Publications by authors named "Veronika Schöpf"

63 Publications

More Than Smell-COVID-19 Is Associated With Severe Impairment of Smell, Taste, and Chemesthesis.

Authors:
Valentina Parma Kathrin Ohla Maria G Veldhuizen Masha Y Niv Christine E Kelly Alyssa J Bakke Keiland W Cooper Cédric Bouysset Nicola Pirastu Michele Dibattista Rishemjit Kaur Marco Tullio Liuzza Marta Y Pepino Veronika Schöpf Veronica Pereda-Loth Shannon B Olsson Richard C Gerkin Paloma Rohlfs Domínguez Javier Albayay Michael C Farruggia Surabhi Bhutani Alexander W Fjaeldstad Ritesh Kumar Anna Menini Moustafa Bensafi Mari Sandell Iordanis Konstantinidis Antonella Di Pizio Federica Genovese Lina Öztürk Thierry Thomas-Danguin Johannes Frasnelli Sanne Boesveldt Özlem Saatci Luis R Saraiva Cailu Lin Jérôme Golebiowski Liang-Dar Hwang Mehmet Hakan Ozdener Maria Dolors Guàrdia Christophe Laudamiel Marina Ritchie Jan Havlícek Denis Pierron Eugeni Roura Marta Navarro Alissa A Nolden Juyun Lim Katherine L Whitcroft Lauren R Colquitt Camille Ferdenzi Evelyn V Brindha Aytug Altundag Alberto Macchi Alexia Nunez-Parra Zara M Patel Sébastien Fiorucci Carl M Philpott Barry C Smith Johan N Lundström Carla Mucignat Jane K Parker Mirjam van den Brink Michael Schmuker Florian Ph S Fischmeister Thomas Heinbockel Vonnie D C Shields Farhoud Faraji Enrique Santamaría William E A Fredborg Gabriella Morini Jonas K Olofsson Maryam Jalessi Noam Karni Anna D'Errico Rafieh Alizadeh Robert Pellegrino Pablo Meyer Caroline Huart Ben Chen Graciela M Soler Mohammed K Alwashahi Antje Welge-Lüssen Jessica Freiherr Jasper H B de Groot Hadar Klein Masako Okamoto Preet Bano Singh Julien W Hsieh Danielle R Reed Thomas Hummel Steven D Munger John E Hayes

Chem Senses 2020 10;45(7):609-622

Department of Food Science, The Pennsylvania State University, Erickson Food Science Building, University Park, PA, USA.

Recent anecdotal and scientific reports have provided evidence of a link between COVID-19 and chemosensory impairments, such as anosmia. However, these reports have downplayed or failed to distinguish potential effects on taste, ignored chemesthesis, and generally lacked quantitative measurements. Here, we report the development, implementation, and initial results of a multilingual, international questionnaire to assess self-reported quantity and quality of perception in 3 distinct chemosensory modalities (smell, taste, and chemesthesis) before and during COVID-19. In the first 11 days after questionnaire launch, 4039 participants (2913 women, 1118 men, and 8 others, aged 19-79) reported a COVID-19 diagnosis either via laboratory tests or clinical assessment. Importantly, smell, taste, and chemesthetic function were each significantly reduced compared to their status before the disease. Difference scores (maximum possible change ±100) revealed a mean reduction of smell (-79.7 ± 28.7, mean ± standard deviation), taste (-69.0 ± 32.6), and chemesthetic (-37.3 ± 36.2) function during COVID-19. Qualitative changes in olfactory ability (parosmia and phantosmia) were relatively rare and correlated with smell loss. Importantly, perceived nasal obstruction did not account for smell loss. Furthermore, chemosensory impairments were similar between participants in the laboratory test and clinical assessment groups. These results show that COVID-19-associated chemosensory impairment is not limited to smell but also affects taste and chemesthesis. The multimodal impact of COVID-19 and the lack of perceived nasal obstruction suggest that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus strain 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection may disrupt sensory-neural mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/chemse/bjaa041DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7337664PMC
October 2020

Sarcopenia in Neurological Patients: Standard Values for Temporal Muscle Thickness and Muscle Strength Evaluation.

J Clin Med 2020 Apr 28;9(5). Epub 2020 Apr 28.

Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Temporal muscle thickness (TMT) was investigated as a novel surrogate marker on MRI examinations of the brain, to detect patients who may be at risk for sarcopenia. TMT was analyzed in a retrospective, normal collective cohort ( = 624), to establish standard reference values. These reference values were correlated with grip strength measurements and body mass index (BMI) in 422 healthy volunteers and validated in a prospective cohort ( = 130) of patients with various neurological disorders. Pearson correlation revealed a strong association between TMT and grip strength (retrospective cohort, ρ = 0.746; < 0.001; prospective cohort, ρ = 0.649; < 0.001). A low or no association was found between TMT and age (retrospective cohort, R correlation coefficient 0.20; < 0.001; prospective cohort, ρ = -0.199; = 0.023), or BMI (retrospective cohort, ρ = 0.116; = 0.042; prospective cohort, ρ = 0.227; = 0.009), respectively. Male patients with temporal wasting and unintended weight loss, respectively, showed significantly lower TMT values ( = 0.04 and = 0.015, unpaired -test). TMT showed a high correlation with muscle strength in healthy individuals and in patients with various neurological disorders. Therefore, TMT should be integrated into the diagnostic workup of neurological patients, to prevent, delay, or treat sarcopenia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9051272DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7288067PMC
April 2020

Human body odor increases familiarity for faces during encoding-retrieval task.

