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Developmental Cognition and Biological Bases of Cognition

The human brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification is a very complex organ, structurally and functionally. Cognition is a term that psychologists use to describe a wide array of different brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification processes and activities that include perception Perception The process by which the nature and meaning of sensory stimuli are recognized and interpreted. Psychiatric Assessment, thinking, reasoning Reasoning Decision-making Capacity and Legal Competence, memory Memory Complex mental function having four distinct phases: (1) memorizing or learning, (2) retention, (3) recall, and (4) recognition. Clinically, it is usually subdivided into immediate, recent, and remote memory. Psychiatric Assessment, attention Attention Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating. Psychiatric Assessment, and creating new information or ideas. This is however a limited view of cognition as now it became clear that cognition is the product Product A molecule created by the enzymatic reaction. Basics of Enzymes of interplay between all of these components and more.

Last updated: 18 May, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

What is Cognition?

When one is attentive to his or her environment, they can perceive information and analyze it, store this information and remember it, and finally can form decisions or generate ideas. That person becomes aware of his or her situation, needs and goals.

Therefore, patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with impaired cognition due to aging or because of certain neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease are expected to have an impairment in one or any of these cognitive domains.

Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development

Piaget hypothesized that cognition goes through four main developmental stages during his observational studies Observational studies Observational studies are used to observe and measure outcomes in a cohort with no control over risk factors or variables. They are often retrospective. Types of observational studies include cross-sectional studies, case-control studies, and cohort studies. Epidemiological Studies on children. The first stage is called the  sensory Sensory Neurons which conduct nerve impulses to the central nervous system. Nervous System: Histology motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology stage. Infants from the time of birth until 2 years of age depend largely on touching, hearing, and observing different stimuli to learn about their environment. Their main goal is to achieve their own needs and goals and are therefore considered as egocentric.

Piaget's stages of development

Jean Piaget’s model included four development stages.

Image by Lecturio.

The pre-operational stage begins at the age of 2 years and usually ends by 7 years of age. During this period, thought processes are believed to start to develop. During this stage, the children start building their vocabulary but their thoughts are still immature and perhaps illogical to an adult.

During this stage, children can understand the symbolism and can start differentiating between right and wrong. Children at this stage start to understand that they are not the center of the world and they start to accept that other younger siblings need more parenteral attention Attention Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating. Psychiatric Assessment than them.

From 7 to 11 years, the child enters the concrete operational stage. During this period the child’s thoughts become logical and rational. They can develop rational thoughts about an object, say a toy, only if they can see it and manipulate it.

At the end of this stage, children enter the formal operational stage in which they are able to form logical thoughts about objects even when they are not present in front of them. It is thought that children at this stage, 11 to 16 years of age, have reached the maturity of adult thoughts, reasoning Reasoning Decision-making Capacity and Legal Competence, and abstract thinking.

Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

The previously described model has limitations Limitations Conflict of Interest in terms of identifying which factors might affect Affect The feeling-tone accompaniment of an idea or mental representation. It is the most direct psychic derivative of instinct and the psychic representative of the various bodily changes by means of which instincts manifest themselves. Psychiatric Assessment each stage of cognitive development. Developmental cognitive neuroscience is a recent study field that focuses on understanding Understanding Decision-making Capacity and Legal Competence how genetics Genetics Genetics is the study of genes and their functions and behaviors. Basic Terms of Genetics, certain disease processes, epigenetics, and the environment can affect Affect The feeling-tone accompaniment of an idea or mental representation. It is the most direct psychic derivative of instinct and the psychic representative of the various bodily changes by means of which instincts manifest themselves. Psychiatric Assessment cognition development.

Several neurodevelopmental disorders have been identified such as autism, and autism spectrum disorders that have both environmental and biologic bases Bases Usually a hydroxide of lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium or cesium, but also the carbonates of these metals, ammonia, and the amines. Acid-Base Balance. Currently, it is believed that genetic predisposition puts the patient at an increased risk of developing a certain condition but in many cases would not lead to the development of that disease unless certain external inputs, i.e. environmental factors, are also present.

