Billeke, Pablo

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Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
  • Publication
    Functional Dizziness as a Spatial Cognitive Dysfunction
    (2024) Breinbauer, Hayo; Stecher, Ximena; Zamorano, Francisco; Billeke, Pablo; Arévalo, Camilo; Villarroel, Karen; Lavin, Claudio; Faúndez, Felipe; Garrido, Rosario; Alarcón, Kevin; Delano, Paul
    (1) Background: Persistent postural-perceptual dizziness (PPPD) is a common chronic dizziness disorder with an unclear pathophysiology. It is hypothesized that PPPD may involve disrupted spatial cognition processes as a core feature. (2) Methods: A cohort of 19 PPPD patients underwent psycho-cognitive testing, including assessments for anxiety, depression, memory, attention, planning, and executive functions, with an emphasis on spatial navigation via a virtual Morris water maze. These patients were compared with 12 healthy controls and 20 individuals with other vestibular disorders but without PPPD. Vestibular function was evaluated using video head impulse testing and vestibular evoked myogenic potentials, while brain magnetic resonance imaging was used to exclude confounding pathology. (3) Results: PPPD patients demonstrated unique impairments in allocentric spatial navigation (as evidenced by the virtual Morris water maze) and in other high-demand visuospatial cognitive tasks that involve executive functions and planning, such as the Towers of London and Trail Making B tests. A factor analysis highlighted spatial navigation and advanced visuospatial functions as being central to PPPD, with a strong correlation to symptom severity. (4) Conclusions: PPPD may broadly impair higher cognitive functions, especially in spatial cognition. We discuss a disruption in the creation of enriched cognitive spatial maps as a possible pathophysiology for PPPD
  • Publication
    Country-level gender inequality is associated with structural differences in the brains of women and men
    (2023) Zugman, André; Alliende, Luz María; Medel, Vicente; Bethlehem, Richard A.I.; Seidlitz, Jakob; Ringlein, Grace; Arango, Celso; Arnatkevičiūtė, Aurina; Asmal, Laila; Bellgrove, Mark; Benegal, Vivek; Bernardo, Miquel; Billeke, Pablo; Bosch-Bayard, Jorge; Bressan, Rodrigo; Busatto, Geraldo F.; Castro, Mariana N.; Chaim-Avancini, Tiffany; Compte, Albert; Costanzi, Monise; Czepielewsk, Leticia; Dazzan, Paola; Fuente-Sandoval, Camilo de la; Forti, Marta Di; Díaz-Caneja, Covadonga M.; Díaz-Zuluaga, Ana María; Ples, Stefan Du; Duran, Fabio L. S.; Fittipaldi, Sol; Fornito, Alex; Freimer, Nelson B.; Gadelha, Ary; Gama, Clarissa S.; Garani, Ranjini; Garcia-Rizo, Clemente; Gonzalez Campo, Cecilia; Gonzalez-Valderrama, Alfonso; Guinjoan, Salvador; Holla, Bharath; Undurraga, Juan
    Gender inequality across the world has been associated with a higher risk to mental health problems and lower academic achievement in women compared to men. We also know that the brain is shaped by nurturing and adverse socio-environmental experiences. Therefore, unequal exposure to harsher conditions for women compared to men in gender-unequal countries might be reflected in differences in their brain structure, and this could be the neural mechanism partly explaining women's worse outcomes in gender-unequal countries. We examined this through a random-effects meta-analysis on cortical thickness and surface area differences between adult healthy men and women, including a meta-regression in which country-level gender inequality acted as an explanatory variable for the observed differences. A total of 139 samples from 29 different countries, totaling 7,876 MRI scans, were included. Thickness of the right hemisphere, and particularly the right caudal anterior cingulate, right medial orbitofrontal, and left lateral occipital cortex, presented no differences or even thicker regional cortices in women compared to men in gender-equal countries, reversing to thinner cortices in countries with greater gender inequality. These results point to the potentially hazardous effect of gender inequality on women's brains and provide initial evidence for neuroscience-informed policies for gender equality.
  • Publication
    Another in need enhances prosociality and modulates frontal theta oscillations in young adults
    (2023) Lavín, Claudio; Soto-Icaza, Patricia; López, Vladimir; Billeke, Pablo
    Introduction: Decision-making is a process that can be strongly affected by social factors. Evidence has shown how people deviate from traditional rationalchoice predictions under different levels of social interactions. The emergence of prosocial decision-making, defined as any action that is addressed to benefit another individual even at the expense of personal benefits, has been reported as an example of such social influence. Furthermore, brain evidence has shown the involvement of structures such as the prefrontal cortex, anterior insula, and midcingulate cortex during decision settings in which a decision maker interacts with others under physical pain or distress or while being observed by others. Methods: Using a slightly modified version of the dictator game and EEG recordings, we tested the hypothesis that the inclusion of another person into the decision setting increases prosocial decisions in young adults and that this increase is higher when the other person is associated with others in need. At the brain level, we hypothesized that the increase in prosocial decisions correlates with frontal theta activity. Results and Discussion: The results showed that including another person in the decision, setting increased prosocial behavior only when this presence was associated with someone in need. This effect was associated with an increase in frontocentral theta-oscillatory activity. These results suggest that the presence of someone in need enhances empathy concerns and norm compliance, raising the participants’ prosocial decision-making.