Hum Brain Mapp 2020 05 6;41(7):1904-1919. Epub 2020 Jan 6.

Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.

Odors can increase memory performance when presented as context during both encoding and retrieval phases. Since information from different sensory modalities is integrated into a unified conceptual knowledge, we hypothesize that the social information from body odors and faces would be integrated during encoding. The integration of such social information would enhance retrieval more so than when the encoding occurs in the context of common odors. To examine this hypothesis and to further explore the underlying neural correlates of this behavior, we have conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging study in which participants performed an encoding-retrieval memory task for faces during the presentation of common odor, body odor or clean air. At the behavioral level, results show that participants were less biased and faster in recognizing faces when presented in concomitance with the body odor compared to the common odor. At the neural level, the encoding of faces in the body odor condition, compared to common odor and clean air conditions, showed greater activation in areas related to associative memory (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex), odor perception and multisensory integration (orbitofrontal cortex). These results suggest that face and body odor information were integrated and as a result, participants were faster in recognizing previously presented material.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.24920DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7268037PMC
May 2020

Exploring the Archaeome: Detection of Archaeal Signatures in the Human Body.

Front Microbiol 2019 5;10:2796. Epub 2019 Dec 5.

Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.

Due to their fundamentally different biology, archaea are consistently overlooked in conventional microbiome surveys. Using amplicon sequencing, we evaluated methodological set-ups to detect archaea in samples from five different body sites: respiratory tract (nasal cavity), digestive tract (mouth, appendix, and stool) and skin. With optimized protocols, the detection of archaeal ribosomal sequence variants (RSVs) was increased from one (found in currently used, so-called "universal" approach) to 81 RSVs in a representative sample set. The results from this extensive primer-evaluation led to the identification of the primer pair combination 344f-1041R/519F-806R which performed superior for the analysis of the archaeome of gastrointestinal tract, oral cavity and skin. The proposed protocol might not only prove useful for analyzing the human archaeome in more detail but could also be used for other holobiont samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.02796DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6906140PMC
December 2019

The microbiome of the upper respiratory tract in health and disease.

BMC Biol 2019 11 7;17(1):87. Epub 2019 Nov 7.

Diagnostic and Research Institute of Hygiene, Microbiology and Environmental Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Neue Stiftingtalstraße 6, 8010, Graz, Austria.

The human upper respiratory tract (URT) offers a variety of niches for microbial colonization. Local microbial communities are shaped by the different characteristics of the specific location within the URT, but also by the interaction with both external and intrinsic factors, such as ageing, diseases, immune responses, olfactory function, and lifestyle habits such as smoking. We summarize here the current knowledge about the URT microbiome in health and disease, discuss methodological issues, and consider the potential of the nasal microbiome to be used for medical diagnostics and as a target for therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12915-019-0703-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6836414PMC
November 2019

Noninvasive Differentiation of Meningiomas and Dural Metastases Using Intratumoral Vascularity Obtained by Arterial Spin Labeling.

Clin Neuroradiol 2020 Sep 26;30(3):599-605. Epub 2019 Jun 26.

Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-guided Therapy, Central Nervous System Tumor Unit (CCC-CNS), Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

Purpose: Using conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques, the imaging features of meningiomas and dural metastases overlap and a differentiation between these tumor entities therefore remains difficult, particularly in patients with a known primary neoplasm. The purpose of this study was to explore the potential role of normalized vascular intratumoral signal intensity values (nVITS) obtained from pulsed arterial spin labeling (PASL) to differentiate between meningiomas and dural metastases.

Methods: In this study PASL was performed in 46 patients with meningiomas (n = 30) and dural metastases (n = 16) on a 3T scanner, in addition to the routine diagnostic imaging protocol. The ratio between the vascular signal intensity of the tumor and the contralateral normal white matter obtained by PASL images was defined as nVITS.

Results: Meningiomas showed significantly higher nVITS values compared to dural metastases (p < 0.001). The optimal nVITS cut-off value to differentiate between the 2 tumor entities was 1.989, with 100% sensitivity and 81.2% specificity.

Conclusion: The nVITS values obtained by PASL provide a fast and noninvasive MRI technique with which to differentiate between meningiomas and dural metastases in a routine clinical setting based on tumor vascularity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00062-019-00808-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7471110PMC
September 2020

Diffusion tensor imaging of the normal-appearing deep gray matter in primary and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Acta Radiol 2020 Jan 6;61(1):85-92. Epub 2019 Jun 6.

Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0284185119852735DOI Listing
January 2020

When to collect resting-state data: The influence of odor on post-task resting-state connectivity.

Neuroimage 2019 05 25;191:361-366. Epub 2019 Feb 25.

Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria; BioTechMed, Graz, Austria.

