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Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences

Ana Gheorghe, Wansu Qiu, Liisa A M Galea
Adult hippocampal neurogenesis exists in all mammalian species, including humans, and although there has been considerable research investigating the function and regulation of neurogenesis, there remain many open questions surrounding the complexity of this phenomenon. This stems partially from the fact that neurogenesis is a multistage process that involves proliferation, differentiation, migration, survival, and eventual integration of new cells into the existing hippocampal circuitry, each of which can be independently influenced...
November 10, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
J E Hassell, K T Nguyen, C A Gates, C A Lowry
Anxiety disorders and trauma- and stressor-related disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are common and are associated with significant economic and social burdens. Although trauma and stressor exposure are recognized as a risk factors for development of anxiety disorders and trauma or stressor exposure is recognized as essential for diagnosis of PTSD, the mechanisms through which trauma and stressor exposure lead to these disorders are not well characterized. An improved understanding of the mechanisms through which trauma or stressor exposure leads to development and persistence of anxiety disorders or PTSD may result in novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of these disorders...
October 25, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Nathan D Horrell, Peter W Hickmott, Wendy Saltzman
Across the animal kingdom, parents in many species devote extraordinary effort toward caring for offspring, often risking their lives and exhausting limited resources. Understanding how the brain orchestrates parental care, biasing effort over the many competing demands, is an important topic in social neuroscience. In mammals, maternal care is necessary for offspring survival and is largely mediated by changes in hormones and neuropeptides that fluctuate massively during pregnancy, parturition, and lactation (e...
September 12, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Michael F Land
In animals with good eyesight most eye movements consist of saccades, which rapidly shift the direction of the eye's axis, and intervals between the saccades (fixations) in which gaze is kept stationary relative to the surroundings. This stability is needed to prevent motion blur, and it is achieved by reflexes which counter-rotate the eye when the head moves. This saccade-and-fixate strategy arose early in fish evolution, when the original function of saccades was to re-centre the eye as the fish turned. In primates, and other foveate vertebrates, saccades took on the new function of directing the fovea to objects of interest in the surroundings...
August 18, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Thomas Parr, Karl J Friston
In this chapter, we provide an overview of the principles of active inference. We illustrate how different forms of short-term memory are expressed formally (mathematically) through appealing to beliefs about the causes of our sensations and about the actions we pursue. This is used to motivate an approach to active vision that depends upon inferences about the causes of 'what I have seen' and learning about 'what I would see if I were to look there'. The former could manifest as persistent 'delay-period' activity - of the sort associated with working memory, while the latter is better suited to changes in synaptic efficacy - of the sort that underlies short-term learning and adaptation...
August 18, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Mandy Johnstone, Robert F Hillary, David St Clair
The inception of human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSCs) technology has provided an exciting platform upon which the modelling and treatment of human neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders may be expedited. Although the genetic architecture of these disorders is far more complex than previously imagined, many key loci have at last been identified. This has allowed in vivo and in vitro technologies to be refined to model specific high-penetrant genetic loci involved in both disorders. Animal models of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders, show limitations in recapitulating the full complexity and heterogeneity of human neurodevelopmental disease states...
July 21, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Heather C Brenhouse, Andrea Danese, Rodrigo Grassi-Oliveira
Maltreatment and trauma in childhood, termed early-life stress (ELS), has long-term effects on the immune system. ELS impacts immune signaling at the time of exposure but also disrupts the developmental trajectory of certain immunological processes, both in the periphery and in the brain. One consequence of these early alterations is a heightened immune response to stressors later in life. However, chronic and sustained inflammatory response can also lead to excitotoxicity and prevent typical brain development...
July 13, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Alexandra Turano, Brittany F Osborne, Jaclyn M Schwarz
Sex determination occurs at the moment of conception, as a result of XX or XY chromosome pairing. From that point, the body undergoes the process of sexual differentiation, inducing the development of physical characteristics that are easily distinguishable between the sexes and are often reflected in one's physical appearance and gender identity. Although less apparent, the brain also undergoes sexual differentiation. Sex differences in the brain are organized during a critical period of neural development and have an instrumental role in determining the physiology and behavior of an individual throughout the lifespan...
July 3, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Judith Pratt, Jeremy Hall
The search for biomarkers to aid in the diagnosis and prognosis of psychiatric conditions and predict response to treatment is a focus of twenty-first century medicine. The current lack of biomarkers in routine use is attributable in part to the existing way mental health conditions are diagnosed, being based upon descriptions of symptoms rather than causal biological evidence. New ways of conceptualizing mental health disorders together with the enormous advances in genetic, epidemiological, and neuroscience research are informing the brain circuits and physiological mechanisms underpinning behavioural constructs that cut across current diagnostic DSM-5 categories...
July 3, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Anica Klockars, Allen S Levine, Pawel K Olszewski
Hypothalamic integration of gastrointestinal and adipose tissue-derived hormones serves as a key element of neuroendocrine control of food intake. Leptin, adiponectin, oleoylethanolamide, cholecystokinin, and ghrelin, to name a few, are in a constant "cross talk" with the feeding-related brain circuits that encompass hypothalamic populations synthesizing anorexigens (melanocortins, CART, oxytocin) and orexigens (Agouti-related protein, neuropeptide Y, orexins). While this integrated neuroendocrine circuit successfully ensures that enough energy is acquired, it does not seem to be equally efficient in preventing excessive energy intake, especially in the obesogenic environment in which highly caloric and palatable food is constantly available...
