Publications by authors named "Silvia Clausi"

22 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The neurobiological underpinning of the social cognition impairments in patients with spinocerebellar ataxia type 2.

Cortex 2021 Feb 13;138:101-112. Epub 2021 Feb 13.

Department of Psychology, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy; Ataxia Laboratory, Fondazione Santa Lucia IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Clinical studies described emotional and social behaviour alterations in patients with cerebellar diseases, proposing a role of specific cerebello-cerebral circuits in social cognition. However, for a long time these difficulties were underestimated, and no studies have addressed the correlation between social cognition deficits and topography of the cerebellar damage. The present study aims to investigate the social cognition impairment and the neuroanatomical alterations in patients with spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) and to analyze their relationship. To this purpose a social cognition battery composed by three tests, and a MRI protocol were administered to 13 SCA2 patients and 26 healthy subjects. The pattern of gray matter (GM) atrophy was analyzed by voxel-based morphometry, and the GM volumes of each altered area were correlated with the behavioral scores to investigate anatomo-functional relationships. In addition, we investigated the relationship between social deficits and damage to the cerebellar peduncles using DTI diffusivity indices. Our patients showed impairment of the immediate perceptual component of the mental state recognition (i.e., to recognize feelings and thoughts from the eyes expression), and difficulties in anger attribution, and in the understanding of false or mistaken beliefs. They showed a pattern of GM reduction in cerebellar regions, including lobules IX and VIIIb and Crus II, all of which are involved in specific components of the mentalizing process. Interestingly, the behavioral performance, in which SCA2 patients showed impairments compared to controls, correlated with the degree of cerebellar GM reduction and with the presence of microstructural abnormalities in the cerebellar peduncles. The present study provides the first characterization of the social cognition deficits in a homogenous cohort SCA2 patients and demonstrates that alterations in specific cerebellar regions should represent the neurobiological underpinning of their social behavior difficulties. Our results offer a new point of view in considering these aspects in the clinical practice.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2020.12.027DOI Listing
February 2021

Consensus Paper: Cerebellum and Social Cognition.

Cerebellum 2020 Dec;19(6):833-868

Ataxia Laboratory, IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia, 00179, Rome, Italy.

The traditional view on the cerebellum is that it controls motor behavior. Although recent work has revealed that the cerebellum supports also nonmotor functions such as cognition and affect, only during the last 5 years it has become evident that the cerebellum also plays an important social role. This role is evident in social cognition based on interpreting goal-directed actions through the movements of individuals (social "mirroring") which is very close to its original role in motor learning, as well as in social understanding of other individuals' mental state, such as their intentions, beliefs, past behaviors, future aspirations, and personality traits (social "mentalizing"). Most of this mentalizing role is supported by the posterior cerebellum (e.g., Crus I and II). The most dominant hypothesis is that the cerebellum assists in learning and understanding social action sequences, and so facilitates social cognition by supporting optimal predictions about imminent or future social interaction and cooperation. This consensus paper brings together experts from different fields to discuss recent efforts in understanding the role of the cerebellum in social cognition, and the understanding of social behaviors and mental states by others, its effect on clinical impairments such as cerebellar ataxia and autism spectrum disorder, and how the cerebellum can become a potential target for noninvasive brain stimulation as a therapeutic intervention. We report on the most recent empirical findings and techniques for understanding and manipulating cerebellar circuits in humans. Cerebellar circuitry appears now as a key structure to elucidate social interactions.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12311-020-01155-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7588399PMC
December 2020

Cerebello-Cortical Alterations Linked to Cognitive and Social Problems in Patients With Spastic Paraplegia Type 7: A Preliminary Study.

Front Neurol 2020 25;11:82. Epub 2020 Feb 25.

Ataxia Laboratory, IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia, Rome, Italy.