  • Publication
    Us versus them mentality in football fans: Significant social defeat engages the mentalization network and disengages cognitive control areas [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]
    (2023) Zamorano, Francisco; Patricio Carvajal-Paredes; Soto-Icaza, Patricia; Stecher, Ximena; Salinas, César; Muñoz Reyes, José Antonio; López, Vladimir; Méndez, Waldemar; Barrera, Joel; Aragón-Caqueo, Gonzalo; Billeke, Pablo; Carvajal Paredes, Francisco
    Background: Social affiliation is one of the building blocks that shapes cultures and communities. This motivation contributes to the development of social bonding among individuals within a group, enjoying rights, assuming obligations, and strengthening its identity. Evidence has shown that social affiliation has inspired different social phenomena, such as wars, political movements, social struggles, among others, based on two human motivations: the ingroup love and the outgroup hate. One contemporary group to study as a proxy of social affiliation, and ingroup and outgroup motivations is the sports competition. However, this affiliation model has been poorly considered in social neuroscience research. This research aimed to shed light on the neurobiological networks that are related to social affiliation in football fans of two of the most popular Chilean football teams. Methods: To this end, 43 male fans of two football rival teams watched videos of winning and losing goals of their favorite team while their brain activity was measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Results: The results showed that while the activation of the reward system was observed in fans when their team scores goals against the rival, both the activation of the mentalization network and the inhibition of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex were associated with the emotional correlates of defeat in football fans. Conclusions: Taking these findings together could contribute to a deeper understanding of social affiliation, and more importantly, of extreme affiliation phenomena, and fanaticism.
  • Publication
    Oscillatory activity underlying cognitive performance in children and adolescents with autism: a systematic review
    (2024) Soto-Icaza, Patricia; Soto-Fernández, Patricio; Kausel, Leonie; Víctor Márquez-Rodríguez, Víctor; Carvajal-Paredes, Patricio; Martínez-Molina, María Paz; Figueroa-Vargas, Alejandra; Billeke, Pablo
    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that exhibits a widely heterogeneous range of social and cognitive symptoms. This feature has challenged a broad comprehension of this neurodevelopmental disorder and therapeutic efforts to address its difficulties. Current therapeutic strategies have focused primarily on treating behavioral symptoms rather than on brain psychophysiology. During the past years, the emergence of non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (NIBS) has opened alternatives to the design of potential combined treatments focused on the NEurophysiopathology of neuropsychiatric disorders like ASD. Such interventions require identifying the key brain mechanisms underlying the symptomatology and cognitive features. Evidence has shown alterations in oscillatory features of the neural ensembles associated with cognitive functions in ASD. In this line, we elaborated a systematic revision of the evidence of alterations in brain oscillations that underlie key cognitive processes that have been shown to be affected in ASD during childhood and adolescence, namely, social cognition, attention, working memory, inhibitory control, and cognitive flexibility. This knowledge could contribute to developing therapies based on NIBS to improve these processes in populations with ASD
  • Publication
    Theta and alpha oscillations may underlie improved attention and working memory in musically trained children
    (2024) Kausel, Leonie; Zamorano, Francisco; Billeke, Pablo; Sutherland, M.E.; Alliende, M. I.; Larrain-Valenzuela, J.; Soto-Icaza, Patricia; Aboitiz, F.
    Introduction: Attention and working memory are key cognitive functions that allow us to select and maintain information in our mind for a short time, being essential for our daily life and, in particular, for learning and academic performance. It has been shown that musical training can improve working memory performance, but it is still unclear if and how the neural mechanisms of working memory and particularly attention are implicated in this process. In this work, we aimed to identify the oscillatory signature of bimodal attention and working memory that contributes to improved working memory in musically trained children. Materials and methods: We recruited children with and without musical training and asked them to complete a bimodal (auditory/visual) attention and working memory task, whereas their brain activity was measured using electroencephalography. Behavioral, time–frequency, and source reconstruction analyses were made. Results: Results showed that, overall, musically trained children performed better on the task than children without musical training. When comparing musically trained children with children without musical training, we found modulations in the alpha band pre-stimuli onset and the beginning of stimuli onset in the frontal and parietal regions. These correlated with correct responses to the attended modality. Moreover, during the end phase of stimuli presentation, we found modulations correlating with correct responses independent of attention condition in the theta and alpha bands, in the left frontal and right parietal regions. Conclusions: These results suggest that musically trained children have improved neu ronal mechanisms for both attention allocation and memory encoding. Our results can be important for developing interventions for people with attention and working memory difficulties.