418 research outputs found

    Integrating gestures and words to communicate in full-term and low-risk preterm late talkers

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    Young children use gestures to practice communicative functions that foster their receptive and expressive linguistic skills. Studies investigating the use of gestures by late talkers are limited. This study aimed to investigate the use of gestures and gesture–word combinations and their associations with word comprehension and word and sentence production in late talkers. A further purpose was to examine whether a set of individual and environmental factors accounted for interindividual differences in late talkers’ gesture and gesture–word production. Sixty-one late talkers, including 35 full-term and 26 low-risk preterm children, participated in the study. Parents filled out the Italian short forms of the MacArthur–Bates Communicative Development Inventories (MB–CDI), “Gesture and Words” and “Words and Sentences” when their children were 30-months-old, and they were then invited to participate in a book-sharing session with their child. Children’s gestures and words produced during the book-sharing session were transcribed and coded into CHAT of CHILDES and analyzed with CLAN. Types of spontaneous gestures (pointing and representational gestures) and gesture–word combinations (complementary, equivalent, and supplementary) were coded. Measures of word tokens and MLU were also computed. Correlational analyses documented that children’s use of gesture–word combinations, particularly complementary and supplementary forms, in the book-sharing session was positively associated with linguistic skills both observed during the session (word tokens and MLU) and reported by parents (word comprehension, word production, and sentence production at the MB–CDI). Concerning individual factors, male gender was negatively associated with gesture and gesture–word use, as well as with MB–CDI action/gesture production. In contrast, having a low-risk preterm condition and being later-born were positively associated with the use of gestures and pointing gestures, and having a family history of language and/or learning disorders was positively associated with the use of representational gestures. Furthermore, a low-risk preterm status and a higher cognitive score were positively associated with gesture–word combinations, particularly complementary and supplementary types. With regard to environmental factors, older parental age was negatively associated with late talkers’ use of gestures and pointing gestures. Interindividual differences in late talkers’ gesture and gesture–word production were thus related to several intertwined individual and environmental factors. Among late talkers, use of gestures and gesture–word combinations represents a point of strength promoting receptive and expressive language acquisition

    Night Sleep and Parental Bedtime Practices in Low-Risk Preterm and Full-Term Late Talkers

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    Night sleep and parental bedtime practices have rarely been investigated in late talkers. This study aimed to explore: night sleep, parental bedtime practices, and their associations in late talkers as well as individual, socio-demographic, and socio-relational factors affecting them. Parents of 47 30-month-old late talkers, born low-risk preterm (n = 24) or full-term (n = 23), with an expressive vocabulary size <= 10th percentile measured by the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory Words and Sentences, and normal cognitive abilities measured by the Bayley Scales, completed the Infant Sleep Questionnaire, the Parental Interactive Bedtime Behaviour Scale, and the Parenting Stress Index Short Form. Results showed slight settling difficulties, night wakings, and frequent co-sleeping in late talkers. Encouraging autonomy practices were frequently used by parents, rather than active physical comforting ones. Recurrent settling difficulties were reported by parents who often applied encouraging autonomy practices, whereas greater night waking problems and frequent co-sleeping were reported by parents who often left their child crying. Low-risk preterm birth and mother's parenting stress predicted total sleep difficulties and night wakings; first-born, high maternal education level and mother's parenting stress predicted settling difficulties; mother's parenting stress was the only predictor for co-sleeping and leaving to cry. These findings have relevant implications for improving late talkers' night sleep and their parents' bedtime practices

    Human Milk's Hidden Gift: Implications of the Milk Microbiome for Preterm Infants' Health

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    Breastfeeding is considered the gold standard for infants' nutrition, as mother's own milk (MOM) provides nutritional and bioactive factors functional to optimal development. Early life microbiome is one of the main contributors to short and long-term infant health status, with the gut microbiota (GM) being the most studied ecosystem. Some human milk (HM) bioactive factors, such as HM prebiotic carbohydrates that select for beneficial bacteria, and the specific human milk microbiota (HMM) are emerging as early mediators in the relationship between the development of GM in early life and clinical outcomes. The beneficial role of HM becomes even more crucial for preterm infants, who are exposed to significant risks of severe infection in early life as well as to adverse short and long-term outcomes. When MOM is unavailable or insufficient, donor human milk (DHM) constitutes the optimal nutritional choice. However, little is known about the specific effect of DHM on preterm GM and its potential functional implication on HMM. The purpose of this narrative review is to summarize recent findings on HMM origin and composition and discuss the role of HMM on infant health and development, with a specific focus on preterm infants

