Browsing by Subject "cognition"

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  • Autio, Juho; Stenbäck, Ville; Gagnon, Dominique D.; Leppäluoto, Juhani; Herzig, Karl-Heinz (2020)
    Regular physical activity (PA) improves cognitive functions, prevents brain atrophy, and delays the onset of cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease. Presently, there are no specific recommendations for PA producing positive effects on brain health and little is known on its mediators. PA affects production and release of several peptides secreted from peripheral and central tissues, targeting receptors located in the central nervous system (CNS). This review will provide a summary of the current knowledge on the association between PA and cognition with a focus on the role of (neuro)peptides. For the review we define peptides as molecules with less than 100 amino acids and exclude myokines. Tachykinins, somatostatin, and opioid peptides were excluded from this review since they were not affected by PA. There is evidence suggesting that PA increases peripheral insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels and elevated serum IGF-1 levels are associated with improved cognitive performance. It is therefore likely that IGF-1 plays a role in PA induced improvement of cognition. Other neuropeptides such as neuropeptide Y (NPY), ghrelin, galanin, and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) could mediate the beneficial effects of PA on cognition, but the current literature regarding these (neuro)peptides is limited.
  • Webster, Mike M.; Chouinard-Thuly, Laura; Herczeg, Gabor; Kitano, Jun; Riley, Riva; Rogers, Sean; Shapiro, Michael D.; Shikano, Takahito; Laland, Kevin N. (2019)
    Whether learning primarily reflects general processes or species-specific challenges is a long-standing matter of dispute. Here, we present a comprehensive analysis of public information use (PI-use) in sticklebacks (Gasterosteidae). PI-use is a form of social learning by which animals are able to assess the relative quality of resources, here prey patches, by observing the behaviour of others. PI-use was highly specific with only Pungitius and their closest relative Culaea inconstans showing evidence of PI-use. We saw no effects of ontogenetic experience upon PI-use in Pungitius pungitius. Experiments with live demonstrators and animated fish revealed that heightened activity and feeding strikes by foraging conspecifics are important cues in the transmission of PI. Finally, PI-use was the only form of learning in which P. pungitius and another stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus differed. PI-use in sticklebacks is species-specific and may represent an 'ecological specialization' for social foraging. Whether this reflects selection on perception, attentional or cognitive processes remains to be determined.
  • Määttänen, Pentti (Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 1993)
    Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae, Dissertationes Humanarum Litterarum 64
  • Mäkipelto, Ville (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Aims: Schizophrenia is characterized by cognitive impairment that associates with many problems in everyday life and functioning. Earlier research has hypothesized that antidepressant medication may associate with better cognitive functioning among schizophrenia patients, but empirical results are mixed. This study explored the profile of schizophrenia patients that use antidepressants and asked whether there is an association between antidepressant use and cognitive performance in a clinical patient sample. Because of effects on the central nervous system, benzodiazepines and anticholinergic medications were also considered. Methods: Study participants were drawn from the SUPER-Finland cohort, which was collected among patients with psychotic illnesses in 2016–2018 from all university hospital districts across Finland (n=10474). The analysis included working-age (18–70) patients with a schizophrenia diagnosis (F20) and complete results from the brief cognitive assessment (n=3411). Information about regular medications and psychosocial factors were gathered through questionnaire and interview. Cognition was assessed with CANTAB (Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery), out of which the subtests measuring reaction time (RTI) and visual learning (PAL) were included. The association of antidepressants on cognition was examined using both pooled antidepressants and various antidepressant groups as predictors in linear regression models. Gender, age, age of diagnosis, living status, relationship, education, and psychological distress were controlled in the models. Results: Over 35% of schizophrenia patients regularly used at least one antidepressant. On average, schizophrenia patients using antidepressants experienced lower well-being and more psychological distress than patients without antidepressants. The use of antidepressants was not generally associated with better or poorer cognitive performance. However, the use of SNRI antidepressants was associated with a significantly faster reaction time. The use of benzodiazepines was associated with poorer cognitive performance in both reaction time and visual learning. Conclusions: The results support the conclusion that there is generally no meaningful association between antidepressants and better cognitive performance in schizophrenia. However, the association of SNRI-medicines with a slightly faster reaction time is promising and warrants further research. Several psychosocial factors were associated with the cognitive performance of schizophrenia patients, which underlines the need for supporting psychosocial well-being in cognitive rehabilitation.
