Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) infection in cats is not only of veterinary importance but also a well-acknowledged animal model for studying the pathogenesis of retroviral disease. After virus exposure, different courses and outcomes of FeLV infection may prevail; they have been associated with cellular and humoral immune responses and the FeLV proviral load in peripheral blood. We hypothesized that the plasma viral RNA load might be an additional relevant indicator for the infection outcome. To quantify these loads, a real-time reverse transcriptase (RT) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was developed. The assay amplifies FeLV-A, -B, and -C as some naturally infected cats could not be identified with a FeLV-A-based assay previously. The assay was applied to determine plasma FeLV RNA loads in cats infected both naturally and experimentally with FeLV. In addition, an improved real-time PCR assay for quantitation of FeLV proviral loads is described. The assays developed were more sensitive than ELISA and virus isolation in the early phase of infection. In addition, PCR allows the identification of provirus carriers that have overcome antigenaemia. Thus, for most effective detection of FeLV exposure and characterization of the infection in a cat, PCR assays are recommended as diagnostic tools.
Multiple brain areas are activated during serial reaction time (RT) tasks (SRTTs), but the part of the brain that facilitates reductions in RT remains unclear. The present study attempted to determine the brain region contributing most to improved RTs during explicit SRTTs. Subjects comprised 18 healthy volunteers who were instructed to press one of four buttons corresponding to visual stimuli as quickly as possible and with minimal errors during functional MRI. Stimuli were presented either in random order (control condition) or in a repeated six-item sequence (learning condition). Conventional analysis contrasting learning and control conditions revealed activation in the prefrontal–parietal area, which shifted to motor area. Subjects with high RT reduction showed more prominent activation in the precuneus than subjects with low RT reduction. Intra-subject correlation analysis revealed that time course of precuneus activation was unrelated to time-course of RT reduction. However, inter-subject correlation analysis revealed that RT changes correlate only with precuneus activation, meaning that subjects showing more prominent RT reduction revealed more prominent activation of the precuneus, which is known to play critical roles in controlling finger movements with reference to buffered memory.
Baseball hitters are required to make decisions whether to swing or not as quickly as possible. Therefore, we can assume that skilled baseball players have a quicker response. To verify this hypothesis, we assessed the effect of baseball experience or skill levels on simple reaction times and Go/Nogo reaction times in 82 university students (22 baseball players, 22 tennis players, and 38 nonathletes) and 17 professional baseball players. Also, to clarify whether this ability was innate or acquired, we examined the effects of long-term practice for baseball hitting in 94 senior high school students (26 baseball players and 68 non-baseball players). There were no differences in simple reaction time either for sports experience or for skill levels. On the contrary, the Go/Nogo reaction time for baseball players was significantly shorter than that of the tennis players and nonathletes. The Go/Nogo reaction time of higher-skill baseball players was significantly shorter than that of lower-skill players, while that of the professional baseball players was the shortest. The professional players showed the highest (almost linear) correlation between the Go/Nogo reaction time and simple reaction time. A longitudinal study showed that 2 years of hitting practice improved the Go/Nogo reaction time, while the simple reaction time remained constant. A cross-sectional study of high school non-baseball players showed no differences either in the simple or Go/Nogo reaction times in relation to school year. In conclusion, intensive practice, including Go or Nogo decision making, improved the Go/Nogo reaction time, but not the simple reaction time.
How fast are we in accessing world knowledge? In two experiments, we tested for priming for word triplets that described a conceptual script (e.g., DIRECTOR–BRIBE–DISMISSAL) but were not associatively related and did not share a category relationship. Event-related brain potentials were used to track the time course at which script information becomes available. In Experiment 1, in which participants made lexical decisions, we found a facilitation for script-related relative to unrelated triplets, as indicated by (i) a decrease in both reaction time and errors, and (ii) an N400-like priming effect. In Experiment 2, we further explored the locus of script priming by increasing the contribution of meaning integration processes. The participants' task was to indicate whether the three words presented a plausible scenario. Again, an N400 script priming effect was obtained. Directing attention to script relations was effective in enhancing the N400 effect. The time course of the N400 effect was similar to that of the standard N400 effect to semantic relations. The present results show that script priming can be obtained in the visual modality, and that script information is immediately accessed and integrated with context. This supports the view that script information forms a central aspect of word meaning. The RT and N400 script priming effects reported in this article are problematic for most current semantic priming models, like spreading activation models, expectancy models, and task-specific semantic matching/integration models. They support a view in which there is no clear cutoff point between semantic knowledge and world knowledge.