Spastic paraplegia type 7 (SPG7), which represents one of the most common forms of autosomal recessive spastic paraplegia (MIM#607259), often manifests with a complicated phenotype, characterized by progressive spastic ataxia with evidence of cerebellar atrophy on brain MRI. Recent studies have documented the presence of peculiar dentate nucleus hyperintensities on T2-weighted images and frontal executive dysfunction in neuropsychological tests in SPG7 patients. Therefore, we decided to assess whether any particular MRI pattern might be specifically associated with SPG7 mutations and possibly correlated with patients' cognitive profiles. For this purpose, we evaluated six SPG7 patients, studying the cerebello-cortical network by MRI voxel-based morphometry and functional connectivity techniques, compared to 30 healthy control subjects. In parallel, we investigated the cognitive and social functioning of the SPG7 patients. Our results document specific cognitive alterations in language, verbal memory, and executive function in addition to an impairment of social task and emotional functions. The MRI scans showed a diffuse symmetric reduction in the cerebellar gray matter of the right lobule V, right Crus I, and bilateral lobule VI, together with a cerebral gray matter reduction in the lingual gyrus, precuneus, thalamus, and superior frontal gyrus. The evidence of an over-connectivity pattern between both the right and left cerebellar dentate nuclei and specific cerebral regions (the lateral occipital cortex, precuneus, left supramarginal gyrus, and left superior parietal lobule) confirms the presence of cerebello-cortical dysregulation in different networks involved in cognition and social functioning in SPG7 patients.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.00082DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7053515PMC
February 2020

The Cerebellar Predictions for Social Interactions: Theory of Mind Abilities in Patients With Degenerative Cerebellar Atrophy.

Front Cell Neurosci 2018 8;12:510. Epub 2019 Jan 8.

Ataxia Laboratory, IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia, Rome, Italy.

Recent studies have focused on the role of the cerebellum in the social domain, including in Theory of Mind (ToM). ToM, or the "mentalizing" process, is the ability to attribute mental states, such as emotion, intentions and beliefs, to others to explain and predict their behavior. It is a fundamental aspect of social cognition and crucial for social interactions, together with more automatic mechanisms, such as emotion contagion. Social cognition requires complex interactions between limbic, associative areas and subcortical structures, including the cerebellum. It has been hypothesized that the typical cerebellar role in adaptive control and predictive coding could also be extended to social behavior. The present study aimed to investigate the social cognition abilities of patients with degenerative cerebellar atrophy to understand whether the cerebellum acts in specific ToM components playing a role as predictive structure. To this aim, an social cognition battery was administered to 27 patients with degenerative cerebellar pathology and 27 healthy controls. In addition, 3D T1-weighted and resting-state fMRI scans were collected to characterize the structural and functional changes in cerebello-cortical loops. The results evidenced that the patients were impaired in lower-level processes of immediate perception as well as in the more complex conceptual level of mentalization. Furthermore, they presented a pattern of GM reduction in cerebellar portions that are involved in the social domain such as crus I-II, lobule IX and lobule VIIIa. These areas showed decreased functional connectivity with projection cerebral areas involved in specific aspects of social cognition. These findings boost the idea that the cerebellar modulatory function on the cortical projection areas subtends the social cognition process at different levels. Particularly, regarding the lower-level processes, the cerebellum may act by implicitly matching the external information (i.e., expression of the eyes) with the respective internal representation to guarantee an immediate judgment about the mental state of others. Otherwise, at a more complex conceptual level, the cerebellum seems to be involved in the construction of internal models of mental processes during social interactions in which the prediction of sequential events plays a role, allowing us to anticipate the other person's behavior.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2018.00510DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6332472PMC
January 2019

Depression disorder in patients with cerebellar damage: Awareness of the mood state.

J Affect Disord 2019 02 6;245:386-393. Epub 2018 Nov 6.

Ataxia Lab, Fondazione Santa Lucia IRCCS, Rome, Italy; Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.

Background: Although depressive symptoms are often reported to be comorbid with degenerative cerebellar diseases, the role of the cerebellum in depressive disorder needs to be elucidated. To address this aim, we investigated self-perception of the negative mood state in patients with cerebellar pathology and depressive symptoms.

Methods: Thirty-eight patients with cerebellar damage (10 with depressive symptoms - CB-DP and 28 with no depressive symptoms - CB-nDP), 11 subjects with depressive disorders without cerebellar damage (DP) and 29 healthy controls (CTs) were enrolled. A device for self-monitoring of the mood state (MoMo) and validated scales such as the Profile of Mood States questionnaire (POMS), the Self-Report Symptom Inventory-Revised (SCL-90-R) and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) were used to evaluate depressive symptoms.

