Executive Functioning
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2021 ◽  
Vol 126 (4) ◽  
pp. 307-323
Anna J. Esbensen ◽  
Emily K. Hoffman ◽  
Rebecca C. Shaffer ◽  
Lina R. Patel ◽  
Lisa M. Jacola

Abstract The current study evaluates the concurrent relationship between parent ratings of executive functioning and maladaptive behavior among children and adolescents with Down syndrome and then repeats this evaluation using teacher reports. Parents and teachers of 63 school-age children with Down syndrome rated the child's executive functioning (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function) and behaviors (Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist). For parent and teacher ratings, elevated behavior dysregulation predicted higher levels of rule-breaking, aggressive, and externalizing behavior. For teacher ratings, elevated behavior dysregulation also predicted higher levels of inattention problems. Among both parent and teacher ratings, greater metacognitive difficulties predicted challenges with attention. Understanding the relationship between these constructs has important implications for targets of intervention and developing preventative strategies.

Breton M. Asken ◽  
Lawren VandeVrede ◽  
Julio C. Rojas ◽  
Corrina Fonseca ◽  
Adam M. Staffaroni ◽  

Abstract Objective: There are minimal data directly comparing plasma neurofilament light (NfL) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in aging and neurodegenerative disease research. We evaluated associations of plasma NfL and plasma GFAP with brain volume and cognition in two independent cohorts of older adults diagnosed as clinically normal (CN), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or Alzheimer’s dementia. Methods: We studied 121 total participants (Cohort 1: n = 50, age 71.6 ± 6.9 years, 78% CN, 22% MCI; Cohort 2: n = 71, age 72.2 ± 9.2 years, 45% CN, 25% MCI, 30% dementia). Gray and white matter volumes were obtained for total brain and broad subregions of interest (ROIs). Neuropsychological testing evaluated memory, executive functioning, language, and visuospatial abilities. Plasma samples were analyzed in duplicate for NfL and GFAP using single molecule array assays (Quanterix Simoa). Linear regression models with structural MRI and cognitive outcomes included plasma NfL and GFAP simultaneously along with relevant covariates. Results: Higher plasma GFAP was associated with lower white matter volume in both cohorts for temporal (Cohort 1: β = −0.33, p = .002; Cohort 2: β = −0.36, p = .03) and parietal ROIs (Cohort 1: β = −0.31, p = .01; Cohort 2: β = −0.35, p = .04). No consistent findings emerged for gray matter volumes. Higher plasma GFAP was associated with lower executive function scores (Cohort 1: β = −0.38, p = .01; Cohort 2: β = −0.36, p = .007). Plasma NfL was not associated with gray or white matter volumes, or cognition after adjusting for plasma GFAP. Conclusions: Plasma GFAP may be more sensitive to white matter and cognitive changes than plasma NfL. Biomarkers reflecting astroglial pathophysiology may capture complex dynamics of aging and neurodegenerative disease.

Poonam Sharma ◽  
Khushboo Aggarwal ◽  
Rajendra Awasthi ◽  
Giriraj T. Kulkarni ◽  
Bhupesh Sharma

Abstract Objectives Vascular dementia (VaD), being strongly associated with metabolic conditions is a major health concern around the world. Diabetes is a major risk factor for the development of VaD. This study investigates the efficacy of quercetin and folacin in diabetes induced vascular endothelium dysfunction and related dementia. Methods Single dose streptozotocin (STZ) (50 mg/kg i.p) was administered to albino Wistar rats (male, 200–250 g) by dissolving in citrate buffer. Morris water maze (MWM) and attentional set shifting tests were used to assess the spatial learning, memory, reversal learning, and executive functioning in animals. Body weight, serum glucose, serum nitrite/nitrate, vascular endothelial function, aortic superoxide anion, brains’ oxidative markers (thiobarbituric acid reactive species-TBARS, reduced glutathione-GSH, superoxide dismutase-SOD, and catalase-CAT), mitochondrial enzyme complex (I, II, and IV), inflammatory markers (interleukin-IL-6, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-TNF-α, and myeloperoxidase-MPO), and acetylcholinesterase activity-AChE were also assessed. Quercetin (30 mg kg−1/60 mg kg−1) and folacin (30 mg kg−1/60 mg kg−1) were used as the treatment drugs. Donepezil (0.5 mg kg−1) was used as a positive control. Results STZ administered rats showed reduction in learning, memory, reversal learning, executive functioning, impairment in endothelial function, increase in brains’ oxidative stress; inflammation; AChE activity, and decrease in mitochondrial complex (I, II, and IV) activity. Administration of quercetin and folacin in two different doses, significantly attenuated the STZ induced diabetes induced impairments in the behavioral, endothelial, and biochemical parameters. Conclusions STZ administration caused diabetes and VaD which was attenuated by the administration of quercetin and folacin. Therefore, these agents may be studied further for the assessment of their full potential in diabetes induced VaD conditions.