The human brain networks at rest represent spontaneous activity that is highly correlated between different brain regions. Previous studies have shown that these resting-state networks are flexible and dynamic, and they can be affected by performance of different types of tasks. Moreover, it has been suggested that the re-activation of a task-related brain network during rest promotes learning and improves the expertise on that task. However, it is still unclear whether the presence of different sensory information in the on-task state affects functional connectivity in subsequent resting-state fMRI even though the perception of the sensory information did not induce significant behavioral effects. To clarify this issue, we compared pre- and post-task resting-state fMRI of two groups of participants performing the same task either with an odor context (ODOR group) or without an odor context (AIR group). Seed-based functional connectivity analyses were performed with orbitofrontal cortex, piriform cortex and working-memory core network as seeds. The results showed that an odor context presented during an encoding task induced significant changes in the functional connectivity only within the olfactory network of the post-task resting-state compared to the same post-task situation without previous odor context. No significant difference in functional connectivity were found for the working-memory core network. This evidence emphasizes how the sensory context, in which a task is performed, is relevant for understanding the observed changes of functional connectivity during rest.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.02.050DOI Listing
May 2019

High correlation of temporal muscle thickness with lumbar skeletal muscle cross-sectional area in patients with brain metastases.

PLoS One 2018 29;13(11):e0207849. Epub 2018 Nov 29.

Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Objectives: This study aimed to assess the correlation of temporal muscle thickness (TMT), measured on routine cranial magnetic resonance (MR) images, with lumbar skeletal muscles obtained on computed tomography (CT) images in brain metastasis patients to establish a new parameter estimating skeletal muscle mass on brain MR images.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the cross-sectional area (CSA) of skeletal muscles at the level of the third lumbar vertebra on computed tomography scans and correlated these values with TMT on MR images of the brain in two independent cohorts of 93 lung cancer and 61 melanoma patients (overall: 154 patients) with brain metastases.

Results: Pearson correlation revealed a strong association between mean TMT and CSA in lung cancer and melanoma patients with brain metastases (0.733; p<0.001). The two study cohorts did not differ significantly in patient characteristics, including age (p = 0.661), weight (p = 0.787), and height (p = 0.123). However, TMT and CSA measures differed significantly between male and female patients in both lung cancer and melanoma patients with brain metastases (p<0.001).

Conclusion: Our data indicate that TMT, measured on routine cranial MR images, is a useful surrogate parameter for the estimation of skeletal muscle mass in patients with brain metastases. Thus, TMT may be useful for prognostic assessment, treatment considerations, and stratification or a selection factor for clinical trials in patients with brain metastases. Further studies are needed to assess the association between TMT and clinical frailty parameters, and the usefulness of TMT in patients with primary brain tumors.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0207849PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6264824PMC
April 2019

Investigating Sex-Specific Characteristics of Nicotine Addiction Using Metabolic and Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Eur Addict Res 2018 16;24(6):267-277. Epub 2018 Nov 16.

Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria,

Nicotine addiction is known to modulate neurotransmission and alter the brain structure. The detrimental effect of nicotine is more prominent in females as compared to males. This study sought to examine the sex-specific influence of nicotine addiction on gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) and the white matter (WM) microstructure. Sixty healthy subjects (smokers/non-smokers) underwent structural and metabolic magnetic resonance imaging scans. Results showed alterations in WM integrity (measured as changes in fractional anisotropy [FA] and GABA in smokers versus non-smokers and females versus males. No overall significant smoking and sex-specific interactions were observed in this study. However, on comparing female smokers with female non-smokers, significantly higher GABA and FA values were observed in female smokers. However, GABA and FA values did not differ significantly when male smokers were compared against male non-smokers. Our results provide a further rationale to investigate the impact of nicotine on central GABAergic function and WM integrity, in particular due to the potential risk for females to experience depressive/anxiety symptoms during smoking cessation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000494260DOI Listing
April 2019

Modulation of resting-state network connectivity by verbal divergent thinking training.

Brain Cogn 2018 12 25;128:1-6. Epub 2018 Oct 25.

Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria; BioTechMed, Graz, Austria.

A growing body of evidence suggests that creativity is associated with functional connectivity across widespread neural networks, including regions associated with executive processes and cognitive control, along with regions linked to the default mode network (DMN) of the brain. This study investigated whether a three-week verbal divergent thinking training modulates functional connectivity in networks that have been related to creativity. In a task-based functional imaging study (Fink et al., 2015), the employed creativity training was found to modulate brain activity in regions closely associated with semantic memory demands. Hence, the specific aim of this study was to assess whether the observed task-related brain changes relate to changes in functional connectivity patterns of the brain at rest, as assessed by independent component analysis. The participants were tested at three time points with an inter-test interval of four weeks each, and randomly assigned to two groups which received the verbal creativity training time-delayed. Findings revealed that successful training of verbal creativity was mirrored by functional connectivity changes in the DMN, sensorimotor and auditory network, and the attention network. These rather global changes in resting-state functional connectivity supplement the findings of task-based fMRI, where changes in more task specific brain regions were found.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2018.10.008DOI Listing
December 2018

Temporal muscle thickness is an independent prognostic marker in melanoma patients with newly diagnosed brain metastases.

J Neurooncol 2018 Oct 14;140(1):173-178. Epub 2018 Jul 14.

Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prognostic relevance of temporal muscle thickness (TMT) in melanoma patients with newly diagnosed brain metastases.

Methods: TMT was retrospectively assessed in 146 melanoma patients with newly diagnosed brain metastases on cranial magnetic resonance images. Chart review was used to retrieve clinical parameters, including disease-specific graded prognostic assessment (DS-GPA) and survival times.