Results: Both CB-DP and DP patients showed higher scores than CTs on the POMS and SCL-90-R for depressive factors and on the HDRS. DP patients showed a lower frequency of 'good' mood and a higher frequency of 'bad' mood than CTs when using the MoMo device. However, although the two depressed populations showed comparable scores on these validated scales, CB-DP patients showed impaired self-awareness of the mood experience in 'the here and now', as evidenced by the absence of significant differences, compared with CTs, in the subjective mood evaluation performed with the MoMo device.

Limitations: The number of CB patients and inhomogeneity across MRI scans were study limitations.

Conclusion: Cerebellar dysfunction might slow the data integration necessary for mood state awareness, resulting in difficulty of depressed CB patients in explicitly recognizing their mood "in the here and now".
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2018.11.029DOI Listing
February 2019

The cerebellar topography of attention sub-components in spinocerebellar ataxia type 2.

Cortex 2018 11 31;108:35-49. Epub 2018 Jul 31.

Ataxia Laboratory, IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia, Rome, Italy; Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease characterized by a progressive cerebellar syndrome and multiple-domain cognitive impairments. The cerebellum is known to contribute to distinct functional networks related to higher-level functions. The aims of the present study were to investigate the different sub-components of attention and to analyse possible correlations between attention deficits and specific cerebellar regions in SCA2 patients. To this purpose, 11 SCA2 patients underwent an exhaustive attention battery that evaluated several attention sub-components. The SCA2 group performed below the normal range in tasks assessing selective attention, divided attention, and sustained attention, obtaining negative Z-scores. These results were confirmed by non-parametric Mann-Whitney U tests that showed significant differences between SCA2 and control subjects in the same sub-components of the attention battery, allowing us to speculate on cerebellar involvement when a high cognitive demand is required (i.e., multisensory integration, sequencing, prediction of events, and inhibition of inappropriate response behaviours). The voxel-based morphometry analysis showed a pattern of significantly reduced grey matter volume in specific cerebellar lobules. In particular, the SCA2 patients showed significant grey matter loss in bilateral regions of the anterior cerebellar hemisphere (IV) and in the posterior lobe (VI-IX) and posterior vermis (VI-IX). Statistical analysis found significant correlations between grey matter reductions in the VIIb/VIIIa cerebellar lobules and impairments in Sustained and Divided Attention tasks and between grey matter reduction in the vermal VI lobule and impairment in the Go/NoGo task. For the first time, the study demonstrated the involvement of specific cerebellar lobules in different sub-components of the attention domain, giving further support to the inclusion of the cerebellum within the attention network.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2018.07.011DOI Listing
November 2018

Lobular patterns of cerebellar resting-state connectivity in adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Eur J Neurosci 2018 03 14;47(6):729-735. Epub 2017 Nov 14.

Ataxia Laboratory, IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation, Via Ardeatina 306, 00179, Rome, Italy.

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by core deficits in social functioning. Core autistics traits refer to poor social and imagination skills, poor attention-switching/strong focus of attention, exceptional attention to detail, as expressed by the autism-spectrum quotient. Over the years, the importance of the cerebellum in the aetiology of autism spectrum disorder has been acknowledged. Neuroimaging studies have provided a strong support to this view, showing both structural and functional connectivity alterations to affect the cerebellum in autism spectrum disorder. According to the underconnectivity theory, disrupted connectivity within cerebello-cerebral networks has been specifically implicated in the aetiology of autism spectrum disorder. However, inconsistent results have been generated across studies. In this study, an integrated approach has been used in a selected population of adults with autism spectrum disorder to analyse both cerebellar morphometry and functional connectivity. In individuals with autism spectrum disorder, a decreased cerebellar grey matter volume affected the right Crus II, a region showing extensive connections with cerebral areas related to social functions. This grey matter reduction correlates with the degree of autistic traits as measured by autism-spectrum quotient. Interestingly, altered functional connectivity was found between the reduced cerebellar Crus II and contralateral cerebral regions, such as frontal and temporal areas. Overall, the present data suggest that adults with autism spectrum disorder present with specific cerebellar structural alterations that may affect functional connectivity within cerebello-cerebral modules relevant to social processing and account for core autistics traits.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejn.13752DOI Listing
March 2018

Atrophic degeneration of cerebellum impairs both the reactive and the proactive control of movement in the stop signal paradigm.

Exp Brain Res 2017 10 17;235(10):2971-2981. Epub 2017 Jul 17.

Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185, Rome, Italy.