    Commissioning of the MEG II tracker system

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    The MEG experiment at the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) represents the state of the art in the search for the charged Lepton Flavour Violating (cLFV) ÎŒ+→e+Îł\mu^+ \rightarrow e^+ \gamma decay. With the phase 1, MEG set the new world best upper limit on the \mbox{BR}(\mu^+ \rightarrow e^+ \gamma) < 4.2 \times 10^{-13} (90% C.L.). With the phase 2, MEG II, the experiment aims at reaching a sensitivity enhancement of about one order of magnitude compared to the previous MEG result. The new Cylindrical Drift CHamber (CDCH) is a key detector for MEG II. CDCH is a low-mass single volume detector with high granularity: 9 layers of 192 drift cells, few mm wide, defined by ∌12000\sim 12000 wires in a stereo configuration for longitudinal hit localization. The filling gas mixture is Helium:Isobutane (90:10). The total radiation length is 1.5×10−31.5 \times 10^{-3} \mbox{X}_0, thus minimizing the Multiple Coulomb Scattering (MCS) contribution and allowing for a single-hit resolution <120< 120 ÎŒ\mum and an angular and momentum resolutions of 6 mrad and 90 keV/c respectively. This article presents the CDCH commissioning activities at PSI after the wiring phase at INFN Lecce and the assembly phase at INFN Pisa. The endcaps preparation, HV tests and conditioning of the chamber are described, aiming at reaching the final stable working point. The integration into the MEG II experimental apparatus is described, in view of the first data taking with cosmic rays and ÎŒ+\mu^+ beam during the 2018 and 2019 engineering runs. The first gas gain results are also shown. A full engineering run with all the upgraded detectors and the complete DAQ electronics is expected to start in 2020, followed by three years of physics data taking.Comment: 10 pages, 12 figures, 1 table, proceeding at INSTR'20 conference, accepted for publication in JINS

    ProNGF Is a Cell-Type-Specific Mitogen for Adult Hippocampal and for Induced Neural Stem Cells

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    The role of proNGF, the precursor of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), on the biology of adult neural stem cells (aNSCs) is still unclear. Here I analyzed adult hippo-campal neurogenesis in AD11 transgenic mice, in which the constitutive expression of anti-NGF antibody leads to an imbalance of proNGF over mature NGF. I found in-creased proliferation of progenitors but a reduced neurogenesis in the AD11 DG- hippocampus (HP-DG). Also in vitro, AD11 hippocampal neural stem cells (NSCs) pro-liferated more but were unable to differentiate into morphologically mature neu-rons. By treating wild-type (WT) hippocampal progenitors with the uncleavable form of proNGF (proNGF-KR) I demonstrated that proNGF acts as mitogen on aNSCs at low concentration. The mitogenic effect of proNGF was specifically addressed to the radial glia-like (RGL) neural stem cells through the induction of cyclin D1 expression. These cells express high level of p75NTR, as demonstrated by immunofluorescence analyses performed ex vivo on RGL cells isolated from freshly-dissociated HP-DG or selected in vitro from NSCs by LIF (leukemia inhibitory factor). Clonogenic assay per-formed in the absence of mitogens showed that RGLs respond to proNGF-KR by re-activating their proliferation and thus leading to neurospheres formation. The mito-genic effect of proNGF was further exploited in the expansion of mouse induced Neural Stem Cells (iNSCs). Chronic exposure of iNSCs to proNGF-KR increased their proliferation. Altogether, I demonstrated that proNGF acts as mitogen on hippo-campal and induced neural stem cells.The role of proNGF, the precursor of nerve growth factor (NGF), in the biology of adult neural stem cells (aNSCs) is still unclear. Here, we analyzed adult hippocampal neurogenesis in AD11 transgenic mice, in which the constitutive expression of anti-NGF antibody leads to an imbalance of proNGF over mature NGF. We found increased proliferation of progenitors but a reduced neurogenesis in the AD11 dentate gyrus (DG)-hippocampus (HP). Also in vitro, AD11 hippocampal neural stem cells (NSCs) proliferated more, but were unable to differentiate into morphologically mature neurons. By treating wild-type hippocampal progenitors with the uncleavable form of proNGF (proNGF-KR), we demonstrated that proNGF acts as mitogen on aNSCs at low concentration. The mitogenic effect of proNGF was specifically addressed to the radial glia-like (RGL) stem cells through the induction of cyclin D1 expression. These cells express high levels of p75NTR, as demonstrated by immunofluorescence analyses performed ex vivo on RGL cells isolated from freshly dissociated HP-DG or selected in vitro from NSCs by leukemia inhibitory factor. Clonogenic assay performed in the absence of mitogens showed that RGLs respond to proNGF-KR by reactivating their proliferation and thus leading to neurospheres formation. The mitogenic effect of proNGF was further exploited in the expansion of mouse-induced neural stem cells (iNSCs). Chronic exposure of iNSCs to proNGF-KR increased their proliferation. Altogether, we demonstrated that proNGF acts as mitogen on hippocampal and iNSCs. Stem Cells 2019;37:1223–1237

