Publications by authors named "C Noel Bairey Merz"

308 Publications

Intervention Platform for Action Observation and Motor Imagery Training After Stroke: Usability Test.

Stud Health Technol Inform 2022 May;292:71-74

Bern University of Applied Sciences, Bern, Switzerland.

Action observation (AO) and motor imagery (MI) are considered as promising therapeutic approaches in the rehabilitation of patients after a stroke (PaS). Observing and mentally rehearsing motor movements stimulate the motor system in the brain and result in a positive effect on movement execution. To support patients in the early rehabilitation phase after a stroke, ANIMATE, a digital health intervention platform was developed. The platform guides the user through 6 activities of daily living by observing and imagining the corresponding movements. We conducted a scenario-based usability test with 9 PaS at a rehabilitation centre to identify existing usability issues. PaS found the app easy to use and they could interact with it without problems. Although they judged the app as useful, they stated to be not willing to use the app on a regular basis. Including features for customising ANIMATE regarding the individual rehabilitation goals and needs of PaS, as well as personalisation could help in increasing the motivation to use and the benefits of the platform.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/SHTI220324DOI Listing
May 2022

Chronic Exposure to Dim Light at Night or Irregular Lighting Conditions Impact Circadian Behavior, Motor Coordination, and Neuronal Morphology.

Front Neurosci 2022 13;16:855154. Epub 2022 Apr 13.

Mammalian Genetics Unit, MRC Harwell Institute, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom.

Mistimed exposure to light has been demonstrated to negatively affect multiple aspects of physiology and behavior. Here we analyzed the effects of chronic exposure to abnormal lighting conditions in mice. We exposed mice for 1 year to either: a standard light/dark cycle, a "light-pollution" condition in which low levels of light were present in the dark phase of the circadian cycle (dim light at night, DLAN), or altered light cycles in which the length of the weekday and weekend light phase differed by 6 h ("social jetlag"). Mice exhibited several circadian activity phenotypes, as well as changes in motor function, associated particularly with the DLAN condition. Our data suggest that these phenotypes might be due to changes outside the core clock. Dendritic spine changes in other brain regions raise the possibility that these phenotypes are mediated by changes in neuronal coordination outside of the clock. Given the prevalence of artificial light exposure in the modern world, further work is required to establish whether these negative effects are observed in humans as well.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2022.855154DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9043330PMC
April 2022

Microvascular dysfunction as a systemic disease: A review of the evidence.

Am J Med 2022 Apr 23. Epub 2022 Apr 23.

Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida; Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. Electronic address:

Microvascular dysfunction describes a varied set of conditions which includes vessel destruction, abnormal vasoreactivity, in situ thrombosis, and fibrosis which ultimately results in tissue damage and progressive organ failure. Microvascular dysfunction has a wide array of clinical presentations, ranging from ischemic heart disease to renal failure, stroke, blindness, pulmonary arterial hypertension, and dementia. An intriguing unifying hypothesis suggests that microvascular dysfunction of specific organs is an expression of a systemic illness that worsens with age and is accelerated by vascular risk factors. Studying relationships across a spectrum of microvascular diseases affecting the brain, retina, kidney, lung, and heart may uncover shared pathologic mechanisms that could inform novel treatment strategies. We review the evidence that supports the notion that microvascular dysfunction represents a global pathologic process. Our focus is on studies reporting concomitant microvascular dysfunction of the heart with that of the brain, kidney, retina, and lung. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: : Microvascular dysfunction results in tissue damage and progressive organ failure; Unifying hypothesis suggests that microvascular dysfunction is a systemic illness; Uncovering shared pathologic mechanisms could inform new treatment strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2022.04.006DOI Listing
April 2022

Are we any WISER yet? Progress and contemporary need for smart trials to include women in coronary artery disease trials.

Contemp Clin Trials 2022 Apr 20;117:106762. Epub 2022 Apr 20.

Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center, Smidt Heart Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA. Electronic address:

Despite calls to ensure proportionate representation of both sexes in biomedical research, women continue to be underrepresented in cardiovascular disease (CVD) clinical trials. A comprehensive analysis of seven large suspected ischemic heart disease/coronary artery disease (IHD/CAD) clinical trials (PROMISE, ISCHEMIA, CIAO-ISCHEMIA, ORBITA, FAME, FAME 2 and COURAGE trial) provides understanding of contributions to barriers to enrollment of women and leads to strategies to address these barriers. Specifically, in the seven trials, enrollment of women did not exceed 27%, while numerous barriers are evident. Proposed strategies to improve women´s inclusion in clinical trials, include adding reproductive stage/estrogen status, attention to study design inclusion/exclusion criteria using female thresholds, consideration of diagnostic and intervention study design to be inclusive, increasing women and minorities in leadership positions, including sex as a biological variable (SABV) in study design and statistical analysis, and addressing social and race/ethnicity barriers. Dedicated action to actualizing these steps are needed at this time to developing diagnostic and therapeutic strategies resulting in better care and improved outcomes for CVD in women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2022.106762DOI Listing
April 2022

The cerebellum contributes to context-effects during fear extinction learning: A 7T fMRI study.

Neuroimage 2022 06 9;253:119080. Epub 2022 Mar 9.

Department of Neurology and Center for Translational Neuro- and Behavioral Sciences (C-TNBS), Essen University Hospital, University of Duisburg-Essen, Hufelandstraße 55, Essen 45147, Germany; Erwin L. Hahn Institute for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.

The cerebellum is involved in the acquisition and consolidation of learned fear responses. Knowledge about its contribution to extinction learning, however, is sparse. Extinction processes likely involve erasure of memories, but there is ample evidence that at least part of the original memory remains. We asked the question whether memory persists within the cerebellum following extinction training. The renewal effect, that is the reoccurrence of the extinguished fear memory during recall in a context different from the extinction context, constitutes one of the phenomena indicating that memory of extinguished learned fear responses is not fully erased during extinction training. We performed a differential AB-A/B fear conditioning paradigm in a 7-Tesla (7T) MRI system in 31 young and healthy men. On day 1, fear acquisition training was performed in context A and extinction training in context B. On day 2, recall was tested in contexts A and B. As expected, participants learned to predict that the CS+ was followed by an aversive electric shock during fear acquisition training. Skin conductance responses (SCRs) were significantly higher to the CS+ compared to the CS- at the end of acquisition. Differences in SCRs vanished in extinction and reoccurred in the acquisition context during recall indicating renewal. Fitting SCR data, a deep neural network model was trained to predict the correct shock value for a given stimulus and context. Event-related fMRI analysis with model-derived prediction values as parametric modulations showed significant effects on activation of the posterolateral cerebellum (lobules VI and Crus I) during recall. Since the prediction values differ based on stimulus (CS+ and CS-) and context during recall, data provide support that the cerebellum is involved in context-related recall of learned fear associations. Likewise, mean β values were highest in lobules VI and Crus I bilaterally related to the CS+ in the acquisition context during early recall. A similar pattern was seen in the vermis, but only on a trend level. Thus, part of the original memory likely remains within the cerebellum following extinction training. We found cerebellar activations related to the CS+ and CS- during fear acquisition training which likely reflect associative and non-associative aspects of the task. Cerebellar activations, however, were not significantly different for CS+ and CS-. Since the CS- was never followed by an electric shock, the cerebellum may contribute to associative learning related to the CS, for example as a safety cue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.119080DOI Listing
June 2022
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