The cognitive control of movement suppression, including performance monitoring, is one of the core properties of the executive system. A complex cortical and subcortical network involving cerebral cortex, thalamus, subthalamus, and basal ganglia has been regarded as the neural substrate of inhibition of programmed movements. Using the countermanding task, a suitable tool to explore behavioral components of movement suppression, the contribution of the cerebellum in the proactive control and monitoring of voluntary action has been recently described in patients affected by focal lesions involving in particular the cerebellar dentate nucleus. Here, we evaluated the performance on the countermanding task in a group of patients with cerebellar degeneration, in which the cerebellar cortex was diffusely affected, and showed that they display additionally a longer latency in countermanding engaged movements. Overall, the present data confirm the role of the cerebellum in executive control of action inhibition by extending the contribution to reactive motor suppression.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00221-017-5027-zDOI Listing
October 2017

Bilateral effects of unilateral cerebellar lesions as detected by voxel based morphometry and diffusion imaging.

PLoS One 2017 10;12(7):e0180439. Epub 2017 Jul 10.

Neuroimaging Laboratory, Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome, Italy.

Over the last decades, the importance of cerebellar processing for cortical functions has been acknowledged and consensus was reached on the strict functional and structural cortico-cerebellar interrelations. From an anatomical point of view strictly contralateral interconnections link the cerebellum to the cerebral cortex mainly through the middle and superior cerebellar peduncle. Diffusion MRI (dMRI) based tractography has already been applied to address cortico-cerebellar-cortical loops in healthy subjects and to detect diffusivity alteration patterns in patients with neurodegenerative pathologies of the cerebellum. In the present study we used dMRI-based tractography to determine the degree and pattern of pathological changes of cerebellar white matter microstructure in patients with focal cerebellar lesions. Diffusion imaging and high-resolution volumes were obtained in patients with left cerebellar lesions and in normal controls. Middle cerebellar peduncles and superior cerebellar peduncles were reconstructed by multi fiber diffusion tractography. From each tract, measures of microscopic damage were assessed, and despite the presence of unilateral lesions, bilateral diffusivity differences in white matter tracts were found comparing patients with normal controls. Consistently, bilateral alterations were also evidenced in specific brain regions linked to the cerebellum and involved in higher-level functions. This could be in line with the evidence that in the presence of unilateral cerebellar lesions, different cognitive functions can be affected and they are not strictly linked to the side of the cerebellar lesion.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0180439PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5503258PMC
September 2017

Does the cerebellum contribute to human navigation by processing sequential information?

Neuropsychology 2017 Jul 23;31(5):564-574. Epub 2017 Feb 23.

Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome.

Objective: Several authors have proposed that the cerebellum has an important role in functions of higher order as a general mode of sequence detection, independently from the nature of the information. The aim of this study was to verify whether the cerebellum mediates the processing of navigational sequential information and to determine whether it is influenced by the modality of the stimuli presentation.

Method: We tested 12 cerebellar patients and 12 healthy age-matched participants in 2 comparable navigational tasks (Walking Corsi Test and the Magic Carpet) requiring to memorizing a sequence of spatial locations. The 2 tasks differ each other for the modality of stimuli presentation: in the Walking Corsi Test the sequence is shown by an examiner that walks on the carpet, whereas in the Magic Carpet it is shown by a computer that lights up the tiles in the sequence. We hypothesize that different mental processes are implicated between the Walking Corsi Test and the Magic Carpet. Indeed, whereas watching the examiner, who performs the sequence on the carpet, allows the patient to simulate the action mentally in the Walking Corsi Test, such simulation cannot be triggered in the Magic Carpet.

Results: Our results showed that cerebellar patients obtained scores significantly lower than control participants only in the Magic Carpet.

Conclusions: We interpreted the patients' performance as a specific deficit in detecting and ordering single independent stimuli as a sequence, when the maintenance of stimulus-response associations is more demanding. (PsycINFO Database Record
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/neu0000354DOI Listing
July 2017

Interhemispheric Connectivity Characterizes Cortical Reorganization in Motor-Related Networks After Cerebellar Lesions.

Cerebellum 2017 04;16(2):358-375

IRCCS "Fondazione Santa Lucia", Via Ardeatina, 309, 00179, Rome, Italy.

