Blog Archives

Executive functioning and the impact of a hearing loss: Performance-based measures and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF)

The impact of deafness on a child’s rated executive functioning behaviors and performance capabilities on neurological, cognitive, and achievement domains were examined in a sample of 22 deaf students (ages 5 to 18). The parent and teacher ratings on the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) showed significant positive correlations (p < .01) on six of the eight clinical scales. There were significant correlations between the BRIEF reports and the students' scores on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, the (Children's) Color Trails Test, and the Woodcock-Johnson: Writing Fluency subtest. The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test: Total Errors scale and the Writing Fluency subtest accounted for 70% variance of the parent BRIEF Global Executive Composite and 65% of the variance for the teacher report on this same composite scale. Students with genetic deafness were rated with significantly less challenges with executive functioning (p < .05) on BRIEF scales and performed significantly better on select student measures than students with other causes of deafness.

from Child Neuropsychology

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Brief Report: Performance Pattern Differences Between Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder on Measures of Verbal Intelligence

Performance patterns on verbal subtests from the WISC-IV were compared between a clinically-referred sample of children with either autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children with ASD demonstrated a statistically significant stepwise pattern where performance on Similarities was best, followed by Vocabulary, then Comprehension. Although children with ASD and ADHD share multiple behavioral features, this pattern was not observed for those with ADHD. Greater deficits in social reasoning and verbal formulation for children with ASD (compared to ADHD) are hypothesized to account for this observed difference in their performance pattern. Clinical implications, including use of this identified pattern in combination with other symptoms suggestive of ASD in referral decision making are discussed.

from the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Foetal antiepileptic drug exposure and verbal versus non-verbal abilities at three years of age

We previously reported that foetal valproate exposure impairs intelligence quotient. In this follow-up investigation, we examined dose-related effects of foetal antiepileptic drug exposure on verbal and non-verbal cognitive measures. This investigation is an ongoing prospective observational multi-centre study in the USA and UK, which has enrolled pregnant females with epilepsy on monotherapy from 1999 to 2004. The study seeks to determine if differential long-term neurodevelopmental effects exist across four commonly used drugs (carbamazepine, lamotrigine, phenytoin and valproate). This report compares verbal versus non-verbal cognitive outcomes in 216 children who completed testing at the age of three years. Verbal and non-verbal index scores were calculated from the Differential Ability Scales, Preschool Language Scale, Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test and Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration. Verbal abilities were lower than non-verbal in children exposed in utero to each drug. Preconceptional folate use was associated with higher verbal outcomes. Valproate was associated with poorer cognitive outcomes. Performance was negatively associated with valproate dose for both verbal and non-verbal domains and negatively associated with carbamazepine dose for verbal performance. No dose effects were seen for lamotrigine and phenytoin. Since foetal antiepileptic drug exposure is associated with lower verbal than non-verbal abilities, language may be particularly susceptible to foetal exposure. We hypothesize that foetal drug exposure may alter normal cerebral lateralization. Further, a dose-dependent relationship is present for both lower verbal and non-verbal abilities with valproate and for lower verbal abilities with carbamazepine. Preconceptional folate may improve cognitive outcomes. Additional research is needed to confirm these findings, extend the study to other drugs, define the risks associated with drug treatment for seizures in the neonates, and understand the underlying mechanisms.

from Brain

Cognitive phenotypes in Alzheimer’s disease and genetic variants in ACE and IDE

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is generally considered to be a disorder primarily affecting memory. It is increasingly recognized that the clinical presentation or “cognitive phenotype” is variable. The apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOE ε4) allele has been associated with an amnestic presentation, but does not appear to fully explain the high prevalence of family history within this group. We examined polymorphisms in the genes ACE and IDE in relation to cognitive phenotype. In this study 276 participants with AD were categorized into 1 of 4 cognitive phenotype classifications: typical, amnestic, language, and posterior. Family history and possession of the APOE ε4 allele were most prevalent in the amnestic group. Of the 10 genetic variants of IDE, and the 3 genetic variants of ACE studied, only ACErs4291 and ACErs1800764 were nominally associated with the amnestic presentation.

from Neurobiology of Aging

Executive strategic processing during verbal fluency performance in children with phenylketonuria