  • Kotrschal, Alexander; Lievens, Eva J. P.; Dahlbom, Josefin; Bundsen, Andreas; Semenova, Svetlana; Sundvik, Maria; Maklakov, Alexei A.; Winberg, Svante; Panula, Pertti; Kolm, Niclas (2014)
  • Rantalainen, V.; Lahti, J.; Henriksson, M.; Kajantie, E.; Mikkonen, M.; Eriksson, J. G.; Räikkönen, Katri (2018)
    Background. Being breastfed in infancy has been shown to benefit neurodevelopment. However, whether the benefits persist to old age remains unclear. Methods. We examined the associations between breastfeeding and its duration on cognitive ability in young adulthood and old age, and on aging-related cognitive change over five decades. In total, 931 men from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study born in 1934-1944 in Finland took the Finnish Defence Forces Basic Intellectual Ability Test (total and verbal, arithmetic and visuospatial subtest scores) twice, at ages 20.2 and 67.9 years, and had data on breastfeeding (yes v. no) and its duration ('never breastfed', 'up to 3', '3 to 6' and 6 or more months'). Linear and mixed model regressions tested the associations. Results. At 20.2 years, breastfed men had higher cognitive ability total and visuospatial subtest scores [mean differences (MDs) ranged between 3.0-3.9, p values <0.013], and its longer duration predicted higher cognitive ability total and arithmetic and visuospatial subtest scores (MDs ranged between 3.0 and 4.8, p values <0.039). At 67.9 years, breastfed men had higher total cognitive ability and all subtest scores (MDs ranged between 2.6 and 3.4, p values <0.044) and its longer duration predicted all cognitive ability scores (MDs ranged between 3.1 and 4.7, p values <0.050). Verbal subtest scores decreased over five decades in men who were never breastfed or were breastfed for 3 months or less, and increased in those breastfed for longer than 3 months. Conclusions. Neurodevelopmental advantages of breastfeeding and its longer duration persist into old age, and longer duration of breastfeeding may benefit aging-related change, particularly in verbal reasoning ability.
  • Janssen, Niels; Handels, Ron L.; Wimo, Anders; Antikainen, Riitta; Laatikainen, Tiina; Soininen, Hilkka; Strandberg, Timo; Tuomilehto, Jaakko; Kivipelto, Miia; Evers, Silvia M. A. A.; Verhey, Frans R. J.; Ngandu, Tiia (2022)
    Background: The association between health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and care costs in people at risk for cognitive decline is not well understood. Studying this association could reveal the potential benefits of increasing HRQoL and reducing care costs by improving cognition. Objective: In this exploratory data analysis we investigated the association between cognition, HRQoL utilities and costs in a well-functioning population at risk for cognitive decline. Methods: An exploratory data analysis was conducted using longitudinal 2-year data from the FINGER study (n= 1,120). A change score analysis was applied using HRQoL utilities and total medical care costs as outcome. HRQoL utilities were derived from the Short Form Health Survey-36 (SF-36). Total care costs comprised visits to a general practitioner, medical specialist, nurse, and days at hospital. Analyses were adjusted for activities of daily living (ADL) and depressive symptoms. Results: Although univariable analysis showed an association between cognition and HRQoL utilities, multivariable analysis showed no association between cognition, HRQoL utilities and total care costs. A one-unit increase in ADL limitations was associated with a -0.006 (p Conclusion: The level of cognition in people at-risk for cognitive decline does not seem to be associated with HRQoL utilities. Future research should examine the level at which cognitive decline starts to affect HRQoL and care costs. Ideally, this would be done by means of cross-validation in populations with various stages of cognitive functioning and decline.