Results: Patients with a TMT > median showed a statistically significant increase in survival time (13 months) compared to patients with a TMT < median (5 months; p < 0.001; log rank test). A Cox regression model revealed that the risk of death was increased by 27.9% with every millimeter reduction in TMT. In the multivariate analysis, TMT (HR 0.724; 95% 0.642-0.816; < 0.001) and DS-GPA (HR 1.214; 95% CI 1.023-1.439; p = 0.026) showed a statistically significant correlation with overall survival.

Conclusion: TMT is an independent predictor of survival in melanoma patients with brain metastases. This parameter may aid in patient selection for clinical trials or to the choice of different treatment options based on the determination of frail patient populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-018-2948-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6182383PMC
October 2018

MRI-based quantification of residual fibroglandular tissue of the breast after conservative mastectomies.

Eur J Radiol 2018 Jul 26;104:1-7. Epub 2018 Apr 26.

Division of Molecular and Gender Imaging, Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-Guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:

Purpose: Skin-sparing and nipple-sparing mastectomies (SSM; NSM) remove the breast's fibroglandular tissue (FGT), thereby reducing breast cancer risk. The postoperative presence of residual FGT (RFGT) is associated with remaining cancer risk. This study evaluated the role of MRI in the quantitative assessment of RFGT and its impact on the estimation of the remaining breast cancer risk.

Methods: The postoperative MRI scans (following EUSOMA recommendations) of 58 patients who had undergone SSM or NSM between 2003 and 2013, as well as preoperative MRI scans that were available in 25 of these patients, were retrospectively evaluated for the presence and location of RFGT by three radiologists. Two different observers quantitatively assessed the volume and percentage of retromamillary and other RFGT (RFGT and RFGT) were assessed. The Fisher's exact test, the Student's t-test, and intraclass coherence were used to compare patient groups and to assess reproducibility.

Results: RFGT was found in 20% of all breasts and significantly more frequently after NSM than SSM (50% vs. 13%, p = .003). RFGT and RFGT were more prevalent after NSM (p < 0.001; p = .127). RFGT ranged from 0.5 to 26% of the preoperative FGT, with higher percentages after NSM than SSM (p = .181).

Conclusions: The prevalence and percentage of RFGT found on MRI indicate a considerable remaining postoperative breast cancer risk in some women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejrad.2018.04.028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7547401PMC
July 2018

Influence of 4-week multi-strain probiotic administration on resting-state functional connectivity in healthy volunteers.

Eur J Nutr 2019 Aug 30;58(5):1821-1827. Epub 2018 May 30.

Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Universitätsplatz 2, 8010, Graz, Austria.

Purpose: Experimental investigations in rodents have contributed significantly to our current understanding of the potential importance of the gut microbiome and brain interactions for neurotransmitter expression, neurodevelopment, and behaviour. However, clinical evidence to support such interactions is still scarce. The present study used a double-blind, randomized, pre- and post-intervention assessment design to investigate the effects of a 4-week multi-strain probiotic administration on whole-brain functional and structural connectivity in healthy volunteers.

Methods: Forty-five healthy volunteers were recruited for this study and were divided equally into three groups (PRP: probiotic, PLP: placebo, and CON: control). All the participants underwent resting-state functional MRI and diffusion MRI brain scans twice during the course of study, at the beginning (time point 1) and after 4 weeks (time point 2). MRI data were acquired using a 3T whole-body MR system (Magnetom Skyra, Siemens, Germany).

Results: Functional connectivity (FC) changes were observed in the default mode network (DMN), salience network (SN), and middle and superior frontal gyrus network (MFGN) in the PRP group as compared to the PLP and CON groups. PRP group showed a significant decrease in FC in MFGN (in frontal pole and frontal medial cortex) and in DMN (in frontal lobe) as compared to CON and PLP groups, respectively. Further, significant increase in FC in SN (in cingulate gyrus and precuneus cortex) was also observed in PRP group as compared to CON group. The significance threshold was set to p < 0.05 FWE corrected. No significant structural differences were observed between the three groups.

Conclusions: This work provides new insights into the role of a multi-strain probiotic administration in modulating the behaviour, which is reflected as changes in the FC in healthy volunteers. This study motivates future investigations into the role of probiotics in context of major depression and stress disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00394-018-1732-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6647073PMC
August 2019

Probiotics drive gut microbiome triggering emotional brain signatures.

Gut Microbes 2018 11 14;9(6):486-496. Epub 2018 Jun 14.

a Department of Neuroimaging, Institute of Psychology , University of Graz , Graz , Austria.

Experimental manipulation of the gut microbiome was found to modify emotional and cognitive behavior, neurotransmitter expression and brain function in rodents, but corresponding human data remain scarce. The present double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised study aimed at investigating the effects of 4 weeks' probiotic administration on behavior, brain function and gut microbial composition in healthy volunteers. Forty-five healthy participants divided equally into three groups (probiotic, placebo and no intervention) underwent functional MRI (emotional decision-making and emotional recognition memory tasks). In addition, stool samples were collected to investigate the gut microbial composition. Probiotic administration for 4 weeks was associated with changes in brain activation patterns in response to emotional memory and emotional decision-making tasks, which were also accompanied by subtle shifts in gut microbiome profile. Microbiome composition mirrored self-reported behavioral measures and memory performance. This is the first study reporting a distinct influence of probiotic administration at behavioral, neural, and microbiome levels at the same time in healthy volunteers. The findings provide a basis for future investigations into the role of the gut microbiota and potential therapeutic application of probiotics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19490976.2018.1460015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6287679PMC
November 2018

Severity of olfactory deficits is reflected in functional brain networks-An fMRI study.