In the current study, we examined a specific aspect of executive abilities, strategic processing, in 32 children with early-treated phenylketonuria (PKU) and 41 typically-developing control children. To do so, clustering and switching were assessed during semantic (animal, food/drink) and phonemic (S, F) fluency tasks. Specifically, number of words generated, number of subcategory clusters, number of words in subcategory clusters, and number of switches between subcategories were analyzed to provide a refined analysis of strategic processing. Compared with controls, children with PKU generated significantly fewer words and made significantly fewer switches between subcategories in the food/drink trial and the phonemic fluency condition. Number of switches was associated with number of words generated in these tasks. In addition, a significant interaction between age and group in number of switches for the food/drink trial reflected a greater increase in number of switches for the control than PKU group as a function of increasing age. These results suggest impairment in frontally-mediated aspects of strategic processing in children with early-treated PKU and indicate that strategic processing should be evaluated carefully as these children age.

from Child Neuropsychology

Cognitive Profile of Children with Neurofibromatosis and Reading Disabilities

A large percentage of children with Neurofibromatosis Type 1(NF-1) have learning disabilities, often in the realm of reading. Previous studies have indicated that children with NF-1 show a neuropsychological profile similar to idiopathic reading disabilities (IRD); however, studies typically have not subdivided children with NF-1 into those who do and do not have RD (NF+RD and NFnoRD, respectively). The current study examined the cognitive profile of children with NF-1 with and without RD and compared them to children with IRD as well as to typically developing readers (Controls). Findings showed that children with NF+RD performed similarly to children with IRD on phonological, rapid naming, and reading comprehension measures; however, children with NF+RD displayed pronounced visual-spatial deficits as compared to IRD and Control groups. In addition, when comparing the NF-1 groups to each other as well as to the control and IRD groups, the current study reported that there were no oral language differences; lack of findings in the realm of oral language was attributed to the fact that groups were equated on IQ. Overall, findings suggest that a more refined classification of children with NF-1 may be helpful for tailoring academic interventions.

from Child Neuropsychology

Comparison of Short and Long Versions of the Prudhoe Cognitive Function Test and the K-BIT in Participants with Intellectual Impairment

The Prudhoe Cognitive Function Test (PCFT) directly measures the cognitive abilities of people with intellectual impairment. This study examined the relationship between this instrument and the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (K-BIT) and two shorter versions of the same scale. High correlations between the verbal and performance sections of the K-BIT and the Long PCFT were found with correlation coefficients of 0.85 and 0.78, respectively. Extremely high correlations between the Short versions of the PCFT and the Long version were obtained at 0.97 for Form A and 0.98 for Form B, illustrating that both Short forms and the Long form are essentially interchangeable. The PCFT is a reliable and robust schedule in the assessment of cognitive function in this population.

from the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Short and Long Compression Release Times: Speech Understanding, Real-World Preferences, and Association with Cognitive Ability

The relationship between cognitive abilities and performance with short and long release time processing was supported and further elucidated in this research. In addition, release time was seen to be a salient variable in subjective performance with amplification in daily life. Accurate prospective prescription of release time has the potential to make a material contribution to successful amplification provision.

from the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology

Temporal Stability of Music Perception and Appraisal Scores of Adult Cochlear Implant Recipients

These adult CI recipients as a result of mere experience demonstrated fairly consistent music perception and appraisal on measures gathered in two consecutive years. Gains made tend to be modest, and can be associated with characteristics such as use of hearing aids, listening experiences, or bilateral use (in the case of lyrics). These results have implications for counseling of CI recipients with regard to realistic expectations and strategies for enhancing music perception and enjoyment.

from the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology

A comparison of maternal sensitivity and verbal stimulation as unique predictors of infant social–emotional and cognitive development

Although maternal sensitivity has been shown to influence social–emotional development, the role of verbal stimulation on infant developmental outcomes has received less exploration. Recent research has focused on intentional behaviors within the context of a mother–infant interaction as a critical influence and as distinct from sensitivity. In this investigation 6377 mother–infant dyads participated in a teaching task as part of the sample from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort (ECLS-B). Analyses focused in deciphering the role of maternal sensitivity and verbal stimulation as contributors to the infant’s social–emotional (S–E) and cognitive (Cog) development. We further hypothesized that inclusion of infant age as a moderator of maternal behaviors would illuminate any differences between younger and older infants. Results: For the infant’s S–E development, our hypothesis that maternal sensitivity would be a stronger predictor than verbal stimulation was not supported; nor did we find support for our hypothesis that the association would be moderated by age. For Cog development, only verbal stimulation had a direct positive effect on the infant’s cognitive ability; our findings for moderation showed that mothers spoke more to older infants than younger infants. Conclusion: Identification of specific maternal behaviors associated with infant outcomes informs the child development field, and also provides strategies for early intervention to assist mothers with developing or maintaining a consistent relationship that includes sensitivity and verbal stimulation.

