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See detailSubstrats cérébraux du contrôle proactif et réactif dans le vieillissement non pathologique
Manard, Marine ULg; François, Sarah ULg; Salmon, Eric ULg et al

Poster (2016, May 27)

Les recherches sur le contrôle cognitif proposent l’apparition d’un déclin lié à l’âge dans les capacités de contrôle proactif (forme anticipatoire de contrôle comportemental) alors que le contrôle ... [more ▼]

Les recherches sur le contrôle cognitif proposent l’apparition d’un déclin lié à l’âge dans les capacités de contrôle proactif (forme anticipatoire de contrôle comportemental) alors que le contrôle réactif (forme réactionnelle à la détection d’un conflit) semble rester intact [1]. Ces deux formes de contrôle ont été associées à des aires cérébrales différentes [2], cependant peu d’études ont étudié les effets de l’âge sur les régions cérébrales sous-tendant chacun de ces deux types de contrôle. Pour ce faire, une version adaptée de la tâche de Stroop a été administrée à 16 jeunes (18-30 ans) et 16 adultes (60-75 ans) en IRM fonctionnelle. Cette version de la tâche variait la quantité d’items interférents, permettant la création de trois contextes (Mostly Congruent « MC », Mostly Incongruent « MI » et Neutre) favorisant respectivement la mise en place des deux types de contrôle (réactif = congruent / proactif = incongruent). Les analyses ont été réalisées avec SPM8 (p<.001 non-corrigé). Les résultats comportementaux révèlent un traitement plus rapide de l’interférence dans le contexte « MI » que « MC » pour les jeunes adultes uniquement. Au niveau cérébral, le traitement de l’interférence en MI semble associé à une diminution d’activité (surtout à droite) dans les régions frontales et temporales chez les volontaires âgés par rapport aux plus jeunes, alors qu’en MC, les âgés montrent une augmentation d’activité bilatérale au niveau frontal. Ainsi, les résultats comportementaux montrent que les adultes âgés semblent avoir plus de difficultés à implémenter un contrôle proactif (associé à une diminution d’activité) que les jeunes dans les régions sous-tendant la performance à cette tâche. Cependant, le recrutement supplémentaire de régions frontales observé lors du contexte MC postulé pour favoriser le contrôle réactif, suggère la présence de mécanismes de compensation. Pour conclure, le vieillissement semble affecter de manière différentielle l’activité des régions cérébrales sous-tendant les différents types de contrôle. [less ▲]

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See detailThe influence of COMT single nucleotide polymorphism (rs4680) on the neural substrates of working memory representations maintenance in healthy aging
Manard, Marine ULg; François, Sarah ULg; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg et al

Poster (2016, May 10)

The COMT val108/158met polymorphism was associated to the dopaminergic modulation in the brain, and therefore stimulated research on its influence for cognitive functioning and particularly working memory ... [more ▼]

The COMT val108/158met polymorphism was associated to the dopaminergic modulation in the brain, and therefore stimulated research on its influence for cognitive functioning and particularly working memory. First, a general advantage of carrying the met allele was reported. However, many studies used tasks that did not allow efficiently assessing the contribution of manipulation and maintenance processes in working memory, leading to divergent results, in both young and older populations, resulting in debates about the exact phenotypic effect of the COMT polymorphism. Using fMRI, this study was designed to assess the potential effect of the COMT polymorphism on age-related differences in working memory representations maintenance abilities (Sternberg paradigm). Partial Least Squares method was used to determine the brain-behavior correlations at low, intermediate, and high cognitive demands among young and older groups, homozygous for the val or for the met allele. First, young val/val showed some disadvantages at brain and behavioral level compared to their m/m counterparts. However, in older adults subgroups, the m/m participants tended to show greater age-related difference (when compared to younger adults with similar genotype), suggesting an advantage in carrying the val allele when dopamine signaling is not at optimal efficiency (optimal: young/middle adulthood vs suboptimal: childhood or older ages). These results will be discussed in regard to compensating theories and dopaminergic models accounting for the potential effect of COMT polymorphism on stability/flexibility abilities. [less ▲]

