Check out some of the papers that were recently published by DMCBH members:

Naznin Virji-Babul: Blink-related EEG oscillations are neurophysiological indicators of subconcussive head impacts in female soccer players: a preliminary study

Journal: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

Repetitive subconcussive head impacts can lead to subtle neural changes and functional consequences on brain health. However, the objective assessment of these changes remains limited. Resting state blink-related oscillations (BROs), recently discovered neurological responses following spontaneous blinking, are explored in this study to evaluate changes in BRO responses in subconcussive head impacts.

The researchers collected 5-min resting-state electroencephalography (EEG) data from two cohorts of collegiate athletes who were engaged in contact sports or non-contact sports. The research team found a significant difference between the two groups in the morphology of BRO responses. The preliminary results suggest that the BRO response may be a useful biomarker for detecting subtle neural changes resulting from repetitive head impacts.


Yu Tian Wang: Inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasome signaling pathway promotes neurological recovery following hypoxic-ischemic brain damage by increasing p97-mediated surface GluA1-containing AMPA receptors

Journal: Journal of Translational Medicine

The nucleotide-binding oligomeric domain (NOD)-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome is believed to be a key mediator of neuroinflammation and subsequent secondary brain injury induced by ischemic stroke. However, the role and underlying mechanism of the NLRP3 inflammasome in neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) are still unclear.

For this study, the researchers used Western blotting, co-immunoprecipitation, triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining, polymerase chain reaction, grasping and rotarod tests, and the Morris-water maze. The researchers reported that the NLRP3 inflammasome signaling pathway was activated in rats with hypoxic-ischemic brain damage (HIBD). The results showed that inhibiting the NLRP3 inflammasome signaling pathway promotes neurological recovery in animals with HIBD by increasing p97-mediated surface GluA1 expression, thereby providing new insight into HIE therapy.


Thalia Field: Study of Rivaroxaban for Cerebral Venous Thrombosis: A Randomized Controlled Feasibility Trial Comparing Anticoagulation With Rivaroxaban to Standard-of-Care in Symptomatic Cerebral Venous Thrombosis

Journal: Stroke

Emerging data suggest that direct oral anticoagulants may be a suitable choice for anticoagulation for cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT). However, conducting high-quality trials in CVT is challenging as it is a rare disease with low rates of adverse outcomes. The researchers assessed (1) the feasibility of recruitment, (2) the safety of rivaroxaban compared with standard-of-care anticoagulation, and (3) patient-centered functional outcomes. This was a phase II, randomized trial conducted at 12 Canadian centers.

The results found recruitment targets were reached, but many eligible participants declined randomization. There were numerically more bleeding events in patients taking rivaroxaban compared with control, but rates of bleeding and recurrent venous thromboembolism were low overall and in keeping with previous studies.


Manon Ranger: Experiences of Mothers of Preterm Infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Journal: Advances in Neonatal Care

The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) stay following the birth of a preterm infant can be stressful and traumatic for families. The study aimed to examine the impact of the pandemic policies on the experiences of mothers of preterm infants during their stay in the NICU. Interviews were conducted with mothers of preterm infants hospitalized in a Canadian tertiary-level NICU.

Four themes emerged from the analysis of the mothers experiences: (1) disrupted family dynamic, support, and bonding; (2) physical and emotional isolation; (3) negative psychological impact compounded by added concerns, maternal role change, and survival mode mentality; and (4) positive aspects of the pandemic management measures. The results showed that these changes heightened mothers’ distress, but also had a modest positive impact. Further research about long-term consequences of pandemic policies on the mother and preterm infant after NICU discharge is warranted.


Mypinder Sekhon: Cerebral hemodynamics after cardiac arrest: implications for clinical management

Journal: Minerva Anestesiologica

Following resuscitation from cardiac arrest, hypoxic ischemic brain injury (HIBI) ensues, which is the primary determinant of adverse outcome. Identification of therapeutic strategies to optimize cerebral delivery of oxygen is at the forefront of HIBI research. Unfortunately, randomized control trials investigating the manipulation of arterial carbon dioxide tension and mean arterial pressure augmentation as methods to potentially improve cerebral oxygen delivery have shown no impact on clinical outcomes.

Emerging literature suggests differential patient-specific phenotypes may exist in patients with HIBI. The potential to personalize therapeutic strategies in the critical care setting based upon patient-specific pathophysiology presents an attractive strategy to improve HIBI outcomes. This study reviews the cerebral hemodynamic pathophysiology of HIBI, discuss patient phenotypes as it pertains to personalizing care, as well as suggest future directions.


Khaled Abdelrahman: Comparison of Huntington’s disease phenotype progression in male and female heterozygous FDNQ175 mice

Journal: Molecular Brain

Huntington’s Disease (HD) is an inherited autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder that leads to progressive motor and cognitive impairment. Increasing evidence has implicated sex as a contributing factor in the progression of HD symptoms. The creation of HD mouse models represents a critical step in the research for HD treatment. The newer FDNQ175 mouse model presents an aggressive phenotype. The current study compared the progression of HD phenotypes in male and female heterozygous FDNQ175 mice.

