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Creators/Authors contains: "Wilson, Tony W."

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  1. Abstract

    Motor control requires the coordination of spatiotemporally precise neural oscillations in the beta and gamma range within the primary motor cortex (M1). Recent studies have shown that motor performance can be differentially modulated based on the spectral target of noninvasive transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), with gamma-frequency tACS improving motor performance. However, the spectral specificity for eliciting such improvements remains unknown. Herein, we derived the peak movement-related gamma frequency in 25 healthy adults using magnetoencephalography and a motor control paradigm. These individualized peak gamma frequencies were then used for personalized sessions of tACS. All participants completed 4 sessions of high-definition (HD)-tACS (sham, low-, peak-, and high-gamma frequency) over M1 for 20 min during the performance of sequential movements of varying complexity (e.g. tapping adjacent fingers or nonadjacent fingers). Our primary findings demonstrated that individualized tACS dosing over M1 leads to enhanced motor performance/learning (i.e. greatest reduction in time to complete motor sequences) compared to nonspecific gamma-tACS in humans, which suggests that personalized neuromodulation may be advantageous to optimize behavioral outcomes.

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  2. Abstract

    Assessing brain connectivity during rest has become a widely used approach to identify changes in functional brain organization during development. Generally, previous works have demonstrated that brain activity shifts from more local to more distributed processing from childhood into adolescence. However, the majority of those works have been based on functional magnetic resonance imaging measures, whereas multispectral functional connectivity, as measured using magnetoencephalography (MEG), has been far less characterized. In our study, we examined spontaneous cortical activity during eyes-closed rest using MEG in 101 typically developing youth (9–15 years old; 51 females, 50 males). Multispectral MEG images were computed, and connectivity was estimated in the canonical delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma bands using the imaginary part of the phase coherence, which was computed between 200 brain regions defined by the Schaefer cortical atlas. Delta and alpha connectivity matrices formed more communities as a function of increasing age. Connectivity weights predominantly decreased with age in both frequency bands; delta-band differences largely implicated limbic cortical regions and alpha band differences in attention and cognitive networks. These results are consistent with previous work, indicating the functional organization of the brain becomes more segregated across development, and highlight spectral specificity across different canonical networks.

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  3. Abstract

    Alcohol and cannabis use disorder (AUD/CUD) are two of the most common addictive disorders. While studies are beginning to understand the neural changes related to acute and chronic use, few studies have examined the independent effects of AUD and CUD on neural oscillatory activity. We examined 45 adults who reported current use of both cannabis and alcohol. Participants underwent the SCID-V to determine whether they met criteria for AUD and/or CUD. Participants also completed a visual-spatial processing task while undergoing magnetoencephalography (MEG). ANCOVA with a 2 × 2 design was then used to identify the main effects of AUD and CUD on source-level oscillatory activity. Of the 45 adults, 17 met criteria for AUD, and 26 met criteria for CUD. All participants, including comparison groups, reported use of both cannabis and alcohol. Statistical analyses showed a main effect of AUD, such that participants with AUD displayed a blunted occipital alpha (8–16 Hz) response. Post-hoc testing showed this decreased alpha response was related to increased AUD symptoms, above and beyond amount of use. No effects of AUD or CUD were identified in visual theta or gamma activity. In conclusion, AUD was associated with reduced alpha responses and scaled with increasing severity, independent of CUD. These findings indicate that alpha oscillatory activity may play an integral part in networks affected by alcohol addiction.

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  4. Abstract

    Neural oscillations may be sensitive to aspects of brain maturation such as myelination and synaptic density changes. Better characterization of developmental trajectories and reliability is necessary for understanding typical and atypical neurodevelopment. Here, we examined reliability in 110 typically developing children and adolescents (aged 9–17 years) across 2.25 years. From 10 min of magnetoencephalography resting-state data, normalized source spectral power and intraclass correlation coefficients were calculated. We found sex-specific differences in global normalized power, with males showing age-related decreases in delta and theta, along with age-related increases in beta and gamma. Females had fewer significant age-related changes. Structural magnetic resonance imaging revealed that males had more total gray, subcortical gray, and cortical white matter volume. There were significant age-related changes in total gray matter volume with sex-specific and frequency-specific correlations to normalized power. In males, increased total gray matter volume correlated with increased theta and alpha, along with decreased gamma. Split-half reliability was excellent in all frequency bands and source regions. Test–retest reliability ranged from good (alpha) to fair (theta) to poor (remaining bands). While resting-state neural oscillations can have fingerprint-like quality in adults, we show here that neural oscillations continue to evolve in children and adolescents due to brain maturation and neurodevelopmental change.