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See detailRelationship between grey matter integrity and executive abilities in aging
Manard, Marine ULg; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg; Salmon, Eric ULg et al

in Brain Research (2016), 1642

This cross-sectional study was designed to investigate grey matter changes that occur in healthy aging and the relationship between grey matter characteristics and executive functioning. Thirty-six young ... [more ▼]

This cross-sectional study was designed to investigate grey matter changes that occur in healthy aging and the relationship between grey matter characteristics and executive functioning. Thirty-six young adults (18 to 30 years old) and 43 seniors (60 to 75 years old) were included. A general executive score was derived from a large battery of neuropsychological tests assessing three major aspects of executive functioning (inhibition, updating and shifting). Age-related grey matter changes were investigated by comparing young and older adults using voxel-based morphometry and voxel-based cortical thickness methods. A widespread difference in grey matter volume was found across many brain regions, whereas cortical thinning was mainly restricted to central areas. Multivariate analyses showed age-related changes in relatively similar brain regions to the respective univariate analyses but appeared more limited. Finally, in the older adult sample, a significant relationship between global executive performance and decreased grey matter volume in anterior (i.e. frontal, insular and cingulate cortex) but also some posterior brain areas (i.e. temporal and parietal cortices) as well as subcortical structures was observed. Results of this study highlight the distribution of age-related effects on grey matter volume and show that cortical atrophy does not appear primarily in “frontal” brain regions. From a cognitive viewpoint, age-related executive functioning seems to be related to grey matter volume but not to cortical thickness. Therefore, our results also highlight the influence of methodological aspects (from preprocessing to statistical analysis) on the pattern of results, which could explain the lack of consensus in literature. [less ▲]

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See detailInfluence of COMT Genotype on Antero-Posterior Cortical Functional Connectivity Underlying Interference Resolution
Jaspar, Mathieu ULg; Manard, Marine ULg; DIDEBERG, Vinciane ULg et al

in Cerebral Cortex (2016), 26

Genetic variability related to the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene (Val158Met) has received increasing attention as a possible modulator of executive functioning and its neural correlates ... [more ▼]

Genetic variability related to the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene (Val158Met) has received increasing attention as a possible modulator of executive functioning and its neural correlates. However, this attention has generally centred on the prefrontal cortices because of the well-known direct impact of COMT enzyme on these cerebral regions. In this study, we were interested in the modulating effect of COMT genotype on anterior and posterior brain areas underlying interference resolution during a Stroop task. More specifically, we were interested in the functional connectivity between the right inferior frontal operculum (IFop), an area frequently associated with inhibitory efficiency, and posterior brain regions involved in reading/naming processes (the two main non-executive determinants of the Stroop effect). The Stroop task was administered during fMRI scanning to three groups of 15 young adults divided according to their COMT Val158Met genotype [Val/Val (VV), Val/Met (VM) and Met/Met (MM)]. Results indicate greater activity in the right IFop and the left middle temporal gyrus (MTG) in homozygous VV individuals than in Met allele carriers. In addition, the VV group exhibited stronger positive functional connectivity between these two brain regions and stronger negative connectivity between the right IFop and left lingual gyrus. These results confirm the impact of COMT genotype on frontal function. They also strongly suggest that differences in frontal activity influence posterior brain regions related to a non-executive component of the task. Especially, changes in functional connectivity between anterior and posterior brain areas might correspond to compensatory processes for performing the task efficiently when the available dopamine level is low. [less ▲]

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See detailThe effect of ageing and encoding instructions on episodic memory
Hagelstein, Catherine ULg; François, Sarah ULg; Manard, Marine ULg et al

Poster (2015, May 28)

During ageing, a decline in episodic memory is observed, characterized by decreased recollection (a). In this study, we investigated the influence of encoding instructions, intentional or incidental, on ... [more ▼]

