect of proficiency on response times but no effect of study-abroad experience. Comprehension accuracy scores revealed mixed findings. It was advantageous for students to have study-abroad experience in the comprehension of nonconventional implicatures and routine expressions but not in indirect refusals.

from Language Learning