Year of publication
- 2012 (6) (remove)
- Can task-switching training enhance executive control functioning in children with attention deficit/-hyperactivity disorder? (2012)
- The key cognitive impairments of children with attention deficit/-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) include executive control functions such as inhibitory control, task-switching, and working memory (WM). In this training study we examined whether task-switching training leads to improvements in these functions. Twenty children with combined type ADHD and stable methylphenidate medication performed a single-task and a task-switching training in a crossover training design. The children were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group started with the single-task training and then performed the task-switching training and the other group vice versa. The effectiveness of the task-switching training was measured as performance improvements (relative to the single-task training) on a structurally similar but new switching task and on other executive control tasks measuring inhibitory control and verbal WM as well as on fluid intelligence (reasoning). The children in both groups showed improvements in task-switching, that is, a reduction of switching costs, but not in performing the single-tasks across four training sessions. Moreover, the task-switching training lead to selective enhancements in task-switching performance, that is, the reduction of task-switching costs was found to be larger after task-switching than after single-task training. Similar selective improvements were observed for inhibitory control and verbal WM, but not for reasoning. Results of this study suggest that task-switching training is an effective cognitive intervention that helps to enhance executive control functioning in children with ADHD.
- Monitoring cortical excitability during repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in children with ADHD: a single-blind, sham-controlled TMS-EEG study (2012)
- Background: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) allows non-invasive stimulation of the human brain. However, no suitable marker has yet been established to monitor the immediate rTMS effects on cortical areas in children. Objective: TMS-evoked EEG potentials (TEPs) could present a well-suited marker for real-time monitoring. Monitoring is particularly important in children where only few data about rTMS effects and safety are currently available. Methods: In a single-blind sham-controlled study, twenty-five school-aged children with ADHD received subthreshold 1 Hz-rTMS to the primary motor cortex. The TMS-evoked N100 was measured by 64-channel-EEG pre, during and post rTMS, and compared to sham stimulation as an intraindividual control condition. Results: TMS-evoked N100 amplitude decreased during 1 Hz-rTMS and, at the group level, reached a stable plateau after approximately 500 pulses. N100 amplitude to supra-threshold single pulses post rTMS confirmed the amplitude reduction in comparison to the pre-rTMS level while sham stimulation had no influence. EEG source analysis indicated that the TMS-evoked N100 change reflected rTMS effects in the stimulated motor cortex. Amplitude changes in TMS-evoked N100 and MEPs (pre versus post 1 Hz-rTMS) correlated significantly, but this correlation was also found for pre versus post sham stimulation. Conclusion: The TMS-evoked N100 represents a promising candidate marker to monitor rTMS effects on cortical excitability in children with ADHD. TMS-evoked N100 can be employed to monitor real-time effects of TMS for subthreshold intensities. Though TMS-evoked N100 was a more sensitive parameter for rTMS-specific changes than MEPs in our sample, further studies are necessary to demonstrate whether clinical rTMS effects can be predicted from rTMS-induced changes in TMS-evoked N100 amplitude and to clarify the relationship between rTMS-induced changes in TMS-evoked N100 and MEP amplitudes. The TMS-evoked N100 amplitude reduction after 1 Hz-rTMS could either reflect a globally decreased cortical response to the TMS pulse or a specific decrease in inhibition.
- Dopamine Inactivation Efficacy Related to Functional DAT1 and COMT Variants Influences Motor Response Evaluation (2012)
- Background: Dopamine plays an important role in orienting, response anticipation and movement evaluation. Thus, we examined the influence of functional variants related to dopamine inactivation in the dopamine transporter (DAT1) and catechol-O-methyltransferase genes (COMT) on the time-course of motor processing in a contingent negative variation (CNV) task. Methods: 64-channel EEG recordings were obtained from 195 healthy adolescents of a community-based sample during a continuous performance task (A-X version). Early and late CNV as well as motor postimperative negative variation were assessed. Adolescents were genotyped for the COMT Val158Met and two DAT1 polymorphisms (variable number tandem repeats in the 3′-untranslated region and in intron 8). Results: The results revealed a significant interaction between COMT and DAT1, indicating that COMT exerted stronger effects on lateralized motor post-processing (centro-parietal motor postimperative negative variation) in homozygous carriers of a DAT1 haplotype increasing DAT1 expression. Source analysis showed that the time interval 500–1000 ms after the motor response was specifically affected in contrast to preceding movement anticipation and programming stages, which were not altered. Conclusions: Motor slow negative waves allow the genomic imaging of dopamine inactivation effects on cortical motor post-processing during response evaluation. This is the first report to point towards epistatic effects in the motor system during response evaluation, i.e. during the post-processing of an already executed movement rather than during movement programming.