During ageing, a decline in episodic memory is observed, characterized by decreased recollection (a). In this study, we investigated the influence of encoding instructions, intentional or incidental, on the performance of younger and older adults during an episodic memory task. Twenty young volunteers (aged 18 to 30 years old) and 20 older volunteers (aged 61 to 72 years old) participated in this experiment. The stimuli consisted of 300 black-and-white drawings of common objects. The task comprised two steps. During the encoding phase, 100 items were presented once ("hard" condition) and 100 other items were presented twice ("easy" condition). During recognition, the items from the encoding phase were presented again, as well as 100 new items. In each age group, half of the participants received incidental encoding instructions (they had to make size judgements about the objects depicted) while the other half were explicitly asked to memorize the objects presented because they would be asked to recognize them later on (intentional encoding). During recognition, they performed a Remember-Know judgement for the items they believed they had seen earlier. We carried out ANOVAs in order to test for the influence of instructions, age group and number of repetitions of the items in one hand on the percentage of recollection and on the other hand on the percentage of familiarity (p<.05). Results show a significant effect of age, with more correct recollection responses in young adults, whereas more correct familiarity was found in older adults. Furthermore, it was found that the items presented twice lead to more recollection than those presented only once. Finally, these results also suggest that in the older group of participants, only for the items presented twice, intentional encoding instructions lead to more recollection and less familiarity. This finding is consistent with previous work showing that the elderly do not easily use elaborate encoding strategies, and that they need more support (here, a second exposition to the material) in order to perform a deep encoding when they are encouraged to do so with intentional learning instructions (b). (a) Bugaiska, A., Clarys, D., Jarry, C., Taconnat, L., Tapia, G., Vanneste, S., & Isingrini, M. (2007). The effect of aging in recollective experience: the processing speed and executive functioning hypothesis. Consciousness and Cognition, 16(4), 797-808. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2006.11.007 (b) Froger, C., Bouazzaoui, B., Isingrini, M., & Taconnat, L. (2012). Study time allocation deficit of older adults: the role of environmental support at encoding? Psychology and Aging, 27(3), 577-588. doi:10.1037/a0026358 [less ▲]

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See detailThe neural bases of proactive and reactive control processes in healthy aging
Manard, Marine ULg; François, Sarah ULg; SALMON, Eric ULg et al

Poster (2015, May 28)

Background. Research on cognitive control suggests an age-related decline in proactive control abilities (an anticipatory form of control) whereas reactive control (consecutive to conflict detection ... [more ▼]

Background. Research on cognitive control suggests an age-related decline in proactive control abilities (an anticipatory form of control) whereas reactive control (consecutive to conflict detection) seems to remain intact [1]. As proactive and reactive control abilities were associated to specific brain networks [2], this study investigated age-related effects on the neural substrates associated to each kind of control. Method. A modified form of the Stroop task was administered to 16 young and 16 older adults in an event-related fMRI experiment. In this version of the Stroop task, three different contexts were created: (1) a mostly congruent context (MC, inducing reactive control) with a majority of congruent items, (2) a mostly incongruent context (MI, inducing proactive control) with mainly interfering items, (3) a neutral context (MN) with mainly neutral items. Preprocessing and statistical analyses were performed with SPM8 (p<.001 uncorrected). Results. Behavioral results (p<0.05) indicated faster processing of interferent items in the MI than MC context in young participants only. With regard to neuroimaging data, the comparison of the two groups showed that the processing of interferent items in the MI context is associated to decreased activity in (mainly right-sided) frontal and temporal areas in the older group. On the contrary, in the MC context, increased activity was observed in bilateral frontal areas for older compared to younger participants. Discussion. Behavioral results confirm that older participants have difficulties with the implementation of proactive control that is associated to decreased brain activity (compared to young participants) in areas underlying Stroop performance. However, the recruitment of supplementary frontal areas we observed in the reactive control condition suggests compensation processes. So, aging seems to differentially affect the neural networks associated to the various kinds of cognitive control. [less ▲]

