Neuropsychological Changes in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)Read the full article
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Social Cognition in Rehabilitation Context: Different Evolution of Affective and Cognitive Theory of Mind in Mild Cognitive Impairment
Maintaining social skills such as Theory of Mind (ToM) competences is important to counteract the conversion into dementia in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Multidimensional nonpharmacological interventions demonstrated their potential in improving cognitive and behavioral abilities; however, little is known about the long-term effect of such interventions on social skills in people with MCI. The aim of this longitudinal study was to monitor ToM competences considering both cognitive and affective domains in an amnestic MCI (aMCI) sample involved in a home-based multistimulation treatment (MST@H). 30 aMCI subjects (; ) were enrolled, and three steps of evaluation with neuropsychological tests and ToM tasks have been implemented. 21 healthy controls (HC) were also included (; ) to characterize the aMCI sample regarding differences in ToM performance compared to HC at the baseline evaluation. Our results show that the aMCI group statistically significantly underperformed the HC group only in the advanced ToM tasks, confirming an initial decline of high-level ToM competences in this population. The longitudinal evaluation revealed time changes not only in some subcognitive domains of MoCA (memory and executive functions) but also in cognitive and affective ToM dimensions in aMCI subjects. Our findings suggest that cognitive and affective ToM can be considered useful outcome measures to test the long-term effect of treatment over time.
Treatment Effects of Upper Limb Action Observation Therapy and Mirror Therapy on Rehabilitation Outcomes after Subacute Stroke: A Pilot Study
Background. Action observation therapy and mirror therapy, two promising rehabilitation strategies, are aimed at enhancing the motor learning and functional improvement of stroke patients through different patterns of visual feedback and observation. Objective. This study investigated and compared the treatment effects of the action observation therapy, mirror therapy, and active control intervention on motor and functional outcomes of stroke patients. Methods. Twenty-one patients with subacute stroke were recruited in this study. All patients were randomly assigned to the action observation therapy, mirror therapy, or active control intervention for 3 weeks. Outcome measures were conducted at baseline, immediately after treatment, and at 3-month follow-up. The primary outcome was the Fugl-Meyer Assessment, and secondary outcomes included the Box and Block Test, Functional Independence Measure, and Stroke Impact Scale. Descriptive analyses and the number of patients whose change score achieved minimal clinically important difference were reported. Results. Both the action observation therapy and active control intervention showed similar improvements on the Fugl-Meyer Assessment, Box and Block Test, and Stroke Impact Scale. Moreover, the action observation therapy had a greater improvement on the Functional Independence Measure than the other 2 groups did. However, the mirror therapy group gained the least improvements on the outcomes. Conclusion. The preliminary results found that the patients in the action observation therapy and active control intervention groups had comparable benefits, suggesting that the 2 treatments might be used as an alternative to each other. A further large-scale study with at least 20 patients in each group to validate the study findings is needed. This trial is registered with NCT02871700.
Small Fiber Neuropathy: Clinicopathological Correlations
Small fiber neuropathy develops due to the selective damage of the thin fibers of peripheral nerves. Many common diseases can cause this condition, including diabetes, infections, autoimmune and endocrine disorders, but it can occur due to genetic alterations, as well. Eighty-five skin biopsy-proven small-fiber neuropathy cases were analyzed. Forty-one (48%) cases were idiopathic; among secondary types, hypothyreosis (9.4%), diabetes mellitus (7%), cryoglobulinemia (7%), monoclonal gammopathy with unproved significance (4.7%), Sjögren’s disease (3%), and paraneoplastic neuropathy (3%) were the most common causes. Two-thirds (68%) of the patients were female, and the secondary type started 8 years later than the idiopathic one. In a vast majority of the cases (85%), the distribution followed a length-dependent pattern. Intraepidermal fiber density was comparable in idiopathic and secondary forms. Of note, we found significantly more severe pathology in men and in diabetes. Weak correlation was found between patient-reported measures and pathology, as well as with neuropathic pain-related scores. Our study confirmed the significance of small fiber damage-caused neuropathic symptoms in many clinical conditions, the gender differences in clinical settings, and pathological alterations, as well as the presence of severe small fiber pathology in diabetes mellitus, one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy.