  • Khemiri, Lotfi; Larsson, Henrik; Kuja-Halkola, Ralf; D'Onofrio, Brian M.; Lichtenstein, Paul; Jayaram-Lindstrom, Nitya; Latvala, Antti (2020)
    Aims To assess whether parental substance use disorder (SUD) is associated with lower cognitive ability in offspring, and whether the association is independent of shared genetic factors. Design A population family-based cohort study utilizing national Swedish registries. Linear regression with increased adjustment of covariates was performed in the full population. In addition, the mechanism of the association was investigated with children-of-sibling analyses using fixed-effects regression with three types of sibling parents with increasing genetic relatedness (half-siblings, full siblings and monozygotic twins). Setting and participants A total of 3 004 401 people born in Sweden between 1951 and 1998. Measurements The exposure variable was parental SUD, operationalized as having a parent with life-time SUD diagnosis or substance-related criminal conviction in the National Patient Register or Crime Register, respectively. Outcomes were cognitive test score at military conscription and final school grades when graduating from compulsory school. Covariates included in the analyses were sex, birth year, parental education, parental migration status and parental psychiatric comorbid diagnoses. Findings In the full population, parental SUD was associated with decreased cognitive test stanine scores at conscription [4.56, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 4.55-4.57] and lower Z-standardized school grades (-0.43, 95% CI = -0.43 to -0.42) compared to people with no parental SUD (cognitive test: 5.17, 95% CI = 5.17-5.18; grades: 0.09, 95% CI = 0.08-0.09). There was evidence of a dose-response relationship, in that having two parents with SUD (cognitive test: 4.17, 95% CI = 4.15-4.20; grades: -0.83, 95% CI = -0.84 to -0.82) was associated with even lower cognitive ability than having one parent with SUD (cognitive test: 4.60, 95% CI = 4.59-4.60; grades: -0.38, 95% CI = -0.39 to -0.380). In the children-of-siblings analyses when accounting for genetic relatedness, these negative associations were attenuated, suggestive of shared underlying genetic factors. Conclusions There appear to be shared genetic factors between parental substance use disorder (SUD) and offspring cognitive function, suggesting that cognitive deficits may constitute a genetically transmitted risk factor in SUD.
  • Stephen, Ruth; Liu, Yawu; Ngandu, Tiia; Rinne, Juha O.; Kemppainen, Nina; Parkkola, Riitta; Laatikainen, Tiina; Paajanen, Teemu; Hanninen, Tuomo; Strandberg, Timo; Antikainen, Riitta; Tuomilehto, Jaakko; Keinanen Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka; Vanninen, Ritva; Helisalmi, Seppo; Levalahti, Esko; Kivipelto, Miia; Soininen, Hilkka; Solomon, Alina (2017)
    Background: CAIDE Dementia Risk Score is the first validated tool for estimating dementia risk based on a midlife risk profile. Objectives: This observational study investigated longitudinal associations of CAIDE Dementia Risk Score with brain MRI, amyloid burden evaluated with PIB-PET, and detailed cognition measures. Methods: FINGER participants were at-risk elderly without dementia. CAIDE Risk Score was calculated using data from previous national surveys (mean age 52.4 years). In connection to baseline FINGER visit (on average 17.6 years later, mean age 70.1 years), 132 participants underwent MRI scans, and 48 underwent PIB-PET scans. All 1,260 participants were cognitively assessed (Neuropsychological Test Battery, NTB). Neuroimaging assessments included brain cortical thickness and volumes (Freesurfer 5.0.3), visually rated medial temporal atrophy (MTA), white matter lesions (WML), and amyloid accumulation. Results: Higher CAIDE Dementia Risk Score was related to more pronounced deep WML (OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.05-1.43), lower total gray matter (beta- coefficient -0.29, p = 0.001) and hippocampal volume (beta- coefficient -0.28, p = 0.003), lower cortical thickness (beta-coefficient -0.19, p = 0.042), and poorer cognition (beta-coefficients -0.31 for total NTB score, -0.25 for executive functioning, -0.33 for processing speed, and -0.20 for memory, all p <0.001). Higher CAIDE Dementia Risk Score including APOE genotype was additionally related to more pronounced MTA (OR 1.15,95% CI 1.00-1.30). No associations were found with periventricular WML or amyloid accumulation. Conclusions: The CAIDE Dementia Risk Score was related to indicators of cerebrovascular changes and neurodegeneration on MRI, and cognition. The lack of association with brain amyloid accumulation needs to be verified in studies with larger sample sizes.