Jessika I. V. Buitenweg ◽  
Jaap M. J. Murre ◽  
K. Richard Ridderinkhof

AbstractAs the world’s population is aging rapidly, cognitive training is an extensively used approach to attempt improvement of age-related cognitive functioning. With increasing numbers of older adults required to remain in the workforce, it is important to be able to reliably predict future functional decline, as well as the individual advantages of cognitive training. Given the correlation between age-related decline and striatal dopaminergic function, we investigated whether eye blink rate (EBR), a non-invasive, indirect indicator of dopaminergic activity, could predict executive functioning (response inhibition, switching and working memory updating) as well as trainability of executive functioning in older adults. EBR was collected before and after a cognitive flexibility training, cognitive training without flexibility, or a mock training. EBR predicted working memory updating performance on two measures of updating, as well as trainability of working memory updating, whereas performance and trainability in inhibition and switching tasks could not be predicted by EBR. Our findings tentatively indicate that EBR permits prediction of working memory performance in older adults. To fully interpret the relationship with executive functioning, we suggest future research should assess both EBR and dopamine receptor availability among seniors.

2021 ◽  
Nina Anderson ◽  
Michelle Rozenman ◽  
Bruce F Pennington ◽  
Erik Willcutt ◽  
Lauren McGrath

This study examined whether domain-general cognitive weaknesses in processing speed (PS) or executive functioning (EF) compound risk for anxiety in children with reading difficulties. The sample included 755 youth ages 8-16 who were recruited as part of the [blinded for peer review]. Lower scores on PS (R2=.007, p=.014) and EF (R2=.009, p=.006) were associated with higher anxiety scores. Additionally, the reading x cognitive interactions were significant, such that lower scores on PS (R2=.010, p=.005) or EF (R2=.013, p=.010) combined with lower reading were associated with higher than expected anxiety symptoms. Results suggest that weaknesses in PS and EF may be associated with higher anxiety symptoms, and this anxiety risk may be compounded in youth with reading difficulties. These findings can guide assessment approaches for identifying youth with reading challenges who may be at increased risk for anxiety.

2021 ◽  
Vol 86 ◽  
pp. 101807
Kandice J. Benallie ◽  
Maryellen Brunson McClain ◽  
Kaelah E. Bakner ◽  
Tyus Roanhorse ◽  
Jennifer Ha

2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Hannah Bigelow ◽  
Marcus D. Gottlieb ◽  
Michelle Ogrodnik ◽  
Jeffrey D. Graham ◽  
Barbara Fenesi

This study investigated how acute exercise and mindfulness meditation impacts executive functioning and psycho-emotional well-being in 16 children and youth with ADHD aged 10–14 (male = 11; White = 80%). Participants completed three interventions: 10 min of exercise, 10 min of mindfulness meditation, and 10 min of reading (control). Before and after each intervention, executive functioning (inhibitory control, working memory, task-switching) and psycho-emotional well-being (mood, self-efficacy) were assessed. Mindfulness meditation increased performance on all executive functioning tasks whereas the other interventions did not (d = 0.55–0.86). Exercise enhanced positive mood and self-efficacy whereas the other interventions did not (d = 0.22–0.35). This work provides preliminary evidence for how acute exercise and mindfulness meditation can support differential aspects of executive and psycho-emotional functioning among children and youth with ADHD.

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