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Mirror neurons

Hung-Ya Tu, Chih-Chun Hsu, Yu-Jiun Chen, Ching-Kang Chen
The mammalian retina is a layered tissue composed of multiple neuronal types. To understand how visual signals are processed within its intricate synaptic network, electrophysiological recordings are frequently used to study connections among individual neurons. We have optimized a flat-mount preparation for patch clamp recording of genetically marked neurons in both GCL (ganglion cell layer) and INL (inner nuclear layer) of mouse retinas. Recording INL neurons in flat-mounts is favored over slices because both vertical and lateral connections are preserved in the former configuration, allowing retinal circuits with large lateral components to be studied...
October 13, 2016: Journal of Visualized Experiments: JoVE
Dahan Anat, Reiner Miriam
The extensive use of gestures for human-human communication, independently of culture and language, suggests an underlying universal neural mechanism for gesture recognition. The mirror neuron system (MNS) is known to respond to observed human actions, and overlaps with self-action. The minimal cues needed for activation of the MNS for gesture recognition, facial expressions and bodily dynamics, is not yet defined. Using LED-point representations of gestures, we compared two types of brain activations: 1) in response to human recognizable vs non-recognizable motion and 2) in response to human vs non-human motion...
October 15, 2016: International Journal of Psychophysiology
Dan Denis, Richard Rowe, A Mark Williams, Elizabeth Milne
The human mirror neuron system is believed to play an important role in facilitating the ability of athletes to anticipate the actions of an opponent. This system is often assessed with EEG by measuring event-related changes in mu (8-13Hz) sensorimotor oscillations. However, traditional channel-based analyses of this measure are flawed in that due to volume conduction effects mu and non-mu alpha activity can become mixed. This flaw means it is unclear the extent to which mu activity indexes the mirror system, as opposed to other processes such as attentional demand...
October 13, 2016: NeuroImage
Julio Plata-Bello, Cristián Modroño, Silvia Acosta-López, Yaiza Pérez-Martín, Francisco Marcano, Víctor García-Marín, José Luis González-Mora
Nearly 20 % of patients who suffer a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) still display cognitive impairment even a year after follow-up. Visuospatial and visuoperceptive domains may be impaired in this cognitive impairment and may not have been fully studied in these patients. Furthermore, these cognitively impaired domains have been associated with activity in the so-called mirror neuron system (MNS). The aim of the study is to analyze the pattern of brain activity with an MNS task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study in SAH patients...
October 12, 2016: Brain Imaging and Behavior
Jess E Reynolds, Sophie Kerrigan, Catherine Elliott, Brendan S Lay, Melissa K Licari
It has been hypothesized that deficits in imitation, linked to abnormal functioning of the mirror neuron system (MNS), may contribute to the motor impairments associated with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). The authors aimed to examine imitation of complex novel postures and sequences of gestures in children with and without probable DCD (pDCD), using the postural praxis and sequencing praxis subtests of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (Ayres, 1989 ). Participants were 29 boys with pDCD between 6...
October 11, 2016: Journal of Motor Behavior
Noga S Ensenberg, Anat Perry, Hillel Aviezer
Although we encounter numerous expressive faces on a daily basis, those that are not aimed at us will often be disregarded. Facial expressions aimed at our direction appear far more relevant and evoke an engaging affective experience, while the exact same expressions aimed away from us may not. While the importance of expression directionality is intuitive and commonplace, the neural mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are largely unknown. In the current study we measured EEG mu rhythm suppression, an established measure of mirror neuron activity, while participants viewed short video clips of dynamic facial expressions...
October 8, 2016: Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience
Tal Shafir
Emotion regulation is a person's active attempt to manage their emotional state by enhancing or decreasing specific feelings. Peripheral theories of emotion argue that the origins of emotions stem from bodily responses. This notion has been reformulated in neurophysiological terms by Damasio, who claimed that emotions are generated by conveying the current state of the body to the brain through interoceptive and proprioceptive afferent input. The resulting brain activation patterns represent unconscious emotions and correlate with conscious feelings...
