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Author: Urs Braun (9)


Dec
2017

To explore the domain-general risk factor of early-life social stress in mental illness, rearing rodents in persistent postweaning social isolation has been established as a widely used animal model with translational relevance for neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Although changes in resting-state brain connectivity are a transdiagnostic key finding in neurodevelopmental diseases, a characterization of imaging correlates elicited by early-life social stress is lacking.
We performed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging of postweaning social isolation rats (N = 23) 9 weeks after isolation.

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Jan
2018

The development of advanced neuroimaging techniques and their deployment in large cohorts has enabled an assessment of functional and structural brain network architecture at an unprecedented level of detail. Across many temporal and spatial scales, network neuroscience has emerged as a central focus of intellectual efforts, seeking meaningful descriptions of brain networks and explanatory sets of network features that underlie circuit function in health and dysfunction in disease. However, the tools of network science commonly deployed provide insight into brain function at a fundamentally descriptive level, often failing to identify (patho-)physiological mechanisms that link system-level phenomena to the multiple hierarchies of brain function.

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Jan
2018

The serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region 5-HTTLPR is a key genetic regulator of 5-HTT expression in the human brain where the short allele S has been implicated in emotion dysregulation. However, the neural mechanism underlying the association between this variant and emotion processing is still unclear. Earlier studies suggested an effect of 5-HTTLPR on amygdala activation during emotional face processing.

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Nov
2016

Schizophrenia is increasingly recognized as a disorder of distributed neural dynamics, but the molecular and genetic contributions are poorly understood. Recent work highlights a role for altered N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor signaling and related impairments in the excitation-inhibitory balance and synchrony of large-scale neural networks. Here, we combined a pharmacological intervention with novel techniques from dynamic network neuroscience applied to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify alterations in the dynamic reconfiguration of brain networks related to schizophrenia genetic risk and NMDA receptor hypofunction.

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Sep
2015

The brain is an inherently dynamic system, and executive cognition requires dynamically reconfiguring, highly evolving networks of brain regions that interact in complex and transient communication patterns. However, a precise characterization of these reconfiguration processes during cognitive function in humans remains elusive. Here, we use a series of techniques developed in the field of "dynamic network neuroscience" to investigate the dynamics of functional brain networks in 344 healthy subjects during a working-memory challenge (the "n-back" task).

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Apr
2013

Neural plasticity is crucial for understanding the experience-dependent reorganization of brain regulatory circuits and the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. An important circuit-level feature derived from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is prefrontal-hippocampal seeded connectivity during working memory, the best established intermediate connectivity phenotype of schizophrenia risk to date. The phenotype is a promising marker for the effects of plasticity-enhancing interventions, such as high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), and can be studied in healthy volunteers in the absence of illness-related confounds, but the relationship to brain plasticity is unexplored.

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Dec
1969

Metacognition, i.e. critically reflecting on and monitoring one's own reasoning, has been linked behaviorally to the emergence of delusions and is a focus of cognitive therapy in patients with schizophrenia.

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Jan
2014

Neuronal plasticity is crucial for flexible interaction with a changing environment and its disruption is thought to contribute to psychiatric diseases like schizophrenia. High-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a noninvasive tool to increase local excitability of neurons and induce short-time functional reorganization of cortical networks. While this has been shown for the motor system, little is known about the short-term plasticity of networks for executive cognition in humans.

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Jan
2012

Characterizing the brain connectome using neuroimaging data and measures derived from graph theory emerged as a new approach that has been applied to brain maturation, cognitive function and neuropsychiatric disorders. For a broad application of this method especially for clinical populations and longitudinal studies, the reliability of this approach and its robustness to confounding factors need to be explored. Here we investigated test-retest reliability of graph metrics of functional networks derived from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) recorded in 33 healthy subjects during rest.

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