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  5. Abstract Working memory, the ability to hold items in memory stores for further manipulation, is a higher order cognitive process that supports many aspects of daily life. Childhood trauma has been associated with altered cognitive development including particular deficits in verbal working memory (VWM), but the neural underpinnings remain poorly understood. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) studies of VWM have reliably shown decreased alpha activity in left-lateralized language regions during encoding, and increased alpha activity in parieto-occipital cortices during the maintenance phase. In this study, we examined whether childhood trauma affects behavioral performance and the oscillatory dynamics serving VWM using MEG in a cohort of 9- to 15-year-old youth. All participants completed a modified version of the UCLA Trauma History Profile and then performed a VWM task during MEG. Our findings indicated a sex-by-age-by-trauma three-way interaction, whereby younger females experiencing higher levels of trauma had the lowest d’ accuracy scores and the strongest positive correlations with age (i.e. older performed better). Likewise, females with higher levels of childhood trauma exhibited altered age-related alpha changes during the maintenance phase within the right temporal and parietal cortices. These findings suggest that trauma exposure may alter the developmental trajectory of neural oscillations serving VWM processing in a sex-specific way. 
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  6. Abstract

    The increasing incidence of age‐related comorbidities in people with HIV (PWH) has led to accelerated aging theories. Functional neuroimaging research, including functional connectivity (FC) using resting‐state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs‐fMRI), has identified neural aberrations related to HIV infection. Yet little is known about the relationship between aging and resting‐state FC in PWH. This study included 86 virally suppressed PWH and 99 demographically matched controls spanning 22–72 years old who underwent rs‐fMRI. The independent and interactive effects of HIV and aging on FC were investigated both within‐ and between‐network using a 7‐network atlas. The relationship between HIV‐related cognitive deficits and FC was also examined. We also conducted network‐based statistical analyses using a brain anatomical atlas (n = 512 regions) to ensure similar results across independent approaches. We found independent effects of age and HIV in between‐network FC. The age‐related increases in FC were widespread, while PWH displayed further increases above and beyond aging, particularly between‐network FC of the default‐mode and executive control networks. The results were overall similar using the regional approach. Since both HIV infection and aging are associated with independent increases in between‐network FC, HIV infection may be associated with a reorganization of the major brain networks and their functional interactions in a manner similar to aging.

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  7. Abstract Introduction

    The anterior pituitary gland (PG) is a potential locus of hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis responsivity to early life stress, with documented associations between dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels and anterior PG volumes. In adults, elevated anxiety/depressive symptoms are related to diminished DHEA levels, and studies have shown a positive relationship between DHEA and anterior pituitary volumes. However, specific links between responses to stress, DHEA levels, and anterior pituitary volume have not been established in developmental samples.


    High‐resolution T1‐weighted MRI scans were collected from 137 healthy youth (9–17 years;Mage = 12.99 (SD = 1.87); 49% female; 85% White, 4% Indigenous, 1% Asian, 4% Black, 4% multiracial, 2% not reported). The anterior and posterior PGs were manually traced by trained raters. We examined the mediating effects of salivary DHEA on trauma‐related symptoms (i.e., anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic) and PG volumes as well as an alternative model examining mediating effects of PG volume on DHEA and trauma‐related symptoms.


    DHEA mediated the association between anxiety symptoms and anterior PG volume. Specifically, higher anxiety symptoms related to lower DHEA levels, which in turn were related to smaller anterior PG.


    These results shed light on the neurobiological sequelae of elevated anxiety in youth and are consistent with adult findings showing suppressed levels of DHEA in those with greater comorbid anxiety and depression. Specifically, adolescents with greater subclinical anxiety may exhibit diminished levels of DHEA during the pubertal window, which may be associated with disruptions in anterior PG growth.

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