2016: Frontiers in Psychology
N K Singhal, H Huang, S Li, R Clements, J Gadd, A Daniels, E E Kooijman, P Bannerman, T Burns, F Guo, D Pleasure, E Freeman, L Shriver, J McDonough
The neuronal mitochondrial metabolite N-acetylaspartate (NAA) is decreased in the multiple sclerosis (MS) brain. NAA is synthesized in neurons by the enzyme N-acetyltransferase-8-like (NAT8L) and broken down in oligodendrocytes by aspartoacylase (ASPA) into acetate and aspartate. We have hypothesized that NAA links the metabolism of axons with oligodendrocytes to support myelination. To test this hypothesis, we performed lipidomic analyses using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) to identify changes in myelin lipid composition in postmortem MS brains and in NAT8L knockout (NAT8L(-/-)) mice which do not synthesize NAA...
October 5, 2016: Experimental Brain Research. Experimentelle Hirnforschung. Expérimentation Cérébrale
Simon Früh, Jennifer Romanos, Patrizia Panzanelli, Daniela Bürgisser, Shiva K Tyagarajan, Kevin P Campbell, Mirko Santello, Jean-Marc Fritschy
: Distinct types of GABAergic interneurons target different subcellular domains of pyramidal cells, thereby shaping pyramidal cell activity patterns. Whether the presynaptic heterogeneity of GABAergic innervation is mirrored by specific postsynaptic factors is largely unexplored. Here we show that dystroglycan, a protein responsible for the majority of congenital muscular dystrophies when dysfunctional, has a function at postsynaptic sites restricted to a subset of GABAergic interneurons...
October 5, 2016: Journal of Neuroscience: the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Vincent Taschereau-Dumouchel, Sébastien Hétu, Pierre-Emmanuel Michon, Etienne Vachon-Presseau, Elsa Massicotte, Louis De Beaumont, Shirley Fecteau, Judes Poirier, Catherine Mercier, Yvon C Chagnon, Philip L Jackson
Motor representations in the human mirror neuron system are tuned to respond to specific observed actions. This ability is widely believed to be influenced by genetic factors, but no study has reported a genetic variant affecting this system so far. One possibility is that genetic variants might interact with visuomotor associative learning to configure the system to respond to novel observed actions. In this perspective, we conducted a candidate gene study on the Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism, a genetic variant linked to motor learning in regions of the mirror neuron system, and tested the effect of this polymorphism on motor facilitation and visuomotor associative learning...
October 5, 2016: Scientific Reports
Agatha A van der Klaauw, Julia M Keogh, Elana Henning, Cheryl Stephenson, Sarah Kelway, Victoria M Trowse, Naresh Subramanian, Stephen O'Rahilly, Paul C Fletcher, I Sadaf Farooqi
Melanocortin-4-receptor (MC4R)-expressing neurons modulate food intake and preference in rodents but their role in human food preference is unknown. Here we show that compared with lean and weight-matched controls, MC4R deficient individuals exhibited a markedly increased preference for high fat, but a significantly reduced preference for high sucrose food. These effects mirror those in Mc4r null rodents and provide evidence for a central molecular circuit influencing human macronutrient preference.
October 4, 2016: Nature Communications
Shota Uono, Wataru Sato, Takanori Kochiyama, Reiko Sawada, Yasutaka Kubota, Sayaka Yoshimura, Motomi Toichi
The recognition of facial expressions of emotion is adaptive for human social interaction, but the ability to do this and the manner in which it is achieved differs among individuals. Previous functional neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that some brain regions, such as the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), are active during the response to emotional facial expressions in healthy participants, and lesion studies have demonstrated that damage to these structures impairs the recognition of facial expressions...
September 26, 2016: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Geetika Kharkwal, Daniela Radl, Robert Lewis, Emiliana Borrelli
The psychomotor effects of cocaine are mediated by dopamine (DA) through stimulation of striatal circuits. Gabaergic striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs) are the only output of this pivotal structure in the control of movements. The majority of MSNs express either the DA D1 or D2 receptors (D1R, D2R). Studies have shown that the motor effect of cocaine depends on the DA-mediated stimulation of D1R-expressing MSNs (dMSNs), which is mirrored at the cellular level by stimulation of signaling pathways leading to phosphorylation of ERKs and induction of c-fos Nevertheless, activation of dMSNs by cocaine is necessary but not sufficient, and D2R signaling is required for the behavioral and cellular effects of cocaine...