Although cerebellar-cortical interactions have been studied extensively in animal models and humans using modern neuroimaging techniques, the effects of cerebellar stroke and focal lesions on cerebral cortical processing remain unknown. In the present study, we analyzed the large-scale functional connectivity at the cortical level by combining high-density electroencephalography (EEG) and source imaging techniques to evaluate and quantify the compensatory reorganization of brain networks after cerebellar damage. The experimental protocol comprised a repetitive finger extension task by 10 patients with unilateral focal cerebellar lesions and 10 matched healthy controls. A graph theoretical approach was used to investigate the functional reorganization of cortical networks. Our patients, compared with controls, exhibited significant differences at global and local topological level of their brain networks. An abnormal rise in small-world network efficiency was observed in the gamma band (30-40 Hz) during execution of the task, paralleled by increased long-range connectivity between cortical hemispheres. Our findings show that a pervasive reorganization of the brain network is associated with cerebellar focal damage and support the idea that the cerebellum boosts or refines cortical functions. Clinically, these results suggest that cortical changes after cerebellar damage are achieved through an increase in the interactions between remote cortical areas and that rehabilitation should aim to reshape functional activation patterns. Future studies should determine whether these hypotheses are limited to motor tasks or if they also apply to cerebro-cerebellar dysfunction in general.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12311-016-0811-zDOI Listing
April 2017

Resting-State Functional Connectivity Changes Between Dentate Nucleus and Cortical Social Brain Regions in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Cerebellum 2017 04;16(2):283-292

Ataxia Laboratory, IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation, Via Ardeatina 306, 00179, Rome, Italy.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are known to be characterized by restricted and repetitive behaviors and interests and by impairments in social communication and interactions mainly including "theory of mind" (ToM) processes. The cerebellum has emerged as one of the brain regions affected by ASDs. As the cerebellum is known to influence cerebral cortex activity via cerebello-thalamo-cortical (CTC) circuits, it has been proposed that cerebello-cortical "disconnection" could in part underlie autistic symptoms. We used resting-state (RS) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the potential RS connectivity changes between the cerebellar dentate nucleus (DN) and the CTC circuit targets, that may contribute to ASD pathophysiology. When comparing ASD patients to controls, we found decreased connectivity between the left DN and cerebral regions known to be components of the ToM network and the default mode network, implicated in specific aspects of mentalizing, social cognition processing, and higher order emotional processes. Further, a pattern of overconnectivity was also detected between the left DN and the supramodal cerebellar lobules associated with the default mode network. The presented RS-fMRI data provide evidence that functional connectivity (FC) between the dentate nucleus and the cerebral cortex is altered in ASD patients. This suggests that the dysfunction reported within the cerebral cortical network, typically related to social features of ASDs, may be at least partially related to an impaired interaction between cerebellum and key cortical social brain regions.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12311-016-0795-8DOI Listing
April 2017

Cerebellar damage impairs the self-rating of regret feeling in a gambling task.

Front Behav Neurosci 2015 5;9:113. Epub 2015 May 5.

Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome Rome, Italy ; Ataxia Laboratory, IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation Rome, Italy.

Anatomical, clinical, and neuroimaging evidence implicates the cerebellum in processing emotions and feelings. Moreover recent studies showed a cerebellar involvement in pathologies such as autism, schizophrenia and alexithymia, in which emotional processing have been found altered. However, cerebellar function in the modulation of emotional responses remains debated. In this study, emotions that are involved directly in decision-making were examined in 15 patients (six males; age range 17-60 years) affected by cerebellar damage and 15 well matched healthy controls. We used a gambling task, in which subjects' choices and evaluation of outcomes with regard to their anticipated and actual emotional impact were analyzed. Emotions, such as regret and relief, were elicited, based on the outcome of the unselected gamble. Interestingly, despite their ability to avoid regret in subsequent choices, patients affected by cerebellar lesions were significantly impaired in evaluating the feeling of regret subjectively. These results demonstrate that the cerebellum is involved in conscious recognizing of negative feelings caused by the sense of self-responsibility for an incorrect decision.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4419712PMC
May 2015

Inability to Process Negative Emotions in Cerebellar Damage: a Functional Transcranial Doppler Sonographic Study.

Cerebellum 2015 Dec;14(6):663-9

Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185, Rome, Italy.

