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Priorities for selection and representation in natural tasks. - Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
Selecting and remembering visual information is an active and competitive process. In natural environments, representations are tightly coupled to task. Objects that are task-relevant are remembered better due to a combination of increased selection for fixation and strategic control of encoding and/or retaining viewed information. However, it is not understood how physically manipulating objects when performing a natural task influences priorities for selection and memory. In this study, we compare priorities for selection and memory when actively engaged in a natural task with first-person observation of the same object manipulations. Results suggest that active manipulation of a task-relevant object results in a specific prioritization for object position information compared with other properties and compared with action observation of the same manipulations. Experiment 2 confirms that this spatial prioritization is likely to arise from manipulation rather than differences in spatial representation in real environments and the movies used for action observation. Thus, our findings imply that physical manipulation of task relevant objects results in a specific prioritization of spatial information about task-relevant objects, possibly coupled with strategic de-prioritization of colour memory for irrelevant objects.
Longitudinal neuroimaging and neuropsychological profiles of frontotemporal dementia with C9ORF72 expansions. - Alzheimer's research & therapy
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a common cause of early-onset dementia with a significant genetic component, as underlined by the recent identification of repeat expansions in the gene C9ORF72 as a major cause of FTD and motor neuron disease. Understanding the neurobiology and clinical phenomenology of this novel mutation is currently a major research focus. However, few data are available concerning the longitudinal evolution of this genetic disease. Here we present longitudinal neuropsychological and neuroimaging data on a cohort of patients with pathological repeat expansions in C9ORF72.Following a review of the University College London FTD DNA database, 20 cases were retrospectively identified with a C9ORF72 expansion. Twelve cases had longitudinal neuropsychology data available and six of these cases also had longitudinal volumetric brain magnetic resonance imaging. Cortical and subcortical volumes were extracted using FreeSurfer. Rates of whole brain, hemispheric, cerebellar and ventricular change were calculated for each subject. Nonlinear fluid registration of follow-up to baseline scan was performed to visualise longitudinal intra-subject patterns of brain atrophy and ventricular expansion.Patients had low average verbal and performance IQ at baseline that became impaired (< 5th percentile) at follow-up. In particular, visual memory, naming and dominant parietal skills all showed deterioration. Mean rates of whole brain atrophy (1.4%/year) and ventricular expansion (3.2 ml/year) were substantially greater in patients with the C9ORF72 mutation than in healthy controls; atrophy was symmetrical between the cerebral hemispheres within the C9ORF72 mutation group. The thalamus and cerebellum showed significant atrophy whereas no cortical areas were preferentially affected. Longitudinal fluid imaging in individual patients demonstrated heterogeneous patterns of progressive volume loss; however, ventricular expansion and cerebellar volume loss were consistent findings.Disease evolution in C9ORF72-associated FTD is linked neuropsychologically with increasing involvement of parietal and amnestic functions, and neuroanatomically with rather diffuse and variable cortical and central atrophy but more consistent involvement of the cerebellum and thalamus. These longitudinal profiles are consistent with disease spread within a distributed subcortical network and demonstrate the feasibility of longitudinal biomarkers for tracking the evolution of the C9ORF72 mutation phenotype.
Assessing the effectiveness of the British Army's mental health service. - British journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing)
The Ministry of Defence's commitment to modernizing and improving mental health (MH) care for Armed Forces personnel has resulted in considerable changes to frontline services. The last remaining United Kingdom (UK) military psychiatric hospital closed on 1 April 2004 with the move to a clear, integrated care pathway between primary healthcare, military departments of community mental health (DCMHs) and secondary healthcare. The Army's eight UK DCMHs provide a patient-centred, occupational MH service grounded in the military MH philosophy of local, easily accessible, effective treatment (O'Brien, 1998). These MH services have been exposed to significant media interest and this article will attempt to quantify the correct state of affairs through patient, customer and staff satisfaction surveys. Clinical groups in the customer survey recorded a satisfaction rate of 87%, the staff survey 72% and the patient survey 94%. The Army has excellent access to specialist MH support and a common theme emerging in these surveys is the perception that the MH teams provide a high quality of service. The three surveys provide valuable direction to improve patient care and highlight strengths such as 97% of patients receiving appointments compatible with their duties.
Bone morphogenetic proteins regulate ionotropic glutamate receptors in human retina. - The European journal of neuroscience
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are required for the development of retina, but their role in the mature eye is unknown. We therefore examined the expression of BMP-7 in adult human retina and assessed its effects on horizontal cells cultured from adult human retina. BMP-7 expression was detected in all retinal layers, with high levels of expression being present in the inner and outer nuclear layers. Human horizontal cells, found in the inner nuclear layer, possess both AMPA and kainate receptors, and glutamatergic agonists that activate these receptors induce prominent inward currents. Exposure to BMP-7 suppresses the kainate receptor current but enhances the AMPA receptor current. BMP-6, activin, and cartilage-derived morphogenic protein-2 (CDMP-2) have similar effects to BMP-7 and act just as rapidly (< 1 s). In contrast BMP-2 and transforming growth factor-beta2 are inactive. The actions of BMP-7 on both AMPA and kainate receptors were blocked by the nonselective kinase inhibitor, staurosporine. In contrast, the serine/threonine kinase inhibitors blocked only the effects of BMP-7 on the AMPA current. Thus, BMPs rapidly and differentially regulate two ionotropic glutamate receptors through distinct pathways, neither of which involves nuclear regulatory activity. These observations suggest that BMPs might modify synaptic function in the mature nervous system.
Glutamate receptor subtypes in human retinal horizontal cells. - Visual neuroscience
Glutamate receptor currents were examined in horizontal cells from cultured human retina using whole-cell recording procedures. Horizontal cells possess both AMPA and kainate receptors and both produce significant sustained currents. The kainate-induced current did not show significant desensitization and was not enhanced by concanavalin A. The sustained AMPA current was smaller than the kainate current, but the difference was almost entirely due to pronounced desensitization. The horizontal cell AMPA current was enhanced by cyclothiazide but not by PEPA, indicating the presence of the flip receptor variant. GYKI-52466 blocked the AMPA response (IC50 = 5 microM against 100 microM AMPA) but also blocked the kainate response (IC50 = 45 microM against 100 microM kainate). The diversity of glutamate receptors in human horizontal cells suggests that synaptic input to these neurons may be multiplexed through both kainate and AMPA channels.
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