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See detailExecutive function and grey matter atrophy in healthy aging: A voxel-based morphometry analysis
Manard, Marine ULg; Bahri, Mohamed Ali ULg; Salmon, Eric ULg et al

Poster (2014, June)

Introduction Executive functioning is one of the cognitive domain that declines in healthy aging (Salthouse, Atkinson, & Berish, 2003). In addition, neuroimaging studies pointed out diverse ... [more ▼]

Introduction Executive functioning is one of the cognitive domain that declines in healthy aging (Salthouse, Atkinson, & Berish, 2003). In addition, neuroimaging studies pointed out diverse neurobiological modifications associated to normal aging, such as reduced grey and white matter volumes and cortical thickness (Raz & Rodrigue; 2006). In that context, Voxel Based Morphometry (VBM; Ashburner & Friston, 2000) and Partial Least Square (PLS; McIntoch at al., 1996, 2004) were used to investigate the effect of grey matter atrophy on executive abilities in normal aging. Methods Thirty six young (age range: 18-30) and 43 healthy older (age range: 60-78) adults were included in this study. Executive functioning was assessed by inhibition, updating and shifting tasks (Miyake et al., 2000), and a composite score for general executive ability was created. Structural high resolution T1-weighted images were acquired with a 3T head-only scanner using a standard transmit-receive quadrature head coil (Siemens, Allegra, Erlangen, Germany). The structural images were segmented using VBM8 toolbox, normalized to the MNI stereotaxic space and the resulting grey matter volume images were smoothed (Gaussian kernel: FWHM 8mm). PLS analyses were performed to determine regional grey matter volume differences between young and older adults, and next to identify the regional grey matter volumes specifically associated to executive performance in older participants (p<0.001). PLS is a validated multivariate approach that robustly identifies whole brain activity patterns correlated with behavioral data or experimental design (i.e., scores, conditions or tasks). Results Behavioral data showed a significant age-related decline in executive functioning (t=-5.43; p<.001). MRI analyses showed that significant age-related grey matter volume decrease was mostly observed across a large network including frontal, parietal, and temporal regions. Moreover significant positive correlations between the executive score and the grey matter volumes in older participants were found in a subset of these cortical areas: the inferior, middle and superior frontal cortex, the pre and postcentral gyri, the anterior and middle cingulate cortex, the inferior and superior parietal regions, the retrosplenial cortex, and finally, the inferior, middle and superior temporal regions. Discussion This study first replicated that executive abilities decline with age (Salthouse et al., 2003). This age-related executive decline is related to specific cerebral regions within a large fronto-temporo-parietal network sensitive to age. Interestingly, the areas whose atrophy is linked to executive abilities are quite similar to those evidenced in functional neuroimaging studies in young participants (see Collette & Van der Linden, 2002; Collette, Hogge, Salmon, & Van der Linden, 2006 for reviews). Therefore, using PLS multivariate analyses, we demonstrated that executive changes in normal aging are not dependent on atrophy in frontal areas only but rather comes from a grey matter volume decrease in a large antero-posterior brain network. [less ▲]

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See detailInfluence du polymorphisme nucléotidique COMT sur la mémoire de travail et son vieillissement
Manard, Marine ULg; Collette, Fabienne ULg

in Revue de Neuropsychologie, Neurosciences Cognitives et Cliniques (2014), 6(4), 219-229

L’objectif de cette revue est de synthétiser les connaissances sur l’influence du polymorphisme nucléotidique Catéchol-O-Méthyltransférase (COMT) val108/158met sur la diminution des capacités de mémoire ... [more ▼]