The first use of Fourier transform vibrational circular dichroism (FT-VCD) to follow changes in the percent enantiomeric excess (% EE) of chiral molecules in time using a flow cell sampling apparatus is reported. FT-VCD, as opposed to dispersive scanning VCD, eliminates the need to scan the VCD spectrum in time to monitor the % EE at more than one spectral location. The first use of partial least-squares chemometric analysis to determine % EE values from kinetic sets of VCD spectral data is also reported. These two advances have been used to monitor simultaneously changes in the fractional composition and the % EE of a mixture of two different chiral molecules. This simulates the progress of the chemical reaction from a chiral reactant to a chiral product where the % EE of both molecules can change with time. For the molecules studied, α-pinene, camphor, and borneol, the accuracy of following % EE changes for one species alone is ∼1%, while for simultaneously following % EE changes in two species is ∼2% for 10−20-min sampling periods at 4 cm-1 spectral resolution. This accuracy can be increased for the same collection times or maintained for shorter periods of collection by lowering the spectral resolution. These findings demonstrate the potential for VCD to be used for real-time monitoring of the composition and % EE of chemical reactions involving the synthesis chiral molecules.
Lower IQ is associated with earlier death, but the cause of the relationship is unknown. In the present study, psychometric intelligence and reaction times were both significantly related to all-cause mortality in a representative sample of 898 people aged 56 years who were followed up with respect to survival until age 70. The association between IQ and mortality remained significant after adjusting for education, occupational social class, and smoking, all of which have been hypothesized as confounding variables. The effect of lQ on mortality was not significant after adjusting for reaction time, suggesting that reduced efficiency of information processing might link lower mental ability and earlier death. This new field of cognitive epidemiology provides arguably the strongest evidence for the importance of psychological factors in physical health and human survival. Finding the mechanisms that relate psychometric intelligence to mortality might help in formulating effective interventions to reduce inequalities in health.
Intra-individual variability in behavior and functioning is ubiquitous among children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but it has not been systematically examined or integrated within causal models. This article seeks to provide a conceptual, methodologic, and analytic framework as a foundation for future research. We first identify five key research questions and methodologic issues. For illustration, we examine the periodic structure of Eriksen Flanker task reaction time (RT) data obtained from 24 boys with ADHD and 18 age-matched comparison boys. Reaction time variability in ADHD differed quantitatively from control subjects, particularly at a modal frequency around .05 Hz (cycle length approximately 20 sec). These oscillations in RT were unaffected by double-blind placebo and were suppressed by double-blind methylphenidate. Together with converging lines of basic and clinical evidence, these secondary data analyses support the speculative hypothesis that the increased power of multisecond oscillations in ADHD RT data, and by inference, in attentional performance, represents a catecholaminergic deficit in the ability to appropriately modulate such oscillations in neuronal activity. These results highlight the importance of retaining time-series data and quantitatively examining intra-subject measures of variability as a putative endophenotype for ADHD.
BackgroundInfections with common respiratory tract viruses can cause high mortality, especially in immunocompromised hosts, but the impact of human metapneumovirus (hMPV) in this setting was previously unknown MethodsWe evaluated consecutive bronchoalveolar lavage and bronchial wash fluid samples from 688 patients-72% were immunocompromised and were predominantly lung transplant recipients-for hMPV by use of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and positive results were correlated with clinical outcome and results of viral cultures, in situ hybridization, and lung histopathological assessment ResultsSix cases of hMPV infection were identified, and they had a similar frequency and occurred in a similar age range as other paramyxoviral infections. Four of 6 infections occurred in immunocompromised patients. Infection was confirmed by in situ hybridization for the viral nucleocapsid gene. Histopathological assessment of lung tissue samples showed acute and organizing injury, and smudge cell formation was distinct from findings in infections with other paramyxoviruses. Each patient with high titers of hMPV exhibited a complicated clinical course requiring prolonged hospitalization ConclusionsOur results provide in situ evidence of hMPV infection in humans and suggest that hMPV is a cause of clinically severe lower respiratory tract infection that can be detected during bronchoscopy by use of real-time PCR and routine histopathological assessment
This study evaluated a model of attention that postulates several distinct component processes, each mediated by specific neural systems in the human frontal lobes. A series of reaction time (RT) tests (simple, choice, and prepare) examined the hypothesis that different attentional processes are related to distinct regions within the frontal lobes. These tests were given to 38 patients with frontal lesions and 38 age-matched control subjects. Lesions were localized both by general regions (superior medial, inferior medial, left and right lateral) and by individual architectonic areas. Lesions in the superior medial (SM) frontal lobes, particularly involving areas 24 and 32 on the right, were associated with slow RT in all tests and with failure to decrease RT after a warning signal. Lesions in the right lateral (RL) frontal lobe, centred in area 9/46v, prevented the decrease in RT with increasing foreperiod that was seen in normal subjects and in patients with lesions elsewhere in the frontal lobes. The ability to energize a response for rapid RT, either generally or specifically following a warning stimulus, is sensitive to lesions of the right SM. Monitoring of stimulus occurrence and response behaviour in order to enhance the speed of response to upcoming stimuli is sensitive to RL lesions.