Hum Brain Mapp 2018 08 30;39(8):3166-3177. Epub 2018 Mar 30.

Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Even though deficits in olfactory function affect a considerable part of the population, the neuronal basis of olfactory deficits remains scarcely investigated. To achieve a better understanding of how smell loss affects neural activation patterns and functional networks, we set out to investigate patients with olfactory dysfunction using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and olfactory stimulation. We used patients' scores on a standardized olfactory test as continuous measure of olfactory function. 48 patients (mean olfactory threshold discrimination identification (TDI) score = 16.33, SD = 6.4, range 6 - 28.5) were investigated. Overall, patients showed piriform cortex activation during odor stimulation compared to pure sniffing. Group independent component analysis indicated that the recruitment of three networks during odor stimulation was correlated with olfactory function: a sensory processing network (including regions such as insula, thalamus and piriform cortex), a cerebellar network and an occipital network. Interestingly, recruitment of these networks during pure sniffing was related to olfactory function as well. Our results support previous findings that sniffing alone can activate olfactory regions. Extending this, we found that the severity of olfactory deficits is related to the extent to which neural networks are recruited both during olfactory stimulation and pure sniffing. This indicates that olfactory deficits are not only reflected in changes in specific olfactory areas but also in the recruitment of occipital and cerebellar networks. These findings pave the way for future investigations on whether characteristics of these networks might be of use for the prediction of disease prognosis or of treatment success.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.24067DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6866458PMC
August 2018

Substantia nigra fractional anisotropy changes confirm the PD at-risk status of patients with idiopathic smell loss.

Parkinsonism Relat Disord 2018 05 17;50:113-116. Epub 2018 Feb 17.

Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology, TU Dresden, Dresden, Germany.

Introduction: Individuals with unexplained smell loss constitute an at-risk population for the development of Parkinson's disease (PD). Currently, no specific MRI patterns are known for early PD diagnosis. In this study, we measured the fractional anisotropy (FA) in the substantia nigra (SN) in PD patients, in patients with idiopathic smell loss, and in healthy controls.

Methods: All subjects underwent extensive olfactory testing and MR imaging data were obtained to explore SN diffusion characteristics. The SN regions were manually identified by two independent raters on the individual imaging data.

Results: FA measurements in the SN revealed significant group differences, with reduced values clearly distinguishing PD patients and patients with idiopathic smell loss from healthy controls.

Conclusion: These findings indicate a reduced intrinsic integrity of the SN in PD at-risk subjects and support the risk status of patients with idiopathic smell loss.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parkreldis.2018.02.026DOI Listing
May 2018

The nasal microbiome mirrors and potentially shapes olfactory function.

Sci Rep 2018 01 22;8(1):1296. Epub 2018 Jan 22.

BioTechMed-Graz, Graz, Austria.

Olfactory function is a key sense for human well-being and health, with olfactory dysfunction having been linked to serious diseases. As the microbiome is involved in normal olfactory epithelium development, we explored the relationship between olfactory function (odor threshold, discrimination, identification) and nasal microbiome in 67 healthy volunteers. Twenty-eight subjects were found to have normal olfactory function, 29 had a particularly good sense of smell ("good normosmics") and 10 were hyposmic. Microbial community composition differed significantly between the three olfactory groups. In particular, butyric acid-producing microorganisms were found to be associated with impaired olfactory function. We describe the first insights of the potential interplay between the olfactory epithelium microbial community and olfactory function, and suggest that the microbiome composition is able to mirror and potentially shape olfactory function by producing strong odor compounds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-19438-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5778015PMC
January 2018

Detecting cam-type deformities on plain radiographs: what is the optimal lateral view?

Arch Orthop Trauma Surg 2017 Dec 16;137(12):1699-1705. Epub 2017 Sep 16.

Department of Orthopaedics, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

Purpose: Radial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the most accurate diagnostic tool in assessing cam-type femoroacetabular impingement. Plain radiographs, however, are useful for the initial diagnosis in the daily practice and there is still debate regarding the optimal lateral view. The purpose of this study was to investigate the reliability of detecting cam deformities using the frog-leg view or the 45° Dunn view by comparison with radial MRI.

Material: 66 consecutive hips with plain radiographs (36 with AP and frog-leg views, 30 with AP and 45° Dunn views) and radial MRI were assessed. Alpha angle measurements were obtained both for radiographs and for radial MRI reformats by two investigators. Statistics included frequency analysis, bivariate linear correlation analyses, and cross-table analyses testing the sensitivity and specificity of the radiographic projections for detecting an alpha angle larger than 55°.

Results: The intra-class correlation revealed excellent agreement between the two raters [ICC = 0.959, CI (0.943; 0.972)]. 50% (33/66) had the maximum alpha angle in the superior-anterior aspect of the femoral head-neck junction. Cam deformity was found in 40/66 cases (61%) in radial MRI. Pearson correlation demonstrated that the 45° Dunn view was most accurate for the superior-anterior aspect (0.730, p < 0.05). The frog-leg view was best suited for the anterior aspect (0.703, p < 0.05). The sensitivity for detecting cam deformities in the 45° Dunn view was 84 vs 62% in the frog-leg view.