L’objectif de cette revue est de synthétiser les connaissances sur l’influence du polymorphisme nucléotidique Catéchol-O-Méthyltransférase (COMT) val108/158met sur la diminution des capacités de mémoire de travail (et plus particulièrement de ses aspects exécutifs) associée à l’avancée en âge. Par son implication dans les processus de dégradation de la dopamine, notamment au niveau préfrontal, ce polymorphisme semble avoir un rôle central dans l’efficacité de la mise en œuvre de processus exécutifs. En effet, plusieurs études suggèrent un avantage phénotypique de l’allèle met du polymorphisme COMT lors de tâches exécutives requérant une stabilité des représentations cognitives. Etant donné les modifications cérébrales observées avec l’âge au niveau frontal, le polymorphisme COMT semble constituer une piste pertinente pour comprendre les altérations cognitives liées à l’âge. En effet, suite à la diminution d’efficacité du système dopaminergique, les personnes âgées présentent des déficits de mémoire de travail plus ou moins importants selon leur génotype pour le polymorphisme COMT. De plus, l’activité cérébrale associée à la réalisation de ces tâches va également varier en fonction de ce polymorphisme. Ces résultats soulignent l’intérêt d’intégrer les approches de génétique comportementale et de neuroimagerie génétique afin d’approfondir notre compréhension du vieillissement cognitif. [less ▲]

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See detailEffet de l’âge et du type d’encodage en mémoire épisodique
Hagelstein, Catherine; François, Sarah ULg; Manard, Marine ULg et al

Poster (2014)

Introduction. Lors du vieillissement, on observe une diminution des capacités mémoire épisodique (a), se caractérisant par une diminution de la recollection (b). Dans cette étude, nous nous sommes ... [more ▼]

Introduction. Lors du vieillissement, on observe une diminution des capacités mémoire épisodique (a), se caractérisant par une diminution de la recollection (b). Dans cette étude, nous nous sommes intéressés à l'influence des consignes d'encodage, intentionnelles ou incidentes, sur la performance de participants jeunes et âgés à une tâche de mémoire épisodique. Méthodologie. Vingt volontaires jeunes (18-30 ans) et 20 volontaires âgés (61-72 ans) ont participé à cette expérience. Le matériel se composait de 300 dessins en noir et blanc représentant des objets de la vie courante. La tâche se déroulait en deux étapes. Lors de la phase d'encodage, 100 items étaient présentés une seule fois (condition «difficile») et 100 autres items étaient présentés deux fois (condition «facile»). Lors de la reconnaissance, les items de la phase d’encodage étaient à nouveaux présentés, ainsi que 100 nouveaux items. Dans chaque groupe d'âge, la moitié des participants effectuait la tâche d'encodage en recevant une consigne d'encodage incident (jugement sur la taille de l'objet) tandis qu'il était explicitement demandé à l'autre moitié de mémoriser les objets qui leur étaient présentés en vue d'un test de mémoire (encodage intentionnel). Lors de la reconnaissance, les participants effectuaient un jugement de type Recollection-Familiarité pour les items qu'ils estimaient avoir vu précédemment. Nous avons réalisé des ANOVAs afin de tester l'influence des consignes, du groupe d'âge et du nombre de répétitions de l'item d'une part sur le pourcentage de réponses de type Recollection et d'autre part sur le pourcentage de réponses de type Familiarité (p<0,05). Résultats et discussion. Les analyses montrent un effet significatif de l'âge, avec un pourcentage de réponses correctes de type "recollection" plus élevé chez les sujets jeunes, tandis qu'on observe un plus grand pourcentage de réponses correctes de type "familiarité" chez les sujets âgés. De plus, les résultats montrent que les stimuli présentés deux fois produisent plus de réponses de type "recollection" que ceux présentés une seule fois. Finalement, les données suggèrent également que, pour la condition "facile" uniquement, dans le groupe de sujets âgés, les consignes d'encodage intentionnel mènent à plus de recollection et moins de familiarité. Ces résultats sont compatibles avec les travaux montrant que les personnes âgées ont des difficultés à mettre spontanément en place des stratégies d'encodage élaboré, et qu'elles ont besoin de davantage de soutien (ici sous la forme d'une deuxième exposition au matériel) pour mener à bien un encodage profond lorsqu'elles y sont encouragées par des instructions d'apprentissage intentionnel (c). Références (a) Cappell, K. A., Gmeindl, L., & Reuter-Lorenz, P. A. (2010). Age differences in prefontal recruitment during verbal working memory maintenance depend on memory load. Cortex, 46(4), 462-473. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2009.11.009 (b) Bugaiska, A., Clarys, D., Jarry, C., Taconnat, L., Tapia, G., Vanneste, S., & Isingrini, M. (2007). The effect of aging in recollective experience: the processing speed and executive functioning hypothesis. Consciousness and Cognition, 16(4), 797-808. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2006.11.007 (c) Froger, C., Bouazzaoui, B., Isingrini, M., & Taconnat, L. (2012). Study time allocation deficit of older adults: the role of environmental support at encoding? Psychology and Aging, 27(3), 577-588. doi: 10.1037/a0026358 [less ▲]