The results revealed both male and female heterozygous mice showed deficits in forelimb grip strength and cognition. However, female mice were less vulnerable to HD-associated decline in limb coordination and movement, and had significantly more aggregates than their male counterparts. Taken together, the study provides further evidence that sex can influence the progression of HD phenotype in preclinical animal models.


Helen Tremlett: Incidence and prevalence of paediatric-onset multiple sclerosis in two Canadian provinces: a population-based study representing over half of Canada’s population

Journal: Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry

Population-based studies estimating the epidemiology of paediatric-onset multiple sclerosis (PoMS) are scarce. The present study accessed population-based health administrative data from two provinces in Canada, Ontario and British Columbia (BC). Individuals with PoMS were identified via a validated case definition.

The results found a total of 148 incident PoMS cases were identified in BC, and 672 in Ontario. The age-standardized annual incidence of PoMS was stable in both provinces. There were more female prevalent PoMS cases than males in both provinces. The age-standardized prevalence per 100 000 people rose in both provinces, and the increase was statistically significant in Ontario. In conclusion, Canada has one of the highest rates of PoMS globally, and the prevalence, but not incidence, has increased over time. Allocation of resources to support the growing youth population with MS should be a priority.


Helen Tremlett: Psychiatric Comorbidity During the Prodromal Period in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis

Journal: Neurology

Psychiatric morbidity is common after an MS diagnosis. However, little is known about psychiatric morbidity during the prodromal phase (before MS onset). This study compared the prevalence and relative burden of psychiatric morbidity in individuals with MS versus matched controls before MS onset.

Using linked administrative and clinical data from British Columbia, the researchers identified MS cases via a validated algorithm or from neurologist-diagnosed MS clinic attendees. Results found over the entire 5-year period pre-MS onset, 28.0% of cases and 14.9% of controls had psychiatric morbidity. The researchers concluded that psychiatric morbidity represents a significant burden before MS onset and may be a feature of the MS prodrome.


Brian MacVicar: Neuronal Edema Triggers Pannexin-1 Opening Causing Initial Cell Death But Also Secondary Protection Via Microglia Recruitment

Journal: Cell Reports

Neuronal swelling during cytotoxic edema is triggered by Na+ and Cl- entry and is Ca2+ independent. However, the causes of neuronal death during swelling are unknown. The current study investigates the role of large-conductance Pannexin-1 (Panx1) channels in neuronal death during cytotoxic edema.

The research team found that depleting microglia using the CSF1 receptor antagonist PLX3397 or blocking P2Y12 receptors exacerbates neuronal death, suggesting that the Panx1-ATP-dependent microglia contacts are neuroprotective. They conclude that cytotoxic edema triggers oxidative stress in neurons that opens Panx1 to trigger death but also initiates neuroprotective feedback mediated by microglia contacts.


Liisa Galea: High Estradiol Reduces Adult Neurogenesis But Strengthens Functional Connectivity Within The Hippocampus During Spatial Pattern Separation In Adult Female Rats

Journal: Hormones and Behavior

Adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus plays an important role for pattern separation. Estradiol modulates neurogenesis and hippocampus function, but to date no examination of estradiol’s effects on pattern separation have been conducted. The current study examined estrogenic regulation of adult neurogenesis and functional connectivity in the hippocampus after the spatial pattern separation task in female rats.

Results showed that high, but not low, estradiol reduced the density of new neurons and had significant inter-regional correlations of increased cell density in the hippocampus following pattern separation. The results show that higher doses of estradiol can reduce neurogenesis but at the same time increase correlations of activity of neurons within the hippocampus during spatial pattern separation.


Teresa Liu-Ambrose: Physical activity interventions in cognitive aging 

Journal: Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology

Preventing cognitive decline and dementia are key public health imperatives of the 21st century, given that the number of older adults worldwide is growing and age is the number one risk factor for dementia.  In this article, researchers critically review and discuss scientific evidence regarding the impact of physical activity interventions on cognitive aging and overall brain health.  It was found that physical activity is associated with lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia while exercise training promotes cognitive performance and brain health markers. Cognitive improvements and neuroplastic adaptations are observed in healthy older adults and in those living with cognitive impairment or dementia, but evidence is still preliminary for some clinical groups such as those living with vascular cognitive impairment.


Raymond Lam, Erin Michalak: Values and preferences related to workplace mental health programs and interventions: An international survey

Journal: PLOS One

This study explores the perspectives of workers and managers on workplace programs and interventions that seek to promote mental wellbeing, and prevent and treat mental health conditions The results contributed supporting evidence for the development of the WHO’s first global guidelines for mental health and work, which provide evidence-based recommendations to support the implementation of workplace mental health programs and supports, to improve their acceptability, appropriateness, and uptake.