  • Arola, Anne; Laakso, Hanna M.; Pitkänen, Johanna; Koikkalainen, Juha; Lötjönen, Jyrki; Korvenoja, Antti; Erkinjuntti, Timo; Melkas, Susanna; Jokinen, Hanna (2021)
    Background and purpose Cerebral small vessel disease is characterized by progressive white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and cognitive decline. However, variability exists in how individuals maintain cognitive capabilities despite significant neuropathology. The relationships between individual cognitive reserve, psychological resilience and cognitive functioning were examined in subjects with varying degrees of WMH. Methods In the Helsinki Small Vessel Disease Study, 152 subjects (aged 65-75 years) underwent a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment, evaluation of subjective cognitive complaints and brain magnetic resonance imaging with volumetric WMH evaluation. Cognitive reserve was determined by education (years) and the modified Cognitive Reserve Scale (mCRS). Psychological resilience was evaluated with the Resilience Scale 14. Results The mCRS total score correlated significantly with years of education (r = 0.23, p < 0.01), but it was not related to age, sex or WMH volume. Together, mCRS score and education were associated with performance in a wide range of cognitive domains including processing speed, executive functions, working memory, verbal memory, visuospatial perception and verbal reasoning. Independently of education, the mCRS score had incremental predictive value on delayed verbal recall and subjective cognitive complaints. Psychological resilience was not significantly related to age, education, sex, WMH severity or cognitive test scores, but it was associated with subjective cognitive complaints. Conclusions Cognitive reserve has strong and consistent associations with cognitive functioning in subjects with WMH. Education is widely associated with objective cognitive functioning, whereas lifetime engagement in cognitively stimulating leisure activities (mCRS) has independent predictive value on memory performance and subjective cognitive complaints. Psychological resilience is strongly associated with subjective, but not objective, cognitive functioning.
  • Neuvonen, Elisa; Lehtisalo, Jenni; Ngandu, Tiia; Levälahti, Esko; Antikainen, Riitta; Hänninen, Tuomo; Laatikainen, Tiina; Lindström, Jaana; Paajanen, Teemu; Soininen, Hilkka; Strandberg, Timo; Tuomilehto, Jaakko; Kivipelto, Miia; Solomon, Alina (2022)
    Depression and cognition are associated, but the role of depressive symptoms in lifestyle interventions to prevent dementia needs further study. We investigated the intervention effect on depressive symptoms and their associations with cognition in the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER; NCT01041989), a two-year multidomain lifestyle trial. One thousand two-hundred and sixty individuals (60-77 years) at risk for dementia were randomised into a multidomain intervention (diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular/metabolic risk monitoring) or control group (regular health advice). Depressive symptoms (Zung scale) and cognition (modified Neuropsychological Test Battery) were evaluated at baseline, 12, and 24 months. One thousand one-hundred and twenty-five participants had baseline Zung data. Mean Zung score decreased 0.73 (SD 5.6) points in the intervention and 0.36 (5.6) points in the control group, with nonsignificant between-group difference (group x time coefficient -0.006, 95% CI -0.019 to 0.007). Overall, higher baseline Zung score was associated with less improvement in global cognition (-0.140, p = 0.005) and memory (-0.231, p = 0.005). Participants with clinically significant baseline depressive symptoms (Zung >= 40 points) had less intervention benefit to executive functioning (group x time x Zung -0.096, 95% CI -0.163 to -0.028). Change in Zung score was not associated with change in cognition. Clinically significant depressive symptoms warrant more attention when designing dementia-prevention interventions.
  • Sauna-aho, Oili; Bjelogrlic-Laakso, Nina; Siren, Auli; Kangasmäki, Virpi; Arvio, Maria (2019)
    BackgroundWilliams syndrome (WBS) is a genetic multisystem disorder. The main symptom is borderline (intelligence quotient, IQ 70-79) or abnormally low intelligence (IQ MethodsWe followed 25 adults (age at baseline 19-68, median 38) with genetically confirmed WBS for about 20years. The study subjects underwent medical and neuropsychological assessments at the baseline and at the end of follow-up. ResultsThe mean VIQ remained quite stable from early adulthood up to 40years of age after which it declined. The mean PIQ kept on improving from early adulthood until 50years of age after which it gradually declined. At the end of the study, all study subjects had at least two longstanding health problems out of which hypertension, psychiatric disorder, and scoliosis or kyphosis occurred most frequently. At end of the study, two patients suffered from vascular dementia. Seven patients died during the follow-up. ConclusionsIn adults with WBS, the course of cognition is uneven across the cognitive profile. Their verbal functions both develop and deteriorate earlier than performance/nonverbal functions. Frequent somatic co-morbidities may increase risk to shortened life span.