Conclusion: The frog-leg lateral radiograph does not provide reliable measurements of the alpha angle. This study highlights the importance of the 45° Dunn view for early detection of femoroacetabular cam-type impingement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00402-017-2793-9DOI Listing
December 2017

Neuronal correlates of cognitive function in patients with childhood cerebellar tumor lesions.

PLoS One 2017 10;12(7):e0180200. Epub 2017 Jul 10.

Comprehensive Cancer Center-CNS Tumors Unit (CCC-CNS), Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

While it has been shown that cerebellar tumor lesions have an impact on cognitive functions, the extent to which they shape distant neuronal pathways is still largely undescribed. Thus, the present neuroimaging study was designed to investigate different aspects of cognitive function and their neuronal correlates in patients after childhood cerebellar tumor surgery. An alertness task, a working memory task and an incompatibility task were performed by 11 patients after childhood cerebellar tumor surgery and 17 healthy controls. Neuronal correlates as reflected by alterations in functional networks during tasks were assessed using group independent component analysis. We were able to identify eight networks involved during task performance: default mode network, precuneus, anterior salience network, executive control network, visual network, auditory and sensorimotor network and a cerebellar network. For the most 'basic' cognitive tasks, a weaker task-modulation of default mode network, left executive control network and the cerebellar network was observed in patients compared to controls. Results for higher-order tasks are in line with a partial restoration of networks responsible for higher-order task execution. Our results provide tentative evidence that the synchronicity of brain activity in patients was at least partially restored in the course of neuroplastic reorganization, particularly for networks related to higher-order cognitive processes. The complex activation patterns underline the importance of testing several cognitive functions to assess the specificity of cognitive deficits and neuronal reorganization processes after brain lesions.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0180200PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5503240PMC
September 2017

Anosmia-A Clinical Review.

Chem Senses 2017 Sep;42(7):513-523

Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of Connecticut, 358 Mansfield Road, Box U-101 Storrs, CT 06269-2101, USA.

Anosmia and hyposmia, the inability or decreased ability to smell, is estimated to afflict 3-20% of the population. Risk of olfactory dysfunction increases with old age and may also result from chronic sinonasal diseases, severe head trauma, and upper respiratory infections, or neurodegenerative diseases. These disorders impair the ability to sense warning odors in foods and the environment, as well as hinder the quality of life related to social interactions, eating, and feelings of well-being. This article reports and extends on a clinical update commencing at the 2016 Association for Chemoreception Sciences annual meeting. Included were reports from: a patient perspective on losing the sense of smell with information on Fifth Sense, a nonprofit advocacy organization for patients with olfactory disorders; an otolaryngologist's review of clinical evaluation, diagnosis, and management/treatment of anosmia; and researchers' review of recent advances in potential anosmia treatments from fundamental science, in animal, cellular, or genetic models. As limited evidence-based treatments exist for anosmia, dissemination of information on anosmia-related health risks is needed. This could include feasible and useful screening measures for olfactory dysfunction, appropriate clinical evaluation, and patient counseling to avoid harm as well as manage health and quality of life with anosmia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/chemse/bjx025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5863566PMC
September 2017

Olfactory Loss and Regain: Lessons for Neuroplasticity.

Neuroscientist 2018 02 1;24(1):22-35. Epub 2017 May 1.

1 Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.

For the visual and auditory senses, an array of studies has reported on neuronal reorganization processes after sensory loss. In contrast to this, neuroplasticity has been investigated only scarcely after loss of the olfactory sense. The present review focuses on the current extent of literature on structural and functional neuroplasticity effects after loss, with a focus on magnetic resonance imaging-based studies. We also include findings on the regain of the olfactory sense, for example after successful olfactory training. Existing studies indicate that widespread structural changes beyond the level of the olfactory bulb occur in the brain after loss of the olfactory sense. Moreover, on a functional level, loss of olfactory input not only entails changes in olfaction-related brain regions but also in the trigeminal system. Existing evidence should be strengthened by future longitudinal studies, a more thorough investigation of the neuronal consequences of congenital anosmia, and the application of state-of-the-art neuroimaging methods, such as connectivity analyses and joint analyses of brain structure and function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1073858417703910DOI Listing
February 2018

Assessment of Olfactory Memory in Olfactory Dysfunction.

Perception 2017 Mar-Apr;46(3-4):516-529. Epub 2016 Dec 18.

Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Austria; BioTechMed, Graz, Austria.

To assess all clinically relevant components of olfactory perception, examinations for olfactory sensitivity, discrimination, and identification are performed. Besides the standard perceptual test battery, episodic olfactory memory might offer additional information about olfactory abilities relative to these standard clinical tests. As both olfactory deficits and memory deficits are early symptoms in neurodegenerative disorders, olfactory memory may be of particular interest. However, to date little is known about episodic olfactory memory performance in patients with decreased olfactory function. This study includes the investigation of olfactory memory performance in 14 hyposmic patients (8 female, mean age 52.6 years) completing two episodic odor memory tests (Sniffin' Test of Odor Memory and Odor Memory Test). To control for a general impairment in memory function, a verbal and a figural memory test were carried out. A regression model with multiple predictors was calculated for both odor memory tests separately. Odor identification was identified as the only significant predictor for both odor memory tasks. From our results, we conclude that currently available olfactory memory tests are highly influenced by odor identification abilities, implying the need for the development and validation of additional tests in this field which could serve as additional olfactory perception variables for clinical assessment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0301006616683201DOI Listing
May 2017

Disgust-Related Olfactory Processing: The Role of Gender and Trait Disgust.

