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How Can Development and Plasticity Contribute to Understanding Evolution of the Human Brain?

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198894 Year: Pages: 130 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-889-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Humans usually attribute themselves the prerogative of being the pinnacle of evolution. They have large brains with many billion neurons and glial cells, trillions of synapses and besides all, a plastic hardware that may change either subtly or strongly in response to the external environment and internal, mental commands. With this hypercomplex apparatus, they are capable of very sophisticated inward computations and outward behaviors that include self-recognition, metacognition, different forms of language expression and reception, prediction of future events, planning and performing long streams of motor acts, subtle emotional feelings, and many other surprising, almost unbelievable properties. The main challenge for research is: how do we explain this gigantic achievement of evolution? Is it a direct consequence of having acquired a brain larger than our primate ancestors, with huge numbers of computational units? Would it be determined by a particular way these units came to relate to each other, building up logic circuits of powerful capacities? What along development has “made the difference” for the construction of such a complex brain machine? How much of this complexity is innate, how much is sculpted by influence of the external world, by social interaction with our human fellows, and by the history of our own mental trajectory along life? Many specific questions can be asked (albeit not necessarily answered so far) to this purpose: (1) which genomic characteristics make us unique among primates? (2) which of developmental events during and beyond embryogenesis define our brain – prolonged neurogenesis? permanent circuit (re)formation? dynamic synaptogenesis? regressive sculpting of the hardware? all of them? (3) is there anything special about plasticity of the human brain that allows us to build the exquisite individual variability characteristic of our brains? Neuroscience is in need of a synthesis. Perhaps associating concepts derived from developmental neurobiology with evolutionary morphology and physiology, together with those that photograph the human brain in action under influence of the external world, would turn on a light at the end of the tunnel, and we would be able to understand what humans do have that is special – if anything – to explain our success in the Earth.

From Bricks to Brains: The Embodied Cognitive Science of Lego Robots

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ISBN: 9781897425787 9781897425794 Year: Pages: 354 Language: English
Publisher: Athabasca University Press
Added to DOAB on : 2012-03-29 16:37:58
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From Bricks to Brains introduces embodied cognitive science, and illustrates its foundational ideas through the construction and observation of LEGO Mindstorms robots. Discussing the characteristics that distinguish embodied cognitive science from classical cognitive science, From Bricks to Brains places a renewed emphasis on sensing and acting, the importance of embodiment, the exploration of distributed notions of control, and the development of theories by synthesizing simple systems and exploring their behaviour. Numerous examples are used to illustrate a key theme: the importance of an agent’s environment. Even simple agents, such as LEGO robots, are capable of exhibiting complex behaviour when they can sense and affect the world around them.

Keywords

science --- brain --- behaviour

Brain Tumors and the Lynch Syndrome (Book chapter)

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ISBN: 9789533076461 Year: DOI: 10.5772/21293 Language: English
Publisher: IntechOpen Grant: FP7 Ideas: European Research Council - 232635
Subject: Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2019-01-17 11:47:59
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Lynch syndrome (LS) (MIM No. 120435-6), previously known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) (Boland, 2005), is an autosomal dominant disorder caused by&#xD;&#xD;germline mutation in one of the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes. LS is among the most&#xD;&#xD;prevalent cancer syndromes in man and is estimated to account for 1-6% of all colorectal&#xD;&#xD;cancers (Lynch & de la Chapelle, 2003).

(Pushing) the Limits of Neuroplasticity Induced by Adult Language Acquisition

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889456406 Year: Pages: 157 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-640-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology --- Media and communication
Added to DOAB on : 2019-01-23 14:53:43
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Most adults attempt to learn a second or even third language at some point in their life. Since language exposure is one of the most intense cognitive training regimes one can encounter, it is not surprising that previous research has shown that multilingualism can induce profound change in the brain or ‘neuroplasticity’.What remains unclear is the scope of such adult language learning induced neuroplasticity. In other words, much is yet to be investigated about the factors that limit or promote adult language learning induced neuroplasticity.On the one hand, the present research topic discusses research that sheds light on neural mechanisms that limit adult language learning induced neuroplasticity such as: neural mechanisms of first language interference in the acquisition of a second language and reduced opportunity for language induced neuroplasticity due to aging. On the other hand, the Research Topic discusses factors that could enhance non-native language learning (and underlying neuroplastic mechanisms), such as the duration of the training regime, language aptitude, and meta-linguistic awareness.Therefore, the goal of the present Research Topic is to examine both the limits of neuroplasticity in adult language learning and the ways to push beyond those limits. Understanding of such limits and frontiers to push beyond the limits is not only theoretically fundamental but could also have practical implications for enhancing language training programmes.