  • Michelsson, Erica (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    nformation and computer technologies (ICT), and to assess the relationships of cognitive ability and key factors relating to ICT use and attitudes. This study assessed a number of ICT related factors including internet addiction, smartphone and tablet use, social media use, computer self-efficacy, negative attitudes towards ICT, positive expectations towards ICT, and ICT use for work. Methods: The study sample was part of the PLASTICITY (Perinatal Adverse events and Special Trends in Cognitive Trajectory) -study. The sample consisted of a Finnish cohort born between 1971–1974 (n = 546), who lived through the ICT diffusion era. Multidimensional item response theory (MIRT) was used to assess the structural composition of the ICT-questionnaire. Cognitive abilities were measured with The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) when the examinees were 9 years old, and with Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV) when the examinees were 40-45 years old. Two structural equation models were created to describe the associations between subjective wealth, education, cognitive ability and the ICTQ factors. The model with adulthood cognitive abilities predicting ICT use was compared to the model with childhood cognitive abilities predicting adulthood ICT use. Results and discussion: ICT use and attitudes were affected by cognitive ability, education, and wealth, and computer self-efficacy and negative attitudes towards ICT emerged as central mediators in the social cognitive model of ICT use. Cognitive ability predicted four of the seven ICT factors: computer self-efficacy, negative attitudes towards ICT, computer use for work, and indirectly the use of smartphones and tablets. Cognitive ability did not predict internet addiction, social media use, and ICT hobbies, or positive expectations towards ICT. Based on the mediation analysis, some of this effect is likely to be attributable to the other consequences of cognitive ability, including education and wealth. However, at least some seem to reflect more direct cognitive selectivity, perhaps due to the verbal and information-processing skill demands of the ICT. Furthermore, cognitive ability measured during childhood, decades before the individuals were introduced to ICT, was as significant as a predictor for negative attitudes towards ICT and computer self-efficacy, as adulthood cognitive abilities. Overall, the results imply that cognitive ability is not associated with access to ICT, but affects the predispositions to use technology and the acquisition of ICT skills.
  • Jylänki, Pinja; Mbay, Theo Chidiebere Ismael; Byman, Anni Elina; Hakkarainen, Airi; Sääkslahti, Arja; Aunio, Pirjo (2022)
    This systematic review aimed to investigate the methodological quality and the effects of fundamental motor skills and physical activity interventions on cognitive and academic skills in 3- to 7-year-old children with special educational needs. The review was reported in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA 2020) statement. A literature search was carried out in April 2020 (updated in January 2022) using seven electronic databases, including ERIC, Scopus, Web of Science, PsycINFO, CINAHL, PubMed, and SPORTDiscus. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed with Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP) Quality Assessment Tool. Cohen's d effect sizes and post-hoc power analyses were conducted for the included studies. Altogether 22 studies (1883 children) met the inclusion criteria, representing children at-risk for learning difficulties, due to family background (n(studies) = 8), children with learning difficulties (n(studies) = 7), learning disabilities (n(studies) = 5), and physical disabilities (n(studies) = 2). Two of the included 22 studies displayed strong, one moderate, and 19 studies weak methodological quality. The intervention effects appeared to be somewhat dependent on the severity of the learning difficulty; in cognitive and language skills, the effects were largest in children at-risk due to family background, whereas in executive functions the effects were largest in children with learning disabilities. However, due to the vast heterogeneity of the included studies, and a rather low methodological quality, it is challenging to summarize the findings in a generalizable manner. Thus, additional high-quality research is required to determine the effectiveness of the interventions.