Perception 2017 Mar-Apr;46(3-4):475-483. Epub 2017 Jan 11.

Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Austria, BioTechMed Graz, Austria.

For the rejection of disgusting and potentially health-threatening food, the sense of smell plays a critical role. We conducted two experiments in order to investigate the role of gender and trait disgust (the temporally stable tendency to experience disgust across different situations) on disgust-related olfactory processing. A total of 40 men and women (Study 1), as well as a group of women divided according to high versus low trait disgust (Study 2, n = 59), were compared with regard to their odor thresholds for carbon disulfide (which smells like spoiled food) and a control stimulus ( n-butanol). The stimuli were rated for experienced arousal, negative valence, and familiarity. In addition, all participants underwent the "Sniffin' Sticks" battery assessing general olfactory performance. We found that women had a lower carbon disulfide threshold and rated this odorant as more unpleasant than men. Trait disgust was neither associated with the detection of the odorant signaling spoilage, nor with general olfactory function. The latter finding questions the role of this personality trait for olfactory-driven food-rejection responses, at least for normosmic individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0301006616689278DOI Listing
May 2017

Survival prediction using temporal muscle thickness measurements on cranial magnetic resonance images in patients with newly diagnosed brain metastases.

Eur Radiol 2017 Aug 3;27(8):3167-3173. Epub 2017 Jan 3.

Comprehensive Cancer Center, Central Nervous System Tumor Unit (CCC-CNS), Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Objectives: To evaluate the prognostic relevance of temporal muscle thickness (TMT) in brain metastasis patients.

Methods: We retrospectively analysed TMT on magnetic resonance (MR) images at diagnosis of brain metastasis in two independent cohorts of 188 breast cancer (BC) and 247 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients (overall: 435 patients).

Results: Survival analysis using a Cox regression model showed a reduced risk of death by 19% with every additional millimetre of baseline TMT in the BC cohort and by 24% in the NSCLC cohort. Multivariate analysis included TMT and diagnosis-specific graded prognostic assessment (DS-GPA) as covariates in the BC cohort (TMT: HR 0.791/CI [0.703-0.889]/p < 0.001; DS-GPA: HR 1.433/CI [1.160-1.771]/p = 0.001), and TMT, gender and DS-GPA in the NSCLC cohort (TMT: HR 0.710/CI [0.646-0.780]/p < 0.001; gender: HR 0.516/CI [0.387-0.687]/p < 0.001; DS-GPA: HR 1.205/CI [1.018-1.426]/p = 0.030).

Conclusion: TMT is easily and reproducibly assessable on routine MR images and is an independent predictor of survival in patients with newly diagnosed brain metastasis from BC and NSCLC. TMT may help to better define frail patient populations and thus facilitate patient selection for therapeutic measures or clinical trials. Further prospective studies are needed to correlate TMT with other clinical frailty parameters of patients.

Key Points: • TMT has an independent prognostic relevance in brain metastasis patients. • It is an easily and reproducibly parameter assessable on routine cranial MRI. • This parameter may aid in patient selection and stratification in clinical trials. • TMT may serve as surrogate marker for sarcopenia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00330-016-4707-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5491578PMC
August 2017

Contraceptive Use Affects Overall Olfactory Performance: Investigation of Estradiol Dosage and Duration of Intake.

PLoS One 2016 21;11(12):e0167520. Epub 2016 Dec 21.

Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.

The influence of female sex steroids on cognitive performance and sensory perception has been investigated for decades. However, previous research that studied olfaction revealed inconsistent results. The main aim of this study was to investigate the effects of different ethinyl estradiol (EE) concentrations of oral contraceptives and duration of intake on olfactory function. Forty-two healthy women, with regular intake of either high or low EE dosage over at least one year and up to 15 years participated in this study. Results revealed a significant concordance between a priori categorization in the two groups with high and low EE dosage and data-driven hierarchical clustering (p = 0.008). Furthermore, significantly higher olfactory performance was observed in women using low-dose products compared to women using high-dosed products (p = 0.019). These findings indicate different effects of pill use with regard to EE concentration. We therefore strongly recommend the acquisition of information about EE dosage of oral contraceptives to reduce potential confounding factors when investigating sensory systems.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0167520PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5176159PMC
July 2017

Fetal Cerebral Magnetic Resonance Imaging Beyond Morphology.

Semin Ultrasound CT MR 2015 Dec 14;36(6):465-75. Epub 2015 Jun 14.

Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

The recent technological advancement of fast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences allowed the inclusion of diffusion tensor imaging, functional MRI, and proton MR spectroscopy in prenatal imaging protocols. These methods provide information beyond morphology and hold the key to improving several fields of human neuroscience and clinical diagnostics. Our review introduces the fundamental works that enabled these imaging techniques, and also highlights the most recent contributions to this emerging field of prenatal diagnostics, such as the structural and functional connectomic approach. We introduce the advanced image processing approaches that are extensively used to tackle fetal or maternal movement-related image artifacts, and which are necessary for the optimal interpretation of such imaging data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.sult.2015.06.003DOI Listing
December 2015

Kinetics of tumor size and peritumoral brain edema before, during, and after systemic therapy in recurrent WHO grade II or III meningioma.

Neuro Oncol 2016 Mar 9;18(3):401-7. Epub 2015 Sep 9.

Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria (J.F., V.S.); Department of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria (V.S.); BioTechMed, Graz, Austria (V.S.); Department of Neurology, University Hospital and University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland (K.S., M.W.); Department of Neuro-oncology, University Hospital, Lille, France (E.L.R.); Breast Cancer Department, Oscar Lambret Center, Lille, France (E.L.R.); PRISM Inserm U1191, Villeneuve D'Ascq, France (E.L.R.); Department of Neuro-Oncology, University of Torino, Torino, Italy (R.R., R.S.); Department of Neurology and Brain Tumor Center, Cantonal Hospital Aarau, Aarau, Switzerland (U.R.); Department of Neurology, University of Essen, Essen, Germany (S.K.); Department of Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria (A.S.B., C.M., M.P.); Department of Oncology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium (P.C.); Department of Medical Oncology, Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori (IRST) IRCCS, Meldola, Italy (M.F.); Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Division of Neurosurgery, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England (C.W.); Neurology Clinic and National Center for Tumor Disease, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany (W.W.); Clinical Cooperation Unit Neurooncology, German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany (W.W.).

Background: The efficacy of systemic antineoplastic therapy on recurrent World Health Organization (WHO) grades II and III meningiomas is unclear.

Methods: We performed a retrospective multicenter analysis of serial cranial MRI in patients with recurrent WHO II and III meningiomas treated with antineoplastic systemic therapies. Growth rates for tumor volume and diameter, as well as change rates for edema size, were calculated for all lesions.

Results: We identified a total of 34 patients (23 atypical, 11 anaplastic meningiomas) with a total of 57 meningioma lesions who had been treated at 6 European institutions. Systemic therapies included bevacizumab, cytotoxic chemotherapy, somatostatin analogues, and tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Overall, tumor growth rates decreased during systemic therapy by 51% for tumor diameter and 14% for tumor volume growth rates compared with the period before initiation of systemic therapy. The most pronounced decrease in meningioma growth rates during systemic therapy was evident in patients treated with bevacizumab, with a reduction of 80% in diameter and 59% in volume growth. Furthermore, a decrease in size of peritumoral edema after initiation of systemic therapy was exclusively observed in patients treated with bevacizumab (-107%).

Conclusions: Our data indicate that systemic therapy may inhibit growth of recurrent WHO grades II and III meningiomas to some extent. In our small cohort, bevacizumab had the most pronounced inhibitory effect on tumor growth, as well as some anti-edematous activity. Prospective studies are needed to better define the role of medical therapies in this tumor type.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/nov183DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4767240PMC
March 2016

Fetal diffusion tensor quantification of brainstem pathology in Chiari II malformation.

Eur Radiol 2016 May 2;26(5):1274-83. Epub 2015 Sep 2.

Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringerguertel 18-20, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

Objectives: This prenatal MRI study evaluated the potential of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics to identify changes in the midbrain of fetuses with Chiari II malformations compared to fetuses with mild ventriculomegaly, hydrocephalus and normal CNS development.

Methods: Fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) were calculated from a region of interest (ROI) in the midbrain of 46 fetuses with normal CNS, 15 with Chiari II malformations, eight with hydrocephalus and 12 with mild ventriculomegaly. Fetuses with different diagnoses were compared group-wise after age-matching. Axial T2W-FSE sequences and single-shot echo planar DTI sequences (16 non-collinear diffusion gradient-encoding directions, b-values of 0 and 700 s/mm(2), 1.5 Tesla) were evaluated retrospectively.

Results: In Chiari II malformations, FA was significantly higher than in age-matched fetuses with a normal CNS (p = .003), while ADC was not significantly different. No differences in DTI metrics between normal controls and fetuses with hydrocephalus or vetriculomegaly were detected.

Conclusions: DTI can detect and quantify parenchymal alterations of the fetal midbrain in Chiari II malformations. Therefore, in cases of enlarged fetal ventricles, FA of the fetal midbrain may contribute to the differentiation between Chiari II malformation and other entities.

Key Points: • FA in the fetal midbrain is elevated in Chiari II malformations. • FA is not elevated in hydrocephalus and mild ventriculomegaly without Chiari II. • Measuring FA may help distinguish different causes for enlarged ventricles prenatally. • Elevated FA may aid in the diagnosis of open neural tube defects. • Elevated FA might contribute to stratification for prenatal surgery in Chiari II.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00330-015-3939-1DOI Listing
May 2016

Multi-subject Manifold Alignment of Functional Network Structures via Joint Diagonalization.

Inf Process Med Imaging 2015 ;24:462-73

Functional magnetic resonance imaging group studies rely on the ability to establish correspondence across individuals. This enables location specific comparison of functional brain characteristics. Registration is often based on morphology and does not take variability of functional localization into account. This can lead to a loss of specificity, or confounds when studying diseases. In this paper we propose multi-subject functional registration by manifold alignment via coupled joint diagonalization. The functional network structure of each subject is encoded in a diffusion map, where functional relationships are decoupled from spatial position. Two-step manifold alignment estimates initial correspondences between functionally equivalent regions. Then, coupled joint diagonalization establishes common eigenbases across all individuals, and refines the functional correspondences. We evaluate our approach on fMRI data acquired during a language paradigm. Experiments demonstrate the benefits in matching accuracy achieved by coupled joint diagonalization compared to previously proposed functional alignment approaches, or alignment based on structural correspondences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-19992-4_36DOI Listing
September 2015