June 10, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
David A MacQueen, Jared W Young, Zackary A Cope
Psychiatric illness has been acknowledged for as long as people were able to describe behavioral abnormalities in the general population. In modern times, these descriptions have been codified and continuously updated into manuals by which clinicians can diagnose patients. None of these diagnostic manuals have attempted to tie abnormalities to neural dysfunction however, nor do they necessitate the quantification of cognitive function despite common knowledge of its ties to functional outcome. In fact, in recent years the National Institute of Mental Health released a novel transdiagnostic classification, the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC), which utilizes quantifiable behavioral abnormalities linked to neurophysiological processes...
June 2, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Eduard Maron, Chen-Chia Lan, David Nutt
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the world and also claim the highest health care cost among various neuropsychiatric disorders. Anxiety disorders have a chronic and recurrent course and cause significantly negative impacts on patients' social, personal, and occupational functioning as well as quality of life. Despite their high prevalence rates, anxiety disorders have often been under-diagnosed or misdiagnosed, and consequently under-treated. Even with the correct diagnosis, anxiety disorders are known to be difficult to treat successfully...
May 24, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Judith A Pratt, Brian Morris, Neil Dawson
Schizophrenia is considered to develop as a consequence of genetic and environmental factors impacting on brain neural systems and circuits during vulnerable neurodevelopmental periods, thereby resulting in symptoms in early adulthood. Understanding of the impact of schizophrenia risk factors on brain biology and behaviour can help in identifying biologically relevant pathways that are attractive for informing clinical studies and biomarker development. In this chapter, we emphasize the importance of adopting a reciprocal forward and reverse translation approach that is iteratively updated when additional new information is gained, either preclinically or clinically, for offering the greatest opportunity for discovering panels of biomarkers for the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of schizophrenia...
May 3, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
J T Reddaway, J L Doherty, T Lancaster, D Linden, J T Walters, J Hall
Recent large-scale genomic studies have confirmed that schizophrenia is a polygenic syndrome and have implicated a number of biological pathways in its aetiology. Both common variants individually of small effect and rarer but more penetrant genetic variants have been shown to play a role in the pathogenesis of the disorder. No simple Mendelian forms of the condition have been identified, but progress has been made in stratifying risk on the basis of the polygenic burden of common variants individually of small effect, and the contribution of rarer variants of larger effect such as Copy Number Variants (CNVs)...
April 26, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Marco Battaglia, Waqas Ullah Khan
Separation anxiety applies to multiple forms of distress responses seen in mammals during postnatal development, including separation from a caregiver. Childhood separation anxiety disorder is an important risk factor for developing panic disorder in early adulthood, and both conditions display an increased sensitivity to elevated CO2 concentrations inhaled from the air. By interfacing epidemiological, genetic, and physiological knowledge with preclinical animal research models, it is possible to decipher the mechanisms that are central to separation anxiety and panic disorders while also suggesting possible therapies...
April 26, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Chloe Slaney, Justyna K Hinchcliffe, Emma S J Robinson
Understanding the neurobiology of major depressive disorder (MDD) remains one of the major challenges in neuroscience. The disease is heterogeneous in nature, and patients present with a varied symptom profile. Studies seeking to identify biomarkers for MDD diagnosis and treatment have not yet found any one candidate which achieves sufficient sensitivity and specificity. In this article, we consider whether neuropsychological impairments, specifically affective biases, could provide a behavioural biomarker...
April 26, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
James W Herron, Louis Nerurkar, Jonathan Cavanagh
Exploration of neuroimmune mechanisms is vital to the understanding of the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of mental disorders. Inflammatory and immune mechanisms are increasingly understood to underpin a number of neuropsychiatric disorders, with an ever-expanding evidence base drawn from basic science to large-scale epidemiological data. Unravelling of these mechanisms should lead to biomarker discovery and potential new avenues for therapeutics that modulate immunological mechanisms. Identification of neuroimmune biomarkers is vital to improving diagnosis, stratification and treatment of mental disorders...
April 7, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Derek Sayre Andrews, Andre Marquand, Christine Ecker, Grainne McAlonan
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by deficits in social interaction and communication, as well as repetitive and restrictive behaviours. The etiological and phenotypic complexity of ASD has so far hindered the development of clinically useful biomarkers for the condition. Neuroimaging studies have been valuable in establishing a biological basis for ASD. Increasingly, neuroimaging has been combined with 'machine learning'-based pattern classification methods to make individual diagnostic predictions...
April 7, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Stuart A Hunter, Stephen M Lawrie
The search for diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in schizophrenia care and treatment is the focus of many within the research community. Longitudinal cohorts of patients presenting at elevated genetic and clinical risk have provided a wealth of data that has informed our understanding of the development of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders.Imaging follow-up of high-risk cohorts has demonstrated changes in cerebral grey matter of those that eventually transition to schizophrenia that predate the onset of symptoms and evolve over the course of illness...
April 7, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
David M Lydon-Staley, Danielle S Bassett
Psychiatric disorders are disturbances of cognitive and behavioral processes mediated by the brain. Emerging evidence suggests that accurate biomarkers for psychiatric disorders might benefit from incorporating information regarding multiple brain regions and their interactions with one another, rather than considering local perturbations in brain structure and function alone. Recent advances in the field of applied mathematics generally - and network science specifically - provide a language to capture the complexity of interacting brain regions, and the application of this language to fundamental questions in neuroscience forms the emerging field of network neuroscience...
April 7, 2018: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
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