  • Kalakoski, Virpi; Henelius, Andreas; Oikarinen, Emilia; Ukkonen, Antti; Puolamäki, Kai (2019)
    Today's ever-increasing amount of data places new demands on cognitive ergonomics and requires new design ideas to ensure successful human-data interaction. Our aim was to identify the cognitive factors that must be considered when designing systems to improve decision-making based on large amounts of data. We constructed a task that simulates the typical cognitive demands people encounter in data analysis situations. We demonstrate some essential cognitive limitations using a behavioural experiment with 20 participants. The studied task presented the participants with critical and noncritical attributes that contained information on two groups of people. They had to select the response option (group) with the higher level of critical attributes. The results showed that accuracy of judgement decreased as the amount of information increased, and that judgement was affected by irrelevant information. Our results thus demonstrate critical cognitive limitations when people utilise data and suggest a cognitive bias in data-based decision-making. Therefore, when designing for cognition, we should consider the human cognitive limitations that are manifested in a data analysis context. Furthermore, we need general cognitive ergonomic guidelines for design that support the utilisation of data and improve data-based decision-making.
  • Ketvel, Laila (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Objective: Both stress-related exhaustion and depression have previously been associated with a decline in cognitive performance, but there is a lack of evidence on whether these conditions have different associations with different cognitive domains and whether they have additive effects on cognitive performance. Furthermore, very little is known about the cognitive effects of chronic stress-related exhaustion. Consequently, the aims of this study were to 1) examine the associations between current stress-related exhaustion and cognitive performance, 2) investigate whether different developmental trajectories of stress-related exhaustion are differently associated with cognitive performance, 3) compare the association between stress-related exhaustion and cognitive performance to the relationship between depressive symptoms and cognitive performance, 4) examine if individuals with comorbid stress-related exhaustion and depression have lower cognitive performance than individuals with at most one of these conditions (i.e., whether clinical stress-related exhaustion and clinical depression might have additive effects on cognitive performance). Methods: The data used in the study was a Finnish population-based sample of six cohorts born between 1962 and 1977 from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study. Stress-related exhaustion was assessed using the Maastricht Questionnaire, depressive symptoms with the Beck Depression Inventory, and cognitive performance with four subtests of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery, measuring visuospatial associative learning, reaction time, sustained attention, and executive functions. Cognitive performance and depressive symptoms were assessed in 2012, and stress-related exhaustion in 2001, 2007, and 2012. Participants were 35 to 50 years old in 2012. Linear associations between stress-related exhaustion and cognitive performance (N = 905) and depressive symptoms and cognitive performance (N = 904) were examined by conducting multivariate regression analyses. Age, sex, socioeconomic status, and parents’ socioeconomic status were controlled in the regression models. Additionally, multivariate analyses of variance were performed to investigate the different developmental trajectories of stress-related exhaustion and their relation to cognitive performance (N = 541) and the associations of comorbid stress-related exhaustion and depression with cognitive performance (N = 1273). Results and conclusion: The main finding was that high stress-related exhaustion is associated with slower reaction times, but not with performance in spatial working memory, visuospatial associative learning, or executive functions. Ongoing, chronic stress-related exhaustion was more strongly associated with slower reaction times than short-term exhaustion experienced years ago. Compared to depressive symptoms, high stress-related exhaustion was associated with slower reaction times also when subclinical cases were included, whereas only clinical levels of depressive symptoms had an association with slower reaction times. There were no differences in cognitive performance between individuals with only stress-related exhaustion or depression and those with comorbid stress-related exhaustion and depression, which supports the notion that these conditions do not have additive effects on cognitive performance. These findings add to the existing evidence of the cognitive effects of stress-related exhaustion in the general population and have several practical implications. Further research is needed on the topic, preferably with longitudinal designs, more comprehensive cognitive measures, and clinical assessment of the psychiatric symptoms.
  • Kallio, Eeva-Liisa; Öhman, Hanna; Kautiainen, Hannu; Hietanen, Marja; Pitkala, Kaisu (2017)
    Background: Cognitive training (CT) refers to guided cognitive exercises designed to improve specific cognitive functions, as well as enhance performance in untrained cognitive tasks. Positive effects of CT on cognitive functions in healthy elderly people and persons with mild cognitive impairment have been reported, but data regarding the effects of CT in patients with dementia is unclear. Objective: We systematically reviewed the current evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to find out if CT improves or stabilizes cognition and/or everyday functioning in patients with mild and moderate Alzheimer's disease. Results: Altogether, 31 RCTs with CT as either the primary intervention or part of a broader cognitive or multi-component intervention were found. A positive effect was reported in 24 trials, mainly on global cognition and training-specific tasks, particularly when more intensive or more specific CT programs were used. Little evidence of improved everyday functioning was found. Conclusions: Despite some positive findings, the inaccurate definitions of CT, inadequate sample sizes, unclear randomization methods, incomplete datasets at follow-up and multiple testing may have inflated the results in many trials. Future high quality RCTs with appropriate classification and specification of cognitive interventions are necessary to confirm CT as an effective treatment option in Alzheimer's disease.
