Visual learning: healthy development and the effects of migraine

Őze Attila
Visual learning: healthy development and the effects of migraine.
Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Szeged.
(2018) (Unpublished)

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Abstract in foreign language

Acquired equivalence (AE) is a form of feedback-based associative learning where two or more stimuli are mapped to the same outcomes or responses. The performance on this task has previously been demonstrated to strongly depend on the functions of basal ganglia and the hippocampi. These structures and related functions have a distinct developmental trajectory: basal ganglia associated implicit memory functions mature early, while hippocampus-linked explicit memory functions show development late into adolescence. While several studies examined how various neurological and psychiatric conditions influence AE performance, studies dealing with the development of this function are scarce, and no study made an attempt to plot the development of this form of learning from early childhood to adulthood so far. Furthermore the basal ganglia and hippocampus are known to be affected in migraine, however there is no information available whether these alterations, described with imaging techniques also manifest on a functional level. Therefore we assessed 265 healthy subjects aged 3 to 52 with the modified and Hungarian form of the computer based Rutger Acquired Equivalence Test (RAET), to examine the healthy development of AE performance (Study #1). The same test was used to measure the learning performance of 22 patients with migraine without aura, and an age- and sex-matched control group, to assess if migraine affects performance on this task (Study #2). RAET assesses three main aspects of AE: the efficiency of pair learning, the efficiency of the retrieval of acquired pairs, and the ability to generalise previous knowledge to a new stimulus. In study #1 both pair learning and retrieval were found to exhibit development, with kindergarten children having significantly higher (p<0.05) error ratios than older participants. However these functions seem to reach adult-like level by the age of six. On the other hand generalization performance was found to be independent of age and sex on the examined age-spectrum. We propose that these results can be explained can be explained by either the earlier maturation of the hippocampi or the integrative encoding hypothesis, according to which generalization performance depends on faster maturing parallel dopaminergic midbrain-striatum/midbrain-hippocampus connections. In study #2 migraine patients were found to show significantly poorer (p<0.05) performance in pair learning and generalization, with the deficit of the latter function being especially marked. In contrast, retrieval performance was on par with that of the healthy controls. Our results support that basal ganglia and hippocampi (or at least their functional network) are involved in migraine without aura, and demonstrate that their structural impairments affect the associated learning functions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral thesis (PhD))
Creators: Őze Attila
Hungarian title: Vizuálisan irányított tanulási folyamatok fejlődése, valamint ezen funkciók érintettségének vizsgálata migrénes betegekben
Position, academic title, institution
MTMT author ID
Nagy Attila
docens, PhD, SZTE ÁOK Élettani Intézet
Subjects: 03. Medical and health sciences > 03.01. Basic medicine
Divisions: Doctoral School of Theoretical Medicine
Discipline: Medicine > Theoretical Medicine
Language: English
Date: 2018. June 25.
Uncontrolled Keywords: acquired equivalence, learning, basal ganglia, hippocampus, development, migraine
Item ID: 9780
MTMT identifier of the thesis: 30612529
Date Deposited: 2018. May. 06. 09:27
Last Modified: 2020. Jun. 17. 08:31
Defence/Citable status: Defended.

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