October 11, 2016: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Luisa Lugli, Anna Chiara Obertis, Anna M Borghi
Is somebody going to hurt us? We draw back. The present study investigates using behavioral measures the interplay between imitative and complementary actions activated while observing female/male hands performing different actions. Female and male participants were required to discriminate the gender of biologically and artificially colored hands that displayed both individual (grasping) and social (giving and punching) actions. Biological hands evoked automatic imitation, while hands of different gender activated complementary mechanisms...
September 23, 2016: Psychological Research
Lawrence P Behmer, Lisa R Fournier
Questions regarding the malleability of the mirror neuron system (MNS) continue to be debated. MNS activation has been reported when people observe another person performing biological goal-directed behaviors, such as grasping a cup. These findings support the importance of mapping goal-directed biological behavior onto one's motor repertoire as a means of understanding the actions of others. Still, other evidence supports the Associative Sequence Learning (ASL) model which predicts that the MNS responds to a variety of stimuli after sensorimotor learning, not simply biological behavior...
September 8, 2016: European Journal of Neuroscience
Yasaman Malekizadeh, Alison Holiday, Devon Redfearn, James A Ainge, Gayle Doherty, Jenni Harvey
A key pathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is amyloid β (Aβ) accumulation that triggers synaptic impairments and neuronal death. Metabolic disruption is common in AD and recent evidence implicates impaired leptin function in AD. Thus the leptin system may be a novel therapeutic target in AD. Indeed, leptin has cognitive enhancing properties and it prevents the aberrant effects of Aβ on hippocampal synaptic function and neuronal viability. However, as leptin is a large peptide, development of smaller leptin-mimetics may be the best therapeutic approach...
September 6, 2016: Cerebral Cortex
Maryam Alimardani, Shuichi Nishio, Hiroshi Ishiguro
Brain computer interfaces (BCIs) have been developed and implemented in many areas as a new communication channel between the human brain and external devices. Despite their rapid growth and broad popularity, the inaccurate performance and cost of user-training are yet the main issues that prevent their application out of the research and clinical environment. We previously introduced a BCI system for the control of a very humanlike android that could raise a sense of embodiment and agency in the operators only by imagining a movement (motor imagery) and watching the robot perform it...
2016: PloS One
Nasim F Mehrabi, Henry J Waldvogel, Lynette J Tippett, Virginia M Hogg, Beth J Synek, Richard L M Faull
BACKGROUND: Huntington's disease (HD) is characterised by variable symptoms and neuropathology of the basal ganglia and cortex. Previously, we have shown that the pattern of pyramidal cell loss in 8 different cortical regions correlates with the phenotypic variability in HD. In the primary motor and anterior cingulate cortices, the pattern of interneuron degeneration correlates with pyramidal cell death and variable HD symptom profiles. OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to examine the pattern of interneuron degeneration in 3 further regions of the HD cortex (primary sensory, superior frontal, superior parietal cortices) to determine whether HD neuropathogenesis was characterised by a general fundamental pattern of cortical interneuron loss, and explore the relationship between cortical interneuron loss with previously determined pyramidal cell loss and clinical heterogeneity...
August 25, 2016: Neurobiology of Disease
Vernon Furtado da Silva, Mauricio Rocha Calomeni, Rodolfo Alkmim Moreira Nunes, Carlos Elias Pimentel, Gabriela Paes Martins, Patrícia da Cruz Araruna Oliveira, Patrícia Bagno Silva, Alair Pedro Ribeiro de Souza E Silva
This study focused upon the functional capacity of mirror neurons in autistic children. 30 individuals, 10 carriers of the autistic syndrome (GCA), 10 with intellectual impairments (GDI), and 10 non-autistics (GCN) had registered eletroencephalogram from the brain area theoretically related to mirror neurons. Data collection procedure occurred prior to brain stimulation and after the stimulation session. During the second session, participants had to alternately process figures evoking neutral, happy, and/or sorrowful feelings...
August 2016: Arquivos de Neuro-psiquiatria
Shiri Simon, Roy Mukamel
INTRODUCTION: The ability to understand actions and intentions of others is of great importance to social relationships and is associated with the mirror neuron system of the human brain. Whether conscious perception of specific actions is necessary to trigger activity in this system, or alternatively whether this response is independent of conscious perception is not known. METHODS: We addressed this issue by rendering videos of right hand movements invisible to conscious perception, and measuring electroencephalogram (EEG) power suppression in the mu (8-13 Hz) and beta (15-25 Hz) range as index corresponding to the magnitude of mirror neuron activity...
August 2016: Brain and Behavior
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