“Olfactory Three-Needle” Enhances Spatial Learning and Memory Ability in SAMP8 Mice
As one of the most important therapies in complementary and alternative medicine, acupuncture has been used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Acupuncture of “olfactory three-needle” manipulation can improve the cognitive ability of AD patients. However, the mechanism of “olfactory three-needle” in AD remains largely unknown. Here, we identified that the “olfactory three-needle” therapy and eugenol olfactory stimulation both reduced the deposition of β-amyloid (Aβ) protein and increased the expression of synaptophysin (SYP), but only the “olfactory three-needle” enhanced the spatial learning and memory ability of SAMP8. Remarkably, the “olfactory three-needle” inhibited the phosphorylation of p38MAPK and the excessive activation of microglia (MG) in the hippocampus. Our study demonstrates that the “olfactory three-needle” enhances spatial learning and memory ability by inhibiting the phosphorylation of p38MAPK and the excessive activation of MG to reduce the neuroinflammatory response and neurotoxicity of Aβ and promote synaptic regeneration, but it was not completely consistent with the stimulation of the olfactory system.
Effects of DCM Leaf Extract of Gnidia glauca (Fresen) on Locomotor Activity, Anxiety, and Exploration-Like Behaviors in High-Fat Diet-Induced Obese Rats
Obesity is the main component of metabolic syndromes involving distinct etiologies that target different underlying behavioral and physiological functions within the brain structures and neuronal circuits. An alteration in the neuronal circuitry stemming from abdominal or central obesity stimulates a cascade of changes in neurochemical signaling that directly or indirectly mediate spontaneously emitted behaviors such as locomotor activity patterns, anxiety, and exploration. Pharmacological agents available for the treatment of neurologic disorders have been associated with limited potency and intolerable adverse effects. These have necessitated the upsurge in the utilization of herbal prescriptions due to their affordability and easy accessibility and are firmly embedded within wider belief systems of many people. Gnidia glauca has been used in the management of many ailments including obesity and associated symptomatic complications. However, its upsurge in use has not been accompanied by empirical determination of these folkloric claims. The present study, therefore, is aimed at determining the modulatory effects of dichloromethane leaf extract of Gnidia glauca on locomotor activity, exploration, and anxiety-like behaviors in high-fat diet-induced obese rats in an open-field arena. Obesity was experimentally induced by feeding the rats with prepared high-fat diet and water ad libitum for 6 weeks. The in vivo antiobesity effects were determined by oral administration of G. glauca at dosage levels of 200, 250, and 300 mg/kg body weight in high-fat diet-induced obese rats from the 6th to 12th week. Phytochemical analysis was done using gas chromatography linked to mass spectroscopy. Results indicated that Gnidia glauca showed anxiolytic effects and significantly increased spontaneous locomotor activity and exploration-like behaviors in HFD-induced obese rats. The plant extract also contained phytocompounds that have been associated with amelioration of the main neurodegenerative mediators, viz., inflammation and oxidative stress. These findings provide “qualified leads” for the synthesis of new alternative therapeutic agents for the management of neurologic disorders. However, there is a need to conduct toxicity studies of Gnidia glauca to establish its safety profiles.
Long-Term Voluntary Physical Exercise Exerts Neuroprotective Effects and Motor Disturbance Alleviation in a Rat Model of Parkinson’s Disease
Background. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder affecting 7–10 million individuals. The pathologic hallmark of PD is nigrostriatal dopaminergic neuron loss, leading to several motor and nonmotor disturbances, such as akinesia, gait disturbance, depression, and anxiety. Recent animal studies have demonstrated that physical exercise improves behavioral and neuropathological deficits in PD. However, the exact underlying mechanism underlying this effect remains unclear. In this study, we investigated whether long-term exercise has neuroprotective effects on dopaminergic nigrostriatal neurons and whether it further alleviates impairment of the gait pattern, locomotor activity, akinesia, and anxiety-like behavior in PD rats. Methods. A hemiparkinsonian rat model, generated by unilateral injection of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the medial forebrain bundle, was applied to evaluate neuroprotective effects and motor behaviors. Comprehensive spatiotemporal gait analysis, open-field locomotor activity, akinesia, apomorphine-induced rotational analysis, and dopaminergic neuron degeneration level were assessed every week and up to 8 weeks after daily voluntary running wheel exercise. Results. Compared with the sham-treated group, we found that 10 weeks of voluntary exercise (i.e., 2-week exercise before PD lesion and 8-week exercise post-PD lesion) significantly reduced 6-OHDA-induced motor deficits in the gait pattern, akinesia, and rotational behavior in the exercise group. Immunohistochemically, a tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neuron in the substantia nigra was significantly preserved in the exercise group. Conclusions. Our results demonstrated that long-term exercise training is effective for neuroprotection and further attenuates motor declines induced by 6-OHDA in an experimental model of PD. Our data further highlighted potential therapeutic effects of long-term physical exercise relevant to clinical effects for further potential application on human PD subjects.