Keywords

bilingualism --- plasticity --- Language --- Brain

Immunotherapy for Tumor in the Brain: Insights From - and For - Other Tumor Sites

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889455355 Year: Pages: 95 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-535-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Medicine (General) --- Oncology
Added to DOAB on : 2019-01-23 14:53:42
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Tumor immunotherapy has now shown its promise for many, its disappointments and failings for others. Going forward, brain tumor patients can both benefit and contribute.Tumor immunotherapy is steadily progressing. As experience accumulates, it is important to consider its generality. The reviews herein emphasize the brain’s place among other tumor sites. Two major topics are addressed.THE SITE: WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM IMMUNOTHERAPY WHEN THE TARGET IS IN THE BRAIN?Experience with immunotherapy for different targets in the brain, including tumor and also pathogens, is reviewed. Long-standing assumptions are confronted. The potential for beneficial responses is stressed.BRAIN TUMOR IMMUNOTHERAPY: WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED SO FAR?Clinical experience with brain tumor immunotherapy, from a variety of centers, is reviewed. Primary tumors, emphasizing glioblastoma, and brain metastases are each considered.

Towards translating research to clinical practice: Novel Strategies for Discovery and Validation of Biomarkers for Brain Injury

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193912 Year: Pages: 178 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-391-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Medicine (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-03 13:02:24
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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability and one of the greatest unmet needs in medicine and public health. TBI not only has devastating effects on patients and their relatives but results in huge direct and indirect costs to society. Although guidelines for the management of patients have been developed and more than 200 clinical trials have been conducted, they have resulted in few improvements in clinical outcomes and no effective therapies approved for TBI. It is now apparent that the heterogeneity of clinical TBI is underlain by molecular phenotypes more complex and interactive than initially conceived and current approaches to the characterization, management and outcome prediction of TBI are antiquated, unidimensional and inadequate to capture the interindividual pathophysiological heterogeneity. Recent advances in proteomics and biomarker development provide unparalleled opportunities for unraveling substantial injury-specific and patient-specific variability and refining disease characterization. The identification of novel, sensitive, objective tools, referred to as biomarkers, can revolutionize pathophysiological insights, enable targeted therapies and personalized approaches to clinical management. In this Research Topic, we present novel approaches that provide an infrastructure for discovery and validation of new biomarkers of acute brain injury. These techniques include refined mass spectrometry technology and high throughput immunoblot techniques. Output from these approaches can identify potential candidate biomarkers employing systems biology and data mining methods. In this Research Topic, we present novel approaches that provide an infrastructure for discovery and validation of new biomarkers of acute brain injury. These techniques include refined mass spectrometry technology and high throughput immunoblot techniques. Output from these approaches can identify potential candidate biomarkers employing systems biology and data mining methods. Finally, suggestions are provided for the way forward, with an emphasis on need for a multidimensional approach that integrate a panel of pathobiologically diverse biomarkers with clinical variables and imaging-based assessments to improve diagnosis and classification of TBI and to develop best clinical practice guidelines.

Effects of Game and Game-like Training on Neurocognitive Plasticity

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198405 Year: Pages: 103 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-840-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Cognitive training is not always effective. This is also the case for the form of cognitive training that this Research Topic focuses on: prolonged performance on game-like cognitive tasks. The ultimate goal of this cognitive training is to improve ecologically-valid target functions. For example, cognitive training should help children with ADHD to stay focused at school, or help older adults to manage the complexity of daily life. However, so far this goal has proven too ambitious. Transfer from trained to non-trained tasks is not even guaranteed in a laboratory, so there is a strong need for understanding how, when and for how long cognitive training has effect. Which cognitive functions are amenable to game training, for whom, and how? Are there mediating factors for success, such as motivation, attention, or age? Are the improvements real, or can they be attributed to nonspecific factors, such as outcome expectancy or demand characteristics? Are there better strategies to improve cognitive functions through game training? This Research Topic of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience charts current insights in the determinants of success of game training.