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See detailThe neural bases of proactive and reactive control processes in normal aging
Manard, Marine ULg; François, Sarah ULg; Salmon, Eric ULg et al

in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (2014)

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See detailAge-related decline in cognitive control: the role of fluid intelligence and processing speed
Manard, Marine ULg; Carabin, Delphine; Jaspar, Mathieu ULg et al

in BMC Neuroscience (2014), 15(7),

Background Research on cognitive control suggests an age-related decline in proactive control abilities whereas reactive control seems to remain intact. However, the reason of the differential age effect ... [more ▼]

Background Research on cognitive control suggests an age-related decline in proactive control abilities whereas reactive control seems to remain intact. However, the reason of the differential age effect on cognitive control efficiency is still unclear. This study investigated the potential influence of fluid intelligence and processing speed on the selective age-related decline in proactive control. Eighty young and 80 healthy older adults were included in this study. The participants were submitted to a working memory recognition paradigm, assessing proactive and reactive cognitive control by manipulating the interference level across items. Results Repeated measures ANOVAs and hierarchical linear regressions indicated that the ability to appropriately use cognitive control processes during aging seems to be at least partially affected by the amount of available cognitive resources (assessed by fluid intelligence and processing speed abilities). Conclusions This study highlights the potential role of cognitive resources on the selective age-related decline in proactive control, suggesting the importance of a more exhaustive approach considering the confounding variables during cognitive control assessment. [less ▲]

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See detailModulating effect of COMT genotype on the brain regions underlying proactive control process during inhibition
Jaspar, Mathieu ULg; Genon, Sarah ULg; Muto, Vincenzo ULg et al

in Cortex : A Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System & Behavior (2014), 50

Introduction. Genetic variability related to the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene (Val158Met polymorphism) has received increasing attention as a possible modulator of cognitive control functions ... [more ▼]

Introduction. Genetic variability related to the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene (Val158Met polymorphism) has received increasing attention as a possible modulator of cognitive control functions. Methods. In an event-related fMRI study, a modified version of the Stroop task was administered to three groups of 15 young adults according to their COMT Val158Met genotype [Val/Val (VV), Val/Met (VM) and Met/Met (MM)]. Based on the theory of dual mechanisms of control (Braver, et al., 2007), the Stroop task has been built to induce proactive or reactive control processes according to the task context. Results. Behavioral results did not show any significant group differences for reaction times but Val allele carriers individuals are less accurate in the processing of incongruent items. fMRI results revealed that proactive control is specifically associated with increased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in carriers of the Met allele, while increased activity is observed in the middle frontal gyrus (MFG) in carriers of the Val allele. Conclusion. These observations, in keeping with a higher cortical dopamine level in MM individuals, support the hypothesis of a COMT Val158Met genotype modulation of the brain regions underlying proactive control, especially in frontal areas as suggested by Braver et al. [less ▲]

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