OBIT: Dr. Peter Huttenlocher
By WILLIAM YARDLEY
The New York Times
August 26, 2013
News about our knowledge of the brain and behavior
from Anthony Risser, Ph.D.
Geriatric Research, Education, & Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA, USA Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA.
Background: The substantial proportion of individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD) who have or are expected to develop concomitant cognitive impairment emphasizes the need for large, well-characterized participant cohorts to serve as a basis for research into the causes, manifestations, and potential treatments of cognitive decline in those with PD. Objective: To establish a multi-site clinical core that cognitively and clinically characterizes patients with PD by obtaining quality longitudinal clinical, neuropsychological, and validated biomarker data. Methods: Six hundred nineteen participants with idiopathic PD (68.0 ± 9.1 years, 7.1 ± 6.2 years since diagnosis, 70% males) were enrolled in the Pacific Northwest Udall Center (PANUC), one of the Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinson's Research, Clinical Consortium and underwent comprehensive clinical and neuropsychological assessment. Participants were diagnosed with no cognitive impairment (PD-NCI), mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI), or dementia (PDD) at a diagnostic consensus conference. Results: A substantial proportion of the overall sample was diagnosed with cognitive impairment at baseline: 22% with PDD and 59% with PD-MCI. A higher rate of cognitive impairment was observed in men than women (87% vs. 68%, p < 0.0001), despite a higher level of education. Most patients older than 50 years at the time of diagnosis and with disease duration greater than 10 years were cognitively impaired or demented. Conclusions: The PANUC Clinical Consortium is a clinically and cognitively well-characterized cohort of patients with PD. Baseline cohort characteristics demonstrate a high rate of cognitive impairment in the sample, as well as potential sex differences with regard to cognitive diagnosis. The PANUC Clinical Consortium, with its access to biomarker, genetic, and autopsy data, provides an excellent foundation for detailed research related to cognitive impairment in PD.
PMID: 23938350 [PubMed - in process]
Apathy is commonly described following traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is associated with serious consequences, notably for patients' participation in rehabilitation, family life and later social reintegration. There is strong evidence in the literature of the multidimensional nature of apathy (behavioural, cognitive and emotional), but the processes underlying each dimension are still unclear. The purpose of this article is first, to provide a critical review of the current definitions and instruments used to measure apathy in neurological and psychiatric disorders, and second, to review the prevalence, characteristics, neuroanatomical correlates, relationships with other neurobehavioural disorders and mechanisms of apathy in the TBI population. In this context, we propose a new multidimensional framework that takes into account the various mechanisms at play in the facets of apathy, including not only cognitive factors, especially executive, but also affective factors (e.g., negative mood), motivational variables (e.g., anticipatory pleasure) and aspects related to personal identity (e.g., self-esteem). Future investigations that consider these various factors will help improve the understanding of apathy. This theoretical framework opens up relevant prospects for better clinical assessment and rehabilitation of these frequently described motivational disorders in patients with brain injury.
PMID: 23921453 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
The Era of Memory Engineering Has Arrived
How neuroscientists can call up and change a memory
By Jason Castro
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
How Memory Alters Our Perception of Place
by EMILY BADGER
Aug 01, 2013
Discussions of and recommendations for the training of clinical neuropsychologists exist at the doctoral, internship, and post-doctoral level. With few exceptions, the literature on undergraduate preparations in clinical neuropsychology is sparse and lacks empirical evidence. In the present study, graduate-level faculty and current trainees completed surveys about graduate school preparations. Faculty expectations of minimum and ideal undergraduate training were highest for research methods, statistics, and assessment. Preferences for "goodness of fit" also emerged as important admissions factors. These results offer evidence for desirable undergraduate preparations for advanced study in clinical neuropsychology. Although undergraduate training in psychology is intentionally broad, results from this study suggest that students who desire advanced study in clinical neuropsychology need to tailor their experiences to be competitive in the application process. The findings have implications for prospective graduate students, faculty who train and mentor undergraduates, and faculty who serve on admissions committees.
PMID: 23880098 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
NIH launches neurological drug development projects
Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 8 a.m. EDT