The spontaneous oscillatory activity in the human brain shows long-range temporal correlations (LRTC) that extend over time scales of seconds to minutes. Previous research has demonstrated aberrant LRTC in depressed patients; however, it is unknown whether the neuronal dynamics normalize after psychological treatment. In this study, we recorded EEG during eyes-closed rest in depressed patients (N = 71) and healthy controls (N = 25), and investigated the temporal dynamics in depressed patients at baseline, and after attending either a brief mindfulness training or a stress reduction training. Compared to the healthy controls, depressed patients showed stronger LRTC in theta oscillations (4–7 Hz) at baseline. Following the psychological interventions both groups of patients demonstrated reduced LRTC in the theta band. The reduction of theta LRTC differed marginally between the groups, and explorative analyses of separate groups revealed noteworthy topographic differences. A positive relationship between the changes in LRTC, and changes in depressive symptoms was observed in the mindfulness group. In summary, our data show that aberrant temporal dynamics of ongoing oscillations in depressive patients are attenuated after treatment, and thus may help uncover the mechanisms with which psychotherapeutic interventions affect the brain.
Atypical language is a fundamental feature of autism spectrum conditions (ASC), but few studies have examined the structural integrity of the arcuate fasciculus, the major white matter tract connecting frontal and temporal language regions, which is usually implicated as the main transfer route used in processing linguistic information by the brain. Abnormalities in the arcuate have been reported in young children with ASC, mostly in low-functioning or non-verbal individuals, but little is known regarding the structural properties of the arcuate in adults with ASC or, in particular, in individuals with ASC who have intact language, such as those with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome. We used probabilistic tractography of diffusion-weighted imaging to isolate and scrutinize the arcuate in a mixed-gender sample of 18 high-functioning adults with ASC (17. Asperger syndrome) and 14 age-and IQ-matched typically developing controls. Arcuate volume was significantly reduced bilaterally with clearest differences in the right hemisphere. This finding remained significant in an analysis of all male participants alone. Volumetric reduction in the arcuate was significantly correlated with the severity of autistic symptoms as measured by the Autism-Spectrum Quotient. These data reveal that structural differences are present even in high-functioning adults with ASC, who presented with no clinically manifest language deficits and had no reported developmental language delay. Arcuate structural integrity may be useful as an index of ASC severity and thus as a predictor and biomarker for ASC. Implications for future research are discussed. © 2016 Moseley, Correia, Baron-Cohen, Shtyrov, Pulvermüller and Mohr.