What we learn and when we learn it: sensitive periods in development

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193271 Year: Pages: 166 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-327-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-03-10 08:14:32
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The impact of training or experience is not the same at all points in development. Children who receive music lessons, or learn a second language before age 7-8 are more proficient as adults. Early exposure to drugs or trauma makes people more likely to become addicted or depressed later life. Rat pups exposed to specific frequencies from 9-13 days post-partum show expanded cortical representations of these frequencies. Young birds must hear and copy their native song within 1-2 months of birth or they may never learn it at all. These are examples of sensitive periods: developmental windows where maturation and specific experience interact to produce differential long-term effects on the brain and behavior. While still controversial, evidence for the existence of sensitive periods has grown, as has our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of brain plasticity. Behavioral evidence from studies of language, psychopathology or vision in humans has been complemented by evidence elucidating molecular, gene and hormonal mechanisms in animals. It has been proposed that sensitive periods can be both opened and closed by specific experience, and that there are multiple, overlapping sensitive periods that occur through-out development as functions come on line. It is also likely that experience-dependent behavioral or brain plasticity accrued during one sensitive period can serve as a scaffold on which later experience and plasticity can build. Based on current knowledge, there are a number of broad questions and challenges to be addressed in this domain, these include: generating new information about the neurobiological mediators of structural and functional changes; proposing models of brain development that will better predict when sensitive periods should occur and what functions are implicated; investigation of the interaction between experience during a sensitive period and pre-existing individual differences; and the relationship between experience during a sensitive period and on-going experience. The goal of this Research Topic is to bring together scientists in different fields whose work addresses these issues, including animal and human developmental neuroscience, language and cognitive development, education, developmental psychopathology and sensory neuroscience.

Textbook of Cortical Brain Stimulation

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ISBN: 9783110412628 9783110441208 Year: Pages: 294 DOI: 10.2478/9783110412628 Language: English
Publisher: De Gruyter
Subject: Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2015-04-13 11:05:20
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Developed over the past 25 years, Cortical Brain Stimulation has emerged as a brand new, cutting-edge option for the treatment of intractable neurological and psychiatric disorders. Devoid of the mortality and disabling morbidity that may accompany deep brain stimulation, stimulating the cortex with a minimally invasive surgical approach had initially proved its worth for the treatment of Central and other Neuropathic Pain Syndromes and later for Parkinson Disease, Dystonia, Stroke and Coma rehabilitation, Epilepsy, Depression and Tinnitus. Written by many of the pioneers in the field, this authoritative treatise is a comprehensive presentation - from surgical details, to clinical results and mechanisms of action. It also provides the busy clinician with comparisons with non-invasive cortical stimulation techniques, such as TMS and tDCS. No other book deals with this form of brain stimulation. The clinician will harness the power of this formidable new therapeutic option, which is being further refined with the advent of closed-loop stimulation.Dr Canavero deciphered the genesis of the central pain syndromes, introduced extradural cortical stimulation for Parkinson Disease and the vegetative state and co-introduced extradural cortical stimulation for stroke rehabilitation. He made worldwide news in 2008 for partially restoring consciousness in two vegetative patients, in 2013 for proposing the HEAVEN/GEMINI protocol for human head transplantation and in 2014 for pushing brain stimulation in the setting of criminal psychopathy. His books include: Central Pain Syndrome, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2011 (2nd ed.), Textbook of therapeutic cortical stimulation, Nova Sci, 2009 and two books in Italian on human sexual behavior.

Biology of Brain Disorders

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889453801 Year: Pages: 586 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-380-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology --- Physiology --- Medicine (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2018-11-16 17:17:57
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Brain disorders, including neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions, represent a challenge for public health systems and society at large. The limited knowledge of their biology hampers the development of diagnostic tools and effective therapeutics. A clear understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the onset and progression of brain disorders is required in order to identify new avenues for therapeutic intervention.Overlapping genetic risk factors across different brain disorders suggest common linkages and pathophysiological mechanisms that underlie brain disorders. Methodological and technological advances are leading to new insights that go beyond traditional hypotheses. Taking account of underlying molecular, cellular and systems biology underlying brain function will play an important role in the classification of brain disorders in future.In this Research Topic, the latest advances in our understanding of biological mechanisms across different brain disorders are presented. The areas covered include developments in neurogenetics, epigenetics, plasticity, glial cell biology, neuroimmune interactions and new technologies associated with the study of brain function. Examples of how understanding of biological mechanisms are translating into research strategies that aim to advance diagnoses and treatment of brain disorders are discussed.

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