Topic Review
Perceptual Organization
Gestalt theory has provided perceptual science with a conceptual framework relating to brain mechanisms that determine the way we see the visual world. This is referred to as "Perceptual Organization" and has inspired researchers in Psychology, Neuroscience and Computational Design ever since. The major Gestalt principles, such as the principle of Prägnanz, and more importantly the Gestalt laws of perceptual organization, have been critically important to our understanding of visual information processing, how the brain detects order in what we see, and derives likely perceptual representations from statistically significant structural regularities. The perceptual integration of contrast information across co-linear space for the organization of objects in the 2D image plane into figure and ground convey the most elementary basis to our understanding of the visual world. Gestalt theory continues to generate powerful concepts and insights for perceptual science even today, where it is to be placed in the context of image-base decision making by human minds and machines.
  • 8335
  • 22 Mar 2021
Topic Review
Neuroscience of Flow States
Flow states have been shown to help people reach peak performance, yet this elusive state is not easily attained. This entry describes the current state of literature on flow by addressing the environmental influences as well as the cognitive and neurocognitive elements that underlie the experience. In particular, the research focuses on the transition of cognitive control from an explicit to an implicit process. This is further expanded upon to look at the current, yet related neurocognitive research of high performance associated with the implicit process of automaticity. Finally, this entry focuses on transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) as a novel method to facilitate the induction of flow states. 
  • 616
  • 26 Oct 2020
Topic Review
Psychoneuroendocrineimmunology (PNEI)
Psychoneuroendocrineimmunology (PNEI) brings together knowledge acquired since the 1930s from endocrinology, immunology, neuroscience, and psychology. With PNEI, a model of research and interpretation of health and disease is emerging, which sees the human body as a structured and interconnected unit, where the psychological and biological systems are mutually coordinated. In the PNEI view, many factors could influence mental health, with the endocrine system involved in mediating the effects of environmental stress on mental health and inflammation in the onset and course of psychiatric disorders as a result of individual and collective conditions and behaviors.  PNEI paradigm configures the possibilities of going beyond the historical and philosophical contrast between mind and body, as well as the scientific antithesis of the twentieth century, between medicine and psychology, overcoming their respective reductionism, which assigns the body to the first and the psyche to the second.   
  • 584
  • 11 Aug 2021
Topic Review
The Aducanumab Controversy
Finding treatments and cures for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has been extremely challenging and progress has been slow with many disappointments. Progress achieved using animals in research has rarely been replicated in humans. An example of the animal-to-human disconnect is the poor performance of amyloid-clearing antibodies in human trials. On June 7, aducanumab, an anti-amyloid monoclonal antibody, was granted accelerated approval by the FDA despite lack of support from its own Advisory Committee. In my opinion as an Alzheimer's researcher and internal medicine physician, this ill-considered decision is a mistake that will cause major setbacks in AD drug discovery, will harm the AD community and will lead to distrust of future treatments that actually work. This article reflects the opinion of this author alone. 
  • 541
  • 11 Oct 2021
Topic Review
AMP-activated Protein Kinase
We live and to do so we must breathe and eat, so are we a combination of what we eat and breathe? Here we will consider this question, and the role in this respect of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Emerging evidence suggests that AMPK facilitates central and peripheral reflexes that coordinate breathing and oxygen supply, and contributes to central regulation of feeding and food choice. We propose, therefore, that oxygen supply to the body is aligned with not only the quantity we eat, but also nutrient-based diet selection, and that the cell-specific expression pattern of AMPK subunit isoforms is critical to appropriate system alignment in this respect. If this is the case, then aberrant cell-specific changes in the expression of AMPK subunit isoforms could give rise, in part, to known associations between a wide variety of conditions associated with metabolic disorder.
  • 293
  • 10 May 2021
Topic Review
Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) Sleep
NREM is important part of the human sleep, and non-pharmacological interventions (acoustic, visual and other stimulations during sleep) are elaborated to modulate it. 
  • 274
  • 20 May 2020
Topic Review
“Omic” Studies and Cadasil
CADASIL (Cerebral Autosomal Dominant Arteriopathy with Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy; OMIM#125310) is a systemic arteriopathy of non-atherosclerotic and non-amyloid cause. It is a rare disease affecting fewer than 2/1000 individuals, caused by mutations in the NOTCH3 gene. It has autosomal dominant inheritance, although it can also occur due to de novo mutations. 
  • 270
  • 26 Jul 2021
Topic Review
Myotonia Congenita
Myotonia congenita (MC) is a rare disorder characterized by stiffness and weakness of the limb and trunk muscles. Mutations in the SCN4A gene encoding the alpha-subunit of the voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.4 have been reported to be responsible for sodium channel myotonia (SCM). The Nav1.4 channel is expressed in skeletal muscles, and its related channelopathies affect skeletal muscle excitability, which can manifest as SCM, paramyotonia, and periodic paralysis. In this study, the missense mutation p.V445M was identified in two individual families with MC. To determine the functional consequences of having a mutated Nav1.4 channel, whole-cell patch-clamp recording of transfected Chinese hamster ovary cells was performed. Evaluation of the transient Na+ current found that a hyperpolarizing shift occurs at both the activation and inactivation curves with an increase of the window currents in the mutant channels. The Nav1.4 channel’s co-expression with the Navβ4 peptide can generate resurgent Na+ currents at repolarization following a depolarization. The magnitude of the resurgent currents is higher in the mutant than in the wild-type (WT) channel. Although the decay kinetics are comparable between the mutant and WT channels, the time to the peak of resurgent Na+ currents in the mutant channel is significantly protracted compared with that in the WT channel. These findings suggest that the p.V445M mutation in the Nav1.4 channel results in an increase of both sustained and resurgent Na+ currents, which may contribute to hyperexcitability with repetitive firing and is likely to facilitate recurrent myotonia in SCM patients.
  • 268
  • 29 Oct 2020
Topic Review
People with Aphasia
People with Aphasia (PWA) are individuals who experience difficulties in one or more aspects of communication, such as the ability to speak, understand, read and write, due to acquired brain damage (e.g.stroke, dementia, brain tumour, traumatic brain injury).  
  • 232
  • 27 Oct 2020
Topic Review
Blindness and Spatial Asymmetries
The human cerebral cortex is asymmetrically organized with hemispheric lateralization pervading nearly all neural systems of the brain. Whether the lack of normal visual development affects hemispheric specialization subserving the deployment of visuospatial attention asymmetries is controversial. In principle, indeed, the lack of early visual experience may affect the lateralization of spatial functions, and the blind may rely on a different sensory input compared to the sighted. In this entry, we thus present a current state-of-the-art synthesis of empirical evidence concerning the effects of visual deprivation on the lateralization of various spatial processes (i.e., including line bisection, mirror symmetry, and localization tasks). Overall, the evidence reviewed indicates that spatial processes are supported by a right hemispheric network in the blind, hence, analogously to the sighted. Such a right-hemisphere dominance, however, seems more accentuated in the blind as compared to the sighted as indexed by the greater leftward bias shown in different spatial tasks. This is possibly the result of the more pronounced involvement of the right parietal cortex during spatial tasks in blind individuals compared to the sighted, as well as of the additional recruitment of the right occipital cortex, which would reflect the cross-modal plastic phenomena that largely characterize the blind brain.
  • 226
  • 27 Oct 2020
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