Recent studies have implicated the cerebellum as part of a circuitry that is necessary to modulate higher order and behaviorally relevant information in emotional domains. However, little is known about the relationship between the cerebellum and emotional processing. This study examined cerebellar function specifically in the processing of negative emotions. Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography was performed to detect selective changes in middle cerebral artery flow velocity during emotional stimulation in patients affected by focal or degenerative cerebellar lesions and in matched healthy subjects. Changes in flow velocity during non-emotional (motor and cognitive tasks) and emotional (relaxing and negative stimuli) conditions were recorded. In the present study, we found that during negative emotional task, the hemodynamic pattern of the cerebellar patients was significantly different to that of controls. Indeed, whereas relaxing stimuli did not elicit an increase in mean flow velocity in any group, negative stimuli increased the mean flow velocity in the right compared with left middle cerebral artery only in the control group. The patterns by which mean flow velocity increased during the motor and cognitive tasks were similar within patients and controls. These findings support that the cerebellum is part of a network that gives meaning to external stimuli, and this particular involvement in processing negative emotional stimuli corroborates earlier phylogenetic hypotheses, for which the cerebellum is part of an older circuit in which negative emotions are crucial for survival and prepare the organism for rapid defense.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12311-015-0662-zDOI Listing
December 2015

Monitoring mood states in everyday life: a new device for patients with cerebellar ataxia.

Psychiatry Res 2014 Dec 1;220(1-2):719-21. Epub 2014 Aug 1.

Ataxia Lab, IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia, Rome, Italy; Department of Psychology, 'Sapienza' University of Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Thirty patients with cerebellar ataxia and 40 healthy volunteers underwent 7 days of mood monitoring using a new device requiring a low motor load. Its convergent validity and compliance were tested. The measurements resulted consistent with validated scale scores. Patients׳ motor impairment did not affect the compliance.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2014.07.051DOI Listing
December 2014

Cerebellar damage impairs executive control and monitoring of movement generation.

PLoS One 2014 17;9(1):e85997. Epub 2014 Jan 17.

Department of Psychology, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy ; Ataxia Research Lab, IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome, Italy.

Executive control of motor responses is a psychological construct of the executive system. Several studies have demonstrated the involvement of the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, and thalamus in the inhibition of actions and monitoring of performance. The involvement of the cerebellum in cognitive function and its functional interaction with basal ganglia have recently been reported. Based on these findings, we examined the hypothesis of cerebellar involvement in executive control by administering a countermanding task in patients with focal cerebellar damage. The countermanding task requires one to make a movement in response to a 'go' signal and to halt it when a 'stop' signal is presented. The duration of the go process (reaction time; RT), the duration of the stop process (stop signal reaction time; SSRT), and their relationship, expressed by a psychometric function, are recorded as measures of executive control. All patients had longer go process duration in general and in particular, as a proactive control, as demonstrated by the increase in RT after erroneously performed stop trials. Further, they were defective in the slope of the psychometric function indicating a difficulty on triggering the stop process, although the SSRT did not differ from controls. Notably, their performance was worse when lesions affected deep cerebellar nuclei. Our results support the hypothesis that the cerebellum regulates the executive control of voluntary actions. We speculate that its activity is attributed to specific cerebellar influence over the cortico-striatal loop.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0085997PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3895022PMC
September 2014

Oculomotor deficits affect neuropsychological performance in oculomotor apraxia type 2.

Cortex 2013 Mar 6;49(3):691-701. Epub 2012 Mar 6.

Department of Psychology, University of Rome, Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

Introduction: Ataxia with oculomotor apraxia type 2 is a rare and early-disabling neurodegenerative disease, part of a subgroup of autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxia, in which oculomotor symptoms (e.g., increased saccade latency and hypometria) and executive function deficits have been described. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of oculomotor symptoms on cognitive performance and, in particular, over reading in 2 Italian siblings affected by ataxia with oculomotor apraxia type 2.

Methods: The neuropsychological profiles and the oculomotor patterns during nonverbal and verbal tasks were recorded and analyzed.

Results: Saccadic intrusions and/or nystagmus were observed in all eye movement tasks. The neuropsychological profiles were substantially preserved, with only subtle deficits that affected visuomotor integration and attention. Reading ability decreased and became impaired. The reading scan was disturbed by saccadic intrusions and/or nystagmus. However, an ad hoc reading task demonstrated that deficits appeared only when the items that were displayed enhanced oculomotor requests. The preservation of lexical-semantic processes confirmed that the reading disability was caused by oculomotor deficits, not cognitive problems.