  • Nokelainen, Ossi; Rezende, Francisko de Moraes; Valkonen, Janne K.; Mappes, Johanna (2022)
    A big question in behavioral ecology is what drives diversity of color signals. One possible explanation is that environmental conditions, such as light environment, may alter visual signaling of prey, which could affect predator decision-making. Here, we tested the context-dependent predator selection on prey coloration. In the first experiment, we tested detectability of artificial visual stimuli to blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) by manipulating stimulus luminance and chromatic context of the background. We expected the presence of the chromatic context to facilitate faster target detection. As expected, blue tits found targets on chromatic yellow background faster than on achromatic grey background whereas in the latter, targets were found with smaller contrast differences to the background. In the second experiment, we tested the effect of two light environments on the survival of aposematic, color polymorphic wood tiger moth (Arctia plantaginis). As luminance contrast should be more detectable than chromatic contrast in low light intensities, we expected birds, if they find the moths aversive, to avoid the white morph which is more conspicuous than the yellow morph in low light (and vice versa in bright light). Alternatively, birds may attack first moths that are more detectable. We found birds to attack yellow moths first in low light conditions, whereas white moths were attacked first more frequently in bright light conditions. Our results show that light environments affect predator foraging decisions, which may facilitate context-dependent selection on visual signals and diversity of prey phenotypes in the wild. Light environments are constantly changing and may alter visual appearance of prey, but also bias predators' decision making. Our findings using blue tits in visual search tasks and the wood tiger moth prey under two light environments demonstrate that birds show context-dependent predatory behavior. This suggests that light environments can play a major selective role and influence visual signaling in the wild.
  • Österberg, PhD, Peter; Köping Olsson, Bengt (2021)
    Schools are institutions responsible for teaching children new skills and knowledge, the ability to think about future targets, and, when problems become complex, how to apply explorative thinking and inborn creativity to solve them. Even so, scholars point to the fact that school curriculums do not support ways to facilitate explorative learning or creativity for problem-solving. To successfully devise solutions never considered before, children need support with programs enabling them to facilitate openness for experience intellectually. This study suggests that dance activities should become regular in the curriculum as a strategy for maintaining schoolchildren’s cognitive flexibility.
  • Särkämö, Teppo; Huttula, Lilli; Leppelmeier, Jenna; Molander, Kiki; Forsbom, Maj-Brit; Säynevirta, Kirsi; Kullberg-Turtiainen, Marjo; Turtiainen, Petri; Sarajuuri, Jaana; Hokkanen, Laura; Rantanen, Pekka; Koskinen, Sanna (2021)
    Objective: Dance is a versatile and multimodal rehabilitation method, which may be useful also in traumatic brain injury (TBI) rehabilitation. Here, we assessed the feasibility and preliminary effects of a novel dance-based intervention called Dual-Assisted Dance Rehabilitation (DARE). Method: This is a feasibility study with a cross-over design where 11 persons with severe/extremely severe TBI received a 12-week (2 times/week) DARE program. Motor and neuropsychological tests and questionnaires measuring mood, executive functions, and quality of life were performed at baseline, 3-month, and 6-month stage. Self-perceived benefits were assessed with a post-intervention questionnaire. Results: Acceptability of and adherence to DARE were encouraging: 91% were fully consistent with protocol, and adherence to DARE sessions was 83-100%. Pre-post treatment effects sizes were medium-large for self-reported depression (BDI-II: d = 1.19-1.74) and executive deficits (BRIEF-A: d = 0.43-1.09) and for test-assessed trunk movement control (TIS: d = 0.47-0.76) and cognitive functioning (WAIS-IV subtests: d = 0.34-0.89). Other outcome measures did not show similar positive effect sizes. Self-perceived benefits were largest for mobility and cognition. Conclusion: Dance-based rehabilitation is a feasible and promising method in severe TBI and its efficacy should be assessed with a larger clinical trial.