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Author: Maria Sekutowicz (8)


Dec
2017

The premature aging hypothesis of alcohol dependence proposes that the neurobiological and behavioural deficits in individuals with alcohol dependence are analogous to those of chronological aging. However, to date no systematic neurobiological evidence for this hypothesis has been provided. To test the hypothesis, 119 alcohol-dependent subjects and 97 age- and gender-matched healthy control subjects underwent structural MRI.

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Nov
2016

Our brain continuously evaluates different perceptual interpretations of the available sensory data in order to enable flexible updates of conscious experience. Individuals' perceptual flexibility can be assessed using ambiguous stimuli that cause our perception to continuously switch between two mutually exclusive interpretations. Neural processes underlying perceptual switching are thought to involve the visual cortex, but also non-sensory brain circuits that have been implicated in cognitive processes, such as frontal and parietal regions.

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Dec
1969

Schizophrenia is associated with a number of cognitive impairments such as deficient sensory encoding or working memory processing. However, it is largely unclear how dysfunctions on these various levels of cortical processing contribute to alterations of stimulus-specific information representation. To test this, we used a well-established sequential frequency comparison paradigm, in which sensory encoding of vibrotactile stimuli can be assessed via frequency-specific steady-state evoked potentials (SSEPs) over primary somatosensory cortex (S1).

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Dec
1969

Unfounded convictions involving beliefs in the paranormal, grandiosity ideas or suspicious thoughts are endorsed at varying degrees among the general population. Here, we investigated the neurobiopsychological basis of the observed inter-individual variability in the propensity toward unfounded beliefs. One hundred two healthy individuals were genotyped for four polymorphisms in the COMT gene (rs6269, rs4633, rs4818, and rs4680, also known as val (158) met) that define common functional haplotypes with substantial impact on synaptic dopamine degradation, completed a questionnaire measuring unfounded beliefs, and took part in a behavioral experiment assessing perceptual inference.

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Nov
2013

Bistable perception is the spontaneous and automatic alternation between two different perceptual states that occurs when sensory information is ambiguous. Perceptual alternation rates are robust within individuals but vary substantially between individuals. Slowed perceptual switching has been consistently reported in patients with bipolar disorder (BPD) and has been suggested as a trait marker for this disease.

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Aug
2013

Delusions are unfounded yet tenacious beliefs and a symptom of psychotic disorder. Varying degrees of delusional ideation are also found in the healthy population. Here, we empirically validated a neurocognitive model that explains both the formation and the persistence of delusional beliefs in terms of altered perceptual inference.

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May
2013

Neuronal loss is the ultimate outcome in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases and central nerve system disorders. Understanding the sequelae of events that leads to cell death would provide insight into neuroprotective approaches. We imaged neurons in the living brain of a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease that overexpresses mutant human amyloid precursor protein and presenilin 1 and followed the death of individual neurons in real time.

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