Conclusion: Present findings indicate that in patients who are affected by ataxia with oculomotor apraxia type 2, performance on neuropsychological tests, especially those that require rapid performance and eye or hand-eye control, must be analyzed with respect to oculomotor components.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2012.02.007DOI Listing
March 2013

The cerebellar cognitive profile.

Brain 2011 Dec 27;134(Pt 12):3672-86. Epub 2011 Oct 27.

Department of Psychology, University of Rome La Sapienza, 00185 Rome, Italy.

The cerebellar role in non-motor functions is supported by the clinical finding that lesions confined to cerebellum produce the cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome. Nevertheless, there is no consensus regarding the overall cerebellar contribution to cognition. Among other reasons, this deficiency might be attributed to the small sample sizes and narrow breadths of existing studies on lesions in cerebellar patients, which have focused primarily on a single cognitive domain. The aim of this study was to examine the expression of cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome with regard to lesion topography in a large group of subjects with cerebellar damage. We retrospectively analysed charts from patients in the Ataxia Lab of Santa Lucia Foundation between 1997 and 2007. Of 223 charts, 156 were included in the study, focusing on the importance of the cerebellum in cognition and the relevance of lesion topography in defining the cognitive domains that have been affected. Vascular topography and the involvement of deep cerebellar nuclei were the chief factors that determined the cognitive profile. Of the various cognitive domains, the ability to sequence was the most adversely affected in nearly all subjects, supporting the hypothesis that sequencing is a basic cerebellar operation.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awr266DOI Listing
December 2011

The neuropsychological profile of cerebellar damage: The sequencing hypothesis.

Cortex 2011 Jan 6;47(1):137-44. Epub 2009 Sep 6.

Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.

View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2009.08.011DOI Listing
January 2011

Cerebellum and detection of sequences, from perception to cognition.

Cerebellum 2008 ;7(4):611-5

Experimental Neurorehabilitation and Ataxia Labs, IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome, Italy.

The idea that cerebellar processing is required in a variety of cognitive functions is well accepted in the neuroscience community. Nevertheless, the definition of its role in the different cognitive domains remains rather elusive. Current data on perceptual and cognitive processing are reviewed with special emphasis on cerebellar sequencing properties. Evidences, obtained by neurophysiological and neuropsychological lesion studies, converge in highlighting comparison of temporal and spatial information for sequence detection as the key stone of cerebellar functioning across modalities. The hypothesis that sequence detection might represent the main contribution of cerebellar physiology to brain functioning is presented and the possible clinical significance in cerebellar-related diseases discussed.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12311-008-0060-xDOI Listing
May 2009

Phonological short-term store impairment after cerebellar lesion: a single case study.

Neuropsychologia 2008 7;46(7):1940-53. Epub 2008 Feb 7.

Department of Psychology, University of Rome La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

The cerebellum is a recent addition to the growing list of cerebral areas involved in the multifaceted structural system that sustains verbal working memory (vWM), but its contribution is still a matter of debate. Here, we present a patient with a selective deficit of vWM resulting from a bilateral cerebellar ischemic lesion. After this acute event, the patient had impaired immediate and delayed word-serial recall and auditory-verbal delayed recognition. The digit span, however, was completely preserved. To investigate the cerebellar contribution to vWM, four experiments addressing the function of different vWM phonological loop components were performed 18 months after the lesion, and results were compared with normative data or, when needed, with a small group of matched controls. In Experiment 1, digit span was assessed with different presentation and response modalities using lists of digits of varying lengths. In Experiment 2, the articulatory rehearsal system was analyzed by measurement of word length and articulatory suppression effects. Experiment 3 was devoted to analyzing the phonological short-term store (ph-STS) by the recency effect, the phonological similarity effect, short-term forgetting, and unattended speech. Data suggested a possible key role of the semantic component of the processed material, which was tested in Experiment 4, in which word and nonword-serial recall with or without interpolating activity were analyzed. The patient showed noticeably reduced scores in the tasks that primarily or exclusively engaged activity of the ph-STS, namely those of Experiment 3, and good performance in the tests that investigated the recirculation of verbal information. This pattern of results implicates the ph-STS as the cognitive locus of the patient's deficit. This report demonstrates a cerebellar role in encoding and/or strengthening the phonological traces in vWM.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.01.024DOI Listing
August 2008