For instance, many genes Genes A category of nucleic acid sequences that function as units of heredity and which code for the basic instructions for the development, reproduction, and maintenance of organisms. DNA Types and Structure have been linked to an increased incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency of depression, schizophrenia Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health disorder characterized by the presence of psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations. The signs and symptoms of schizophrenia are traditionally separated into 2 groups: positive (delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech or behavior) and negative (flat affect, avolition, anhedonia, poor attention, and alogia). Schizophrenia, and other mental disorders. However, not all people carrying these polymorphisms actually develop the disease and we currently believe that the environment even during infancy plays a critical role in the emergence of these diseases in a susceptible individual.

The genetic–environmental interplay in neurodevelopment is believed to affect Affect The feeling-tone accompaniment of an idea or mental representation. It is the most direct psychic derivative of instinct and the psychic representative of the various bodily changes by means of which instincts manifest themselves. Psychiatric Assessment neuronal axonal plasticity and neuronal circuits, cell loss and  regeneration Regeneration The physiological renewal, repair, or replacement of tissue. Wound Healing, and different  brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification neurotransmitters in different brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification regions. These changes are thought to be responsible for the abnormal phenotype Phenotype The complete genetic complement contained in the DNA of a set of chromosomes in a human. The length of the human genome is about 3 billion base pairs. Basic Terms of Genetics in several neurodevelopmental disorders.

Assessment of Cognition

In a clinical setting, it is important to assess cognition objectively to classify patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship and guide their treatment plans. The easiest tool to assess cognition is through a formal mental state examination or a  mini-mental state examination Mini-Mental State Examination Major Neurocognitive Disordersthat is used in facilities for the elderly for repeated assessment of dementias over time.

These examinations depend on the clinical assessment of different cognitive domains such as working memory Memory Complex mental function having four distinct phases: (1) memorizing or learning, (2) retention, (3) recall, and (4) recognition. Clinically, it is usually subdivided into immediate, recent, and remote memory. Psychiatric Assessment, short-term visual and verbal memory Memory Complex mental function having four distinct phases: (1) memorizing or learning, (2) retention, (3) recall, and (4) recognition. Clinically, it is usually subdivided into immediate, recent, and remote memory. Psychiatric Assessment, executive functioning, inhibition/disinhibition, abstract thinking, attention Attention Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating. Psychiatric Assessment, and language tasks.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is being used nowadays to assess different cognitive functions such as short-term memory Memory Complex mental function having four distinct phases: (1) memorizing or learning, (2) retention, (3) recall, and (4) recognition. Clinically, it is usually subdivided into immediate, recent, and remote memory. Psychiatric Assessment, visual perception Perception The process by which the nature and meaning of sensory stimuli are recognized and interpreted. Psychiatric Assessment, visual attention Attention Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating. Psychiatric Assessment, selective attention Attention Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating. Psychiatric Assessment, and language just to name a few. This method is considered as more objective but in many cases can only provide information learned by testing groups of individuals with the same condition but is not specific enough to attribute the specific location of a disease to an individual patient, hence might be of limited clinical value.

In spite of this, fMRI assessment of areas of language, motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology, and short-term memory Memory Complex mental function having four distinct phases: (1) memorizing or learning, (2) retention, (3) recall, and (4) recognition. Clinically, it is usually subdivided into immediate, recent, and remote memory. Psychiatric Assessment has been well studied and is currently of tremendous importance for the presurgical evaluation of  epilepsy Epilepsy Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder marked by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. These seizures can be classified as focal or generalized and idiopathic or secondary to another condition. Clinical presentation correlates to the classification of the epileptic disorder. Epilepsy in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship who have pharmacoresistant epilepsy Epilepsy Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder marked by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. These seizures can be classified as focal or generalized and idiopathic or secondary to another condition. Clinical presentation correlates to the classification of the epileptic disorder. Epilepsy.

Psychophysical testing provides an objective assessment of different complex cognitive processes such as perceptual learning, visual- attention Attention Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating. Psychiatric Assessment problems, and visual perception Perception The process by which the nature and meaning of sensory stimuli are recognized and interpreted. Psychiatric Assessment in certain conditions such as  diabetes Diabetes Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease characterized by hyperglycemia and dysfunction of the regulation of glucose metabolism by insulin. Type 1 DM is diagnosed mostly in children and young adults as the result of autoimmune destruction of β cells in the pancreas and the resulting lack of insulin. Type 2 DM has a significant association with obesity and is characterized by insulin resistance. Diabetes Mellitus.