from Infant Behavior and Development

A comparison of maternal sensitivity and verbal stimulation as unique predictors of infant social–emotional and cognitive development

Although maternal sensitivity has been shown to influence social–emotional development, the role of verbal stimulation on infant developmental outcomes has received less exploration. Recent research has focused on intentional behaviors within the context of a mother–infant interaction as a critical influence and as distinct from sensitivity. In this investigation 6377 mother–infant dyads participated in a teaching task as part of the sample from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort (ECLS-B). Analyses focused in deciphering the role of maternal sensitivity and verbal stimulation as contributors to the infant’s social–emotional (S–E) and cognitive (Cog) development. We further hypothesized that inclusion of infant age as a moderator of maternal behaviors would illuminate any differences between younger and older infants. Results: For the infant’s S–E development, our hypothesis that maternal sensitivity would be a stronger predictor than verbal stimulation was not supported; nor did we find support for our hypothesis that the association would be moderated by age. For Cog development, only verbal stimulation had a direct positive effect on the infant’s cognitive ability; our findings for moderation showed that mothers spoke more to older infants than younger infants. Conclusion: Identification of specific maternal behaviors associated with infant outcomes informs the child development field, and also provides strategies for early intervention to assist mothers with developing or maintaining a consistent relationship that includes sensitivity and verbal stimulation.

from Infant Behavior and Development

Age-related differences in gap detection: Effects of task difficulty and cognitive ability

Differences in gap detection for younger and older adults have been shown to vary with the complexity of the task or stimuli, but the factors that contribute to these differences remain unknown. To address this question, we examined the extent to which age-related differences in processing speed and workload predicted age-related differences in gap detection. Gap detection thresholds were measured for 10 younger and 11 older adults in two conditions that varied in task complexity but used identical stimuli: (1) gap location fixed at the beginning, middle, or end of a noise burst and (2) gap location varied randomly from trial to trial from the beginning, middle, or end of the noise. We hypothesized that gap location uncertainty would place increased demands on cognitive and attentional resources and result in significantly higher gap detection thresholds for older but not younger adults. Overall, gap detection thresholds were lower for the middle location as compared to beginning and end locations and were lower for the fixed than the random condition. In general, larger age-related differences in gap detection were observed for more challenging conditions. That is, gap detection thresholds for older adults were significantly larger for the random condition than for the fixed condition when the gap was at the beginning and end locations but not the middle. In contrast, gap detection thresholds for younger adults were not significantly different for the random and fixed condition at any location. Subjective ratings of workload indicated that older adults found the gap-detection task more mentally demanding than younger adults. Consistent with these findings, results of the Purdue Pegboard and Connections tests revealed age-related slowing of processing speed. Moreover, age group differences in workload and processing speed predicted gap detection in younger and older adults when gap location varied from trial to trial; these associations were not observed when gap location remained constant across trials. Taken together, these results suggest that age-related differences in complex measures of auditory temporal processing may be explained, in part, by age-related deficits in processing speed and attention.

from Hearing Research

Toward Model-Driven Interventions for African Americans with Cognitive-Communicative Disorders

African American adults have a disproportionately high incidence and prevalence of cognitive-communicative disorders, yet their use of speech-language pathology services does not reflect their need for clinical intervention. The purpose of this article is to issue a call to action aimed at moving toward the development of model-informed interventions for African American adults with cognitive-communicative disorders. We propose the development of model-driven interventions that are designed to reflect the values and preferences of many African American adults in terms of culturally distinctive opportunities for activities and participation within their communities. Examples of culturally distinctive activities and participatory roles are offered as a starting point for establishing social validity and empirical support for underlying assumptions. Constructs from the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health and evidence-based practice are juxtaposed to suggest their mutual relevance to developing clinical services that resonate with the values and preferences of many African Americans.

from Seminars in Speech and Language