    A 10-3 drift velocity monitoring chamber

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    The MEG-II experiment searches for the lepton flavor violating decay: mu in electron and gamma. The reconstruction of the positron trajectory uses a cylindrical drift chamber operated with a mixture of He and iC4H10 gas. It is important to provide a stable performance of the detector in terms of its electron transport parameters, avalanche multiplication, composition and purity of the gas mixture. In order to have a continuous monitoring of the quality of gas, we plan to install a small drift chamber, with a simple geometry that allows to measure very precisely the electron drift velocity in a prompt way. This monitoring chamber will be supplied with gas coming from the inlet and the outlet of the detector to determine if gas contaminations originate inside the main chamber or in the gas supply system. The chamber is a small box with cathode walls, that define a highly uniform electric field inside two adjacent drift cells. Along the axis separating the two drift cells, four staggered sense wires alternated with five guard wires collect the drifting electrons. The trigger is provided by two 90Sr weak calibration radioactive sources placed on top of a two thin scintillator tiles telescope. The whole system is designed to give a prompt response (within a minute) about drift velocity variations at the 0.001 level

    The front end electronics for the drift chamber readout in MEG experiment upgrade

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    Front-end electronics plays an essential role in drift chambers for time resolution and, therefore, spatial resolution. The use of cluster timing techniques, by measuring the arriving times of all the individual ionization clusters after the first one, may enable to reach resolutions even below 100 ÎŒm in the measurement of the impact parameter. A high performance front-end electronics, characterized by low distortion, low noise and a wide bandwidth has been developed with the purpose to implement cluster timing techniques in the new drift chamber for the upgrade of the MEG experiment at Paul Sherrer Institut (CH)

    Neurodevelopmental outcomes of very preterm infants born following early foetal growth restriction with absent end-diastolic umbilical flow

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    This study aims to assess the impact of time of onset and features of early foetal growth restriction (FGR) with absent end-diastolic flow (AEDF) on pregnancy outcomes and on preterm infants' clinical and neurodevelopmental outcomes up to 2 years corrected age. This is a retrospective, cohort study led at a level IV Obstetric and Neonatal Unit in Bologna, Italy. Pregnant women were eligible if having singleton pregnancies, with no major foetal anomaly detected, and diagnosed with early FGR + AEDF (defined as FGR + AEDF detected before 32 weeks gestation). Early FGR + AEDF was further classified according to time of onset and specific features into very early and persistent (VEP, FGR + AEDF first detected at 20-24 weeks gestation and persistent at the following scans), very early but transient (VET, FGR + AEDF detected at 20-24 weeks gestation and progressively improving at the following scans) and later (LA, FGR + AEDF detected between 25 and 32 weeks gestation). Pregnancy and neonatal outcomes and infant follow-up data were collected and compared among groups. Neurodevelopment was assessed using the revised Griffiths Mental Developmental Scales (GMDS-R) 0-2 years. A regression analysis was performed to identify early predictors of preterm infants' neurodevelopmental impairment. Fifty-two pregnant women with an antenatal diagnosis of early FGR + AEDF were included in the study (16 VEP, 14 VET, 22 LA). Four intrauterine foetal deaths occurred, all in the VEP group (p = 0.010). Compared to LA infants, VEP infants were born with lower gestational age and lower birth weight, had lower arterial cord blood pH and were at higher risk for intraventricular haemorrhage and periventricular leukomalacia (p &lt; 0.05 for all comparisons). At 12 months, VEP infants had worse GMDS-R scores, both in the general quotient (mean [SD] 91.8 [12.4] vs 104.6 [8.7] in LA) and in the performance domain (mean [SD] 93.3 [15.4] vs 108.8 [8.8] in LA). This latter difference persisted at 24 months (mean [SD] 68.3 [17.0] vs 92.9 [17.7] in LA). In multivariate analysis, at 12 months corrected age, PVL was found to be an independent predictor of impaired general quotient, while the features and timing of antenatal Doppler alterations predicted worse scores in the performance domain.Conclusion: Timing of onset and features of early FGR + AEDF might impact differently on neonatal clinical and neurodevelopmental outcomes. Shared awareness of the importance of FGR + AEDF features between obstetricians and neonatologists may offer valuable tools for antenatal counselling and for tailoring pregnancy management and neonatal follow-up in light of specific antenatal and neonatal risk factors
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