- Genetic and functional analyses of SHANK2 mutations suggest a multiple hit model of autism spectrum disorders (2012)
- Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a heterogeneous group of neurodevelopmental disorders with a complex inheritance pattern. While many rare variants in synaptic proteins have been identified in patients with ASD, little is known about their effects at the synapse and their interactions with other genetic variations. Here, following the discovery of two de novo SHANK2 deletions by the Autism Genome Project, we identified a novel 421 kb de novo SHANK2 deletion in a patient with autism. We then sequenced SHANK2 in 455 patients with ASD and 431 controls and integrated these results with those reported by Berkel et al. 2010 (n = 396 patients and n = 659 controls). We observed a significant enrichment of variants affecting conserved amino acids in 29 of 851 (3.4%) patients and in 16 of 1,090 (1.5%) controls (P = 0.004, OR = 2.37, 95% CI = 1.23-4.70). In neuronal cell cultures, the variants identified in patients were associated with a reduced synaptic density at dendrites compared to the variants only detected in controls (P = 0.0013). Interestingly, the three patients with de novo SHANK2 deletions also carried inherited CNVs at 15q11-q13 previously associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. In two cases, the nicotinic receptor CHRNA7 was duplicated and in one case the synaptic translation repressor CYFIP1 was deleted. These results strengthen the role of synaptic gene dysfunction in ASD but also highlight the presence of putative modifier genes, which is in keeping with the "multiple hit model" for ASD. A better knowledge of these genetic interactions will be necessary to understand the complex inheritance pattern of ASD.
- Time-Resolved Influences of Functional DAT1 and COMT Variants on Visual Perception and Post-Processing (2012)
- Background: Dopamine plays an important role in orienting and the regulation of selective attention to relevant stimulus characteristics. Thus, we examined the influences of functional variants related to dopamine inactivation in the dopamine transporter (DAT1) and catechol-O-methyltransferase genes (COMT) on the time-course of visual processing in a contingent negative variation (CNV) task. Methods: 64-channel EEG recordings were obtained from 195 healthy adolescents of a community-based sample during a continuous performance task (A-X version). Early and late CNV as well as preceding visual evoked potential components were assessed. Results: Significant additive main effects of DAT1 and COMT on the occipito-temporal early CNV were observed. In addition, there was a trend towards an interaction between the two polymorphisms. Source analysis showed early CNV generators in the ventral visual stream and in frontal regions. There was a strong negative correlation between occipito-temporal visual post-processing and the frontal early CNV component. The early CNV time interval 500–1000 ms after the visual cue was specifically affected while the preceding visual perception stages were not influenced. Conclusions: Late visual potentials allow the genomic imaging of dopamine inactivation effects on visual post-processing. The same specific time-interval has been found to be affected by DAT1 and COMT during motor post-processing but not motor preparation. We propose the hypothesis that similar dopaminergic mechanisms modulate working memory encoding in both the visual and motor and perhaps other systems.
- Individual common variants exert weak effects on the risk for autism spectrum disorders (2012)
- While it is apparent that rare variation can play an important role in the genetic architecture of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the contribution of common variation to the risk of developing ASD is less clear. To produce a more comprehensive picture, we report Stage 2 of the Autism Genome Project genome-wide association study, adding 1301 ASD families and bringing the total to 2705 families analysed (Stages 1 and 2). In addition to evaluating the association of individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we also sought evidence that common variants, en masse, might affect the risk. Despite genotyping over a million SNPs covering the genome, no single SNP shows significant association with ASD or selected phenotypes at a genome-wide level. The SNP that achieves the smallest P-value from secondary analyses is rs1718101. It falls in CNTNAP2, a gene previously implicated in susceptibility for ASD. This SNP also shows modest association with age of word/phrase acquisition in ASD subjects, of interest because features of language development are also associated with other variation in CNTNAP2. In contrast, allele scores derived from the transmission of common alleles to Stage 1 cases significantly predict case status in the independent Stage 2 sample. Despite being significant, the variance explained by these allele scores was small (Vm< 1%). Based on results from individual SNPs and their en masse effect on risk, as inferred from the allele score results, it is reasonable to conclude that common variants affect the risk for ASD but their individual effects are modest.