Magnetic resonance image of a human brain

Magnetic resonance image of a human brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification

Image: “MRI brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification” by Fastfission~commonswiki. License: Public Domain

Assessment of Biological Determinants of Cognition

Certain conditions such as depression schizophrenia Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health disorder characterized by the presence of psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations. The signs and symptoms of schizophrenia are traditionally separated into 2 groups: positive (delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech or behavior) and negative (flat affect, avolition, anhedonia, poor attention, and alogia). Schizophrenia obsessive-compulsive disorder Obsessive-compulsive disorder Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition characterized by obsessions (recurring and intrusive thoughts, urges, or images) and/or compulsions (repetitive actions the person is compelled to perform) that are time-consuming and associated with functional impairment. Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)and autism have been extensively studied at the cellular level as well as in living subjects and animal models to determine the biological pathways and bases Bases Usually a hydroxide of lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium or cesium, but also the carbonates of these metals, ammonia, and the amines. Acid-Base Balance of development of cognition. This work not only provides new insights into the pathogenesis of these conditions but also provides more information about cognitive development in general in healthy people.

Certain neurotransmitters such as  GABA GABA The most common inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Receptors and Neurotransmitters of the CNS glutamate Glutamate Derivatives of glutamic acid. Included under this heading are a broad variety of acid forms, salts, esters, and amides that contain the 2-aminopentanedioic acid structure. Synthesis of Nonessential Amino Acids acetylcholine Acetylcholine A neurotransmitter found at neuromuscular junctions, autonomic ganglia, parasympathetic effector junctions, a subset of sympathetic effector junctions, and at many sites in the central nervous system. Receptors and Neurotransmitters of the CNS dopamine Dopamine One of the catecholamine neurotransmitters in the brain. It is derived from tyrosine and is the precursor to norepinephrine and epinephrine. Dopamine is a major transmitter in the extrapyramidal system of the brain, and important in regulating movement. Receptors and Neurotransmitters of the CNSand  serotonin Serotonin A biochemical messenger and regulator, synthesized from the essential amino acid l-tryptophan. In humans it is found primarily in the central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, and blood platelets. Serotonin mediates several important physiological functions including neurotransmission, gastrointestinal motility, hemostasis, and cardiovascular integrity. Receptors and Neurotransmitters of the CNS have all been shown to be altered in concentration in several neurodevelopmental disorders. Once a high-susceptibility gene Gene A category of nucleic acid sequences that function as units of heredity and which code for the basic instructions for the development, reproduction, and maintenance of organisms. Basic Terms of Genetics has been identified for a given condition, a cellular or animal model of that disease can be reproduced by inducing the same mutation Mutation Genetic mutations are errors in DNA that can cause protein misfolding and dysfunction. There are various types of mutations, including chromosomal, point, frameshift, and expansion mutations. Types of Mutations.

At the cellular level, it is easy to identify the concentrations of the different neurotransmitters biochemically and to compare with control to see how changes in these metabolites happen in a given condition. In living animals Animals Unicellular or multicellular, heterotrophic organisms, that have sensation and the power of voluntary movement. Under the older five kingdom paradigm, animalia was one of the kingdoms. Under the modern three domain model, animalia represents one of the many groups in the domain eukaryota. Cell Types: Eukaryotic versus Prokaryotic and in humans, magnetic resonance spectroscopy and positron emission tomography can be used to evaluate the concentrations of these neurotransmitters in the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification or their receptors Receptors Receptors are proteins located either on the surface of or within a cell that can bind to signaling molecules known as ligands (e.g., hormones) and cause some type of response within the cell. Receptors respectively.

The in-vivo assessment of these neurotransmitters allows the investigator to correlate their changes with possible behavioral or cognitive impairment and changes in the subject. This work allows the collaboration between multiple health personnel, including psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, radiologists, and neuroscientists.

References

  1. Munakata Y, Casey BJ, Diamond A. Developmental cognitive neuroscience: progress and potential. Trends Cogn Sci 2004; 8, pp. 122–128.
  2. Borson S. Cognition, aging, and disabilities: conceptual issues. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am 2010; 21, pp. 375–82.

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