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ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Date Range
2011 2019


Previously accomplished research examined sensory integration between upper limb proprioception and tactile sensation. The active proprioceptive-tactile relationship points towards an opportunity to examine neuromodulation effects on sensory integration with respect to proprioceptive error magnitude and direction. Efforts to improve focus and attention during upper limb proprioceptive tasks results in a decrease of proprioceptive error magnitudes and greater endpoint accuracy. Increased focus and attention can also be correlated to neurophysiological activity in the Locus Coeruleus (LC) during a variety of mental tasks. Through non-invasive trigeminal nerve stimulation, it may be possible to affect the activity of the LC and induce improvements …

Contributors
Orthlieb, Gerrit Chi Luk, Helms-Tillery, Stephen, Tanner, Justin, et al.
Created Date
2019

Of the 2.87 million traumatic brain injuries (TBI) sustained yearly in the United States, 75% are diffuse injuries. A single TBI can have acute and chronic influences on the neuroendocrine system leading to hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) dysregulation and increased affective disorders. Preliminary data indicate TBI causes neuroinflammation in the hippocampus, likely due to axonal damage, and in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN), where no axonal damage is apparent. Mechanisms regulating neuroinflammation in the PVN are unknown. Furthermore, chronic stress causes HPA dysregulation and glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-mediated neuroinflammation in the PVN. The goal of this project was to evaluate …

Contributors
Ridgway, Samantha, Thomas, Theresa C, Newbern, Jason, et al.
Created Date
2019

Greater than 11% of the total population of Americans age 12 and older were illicit drug users with close to 1 million suffering from cocaine use disorder in 2017 alone (SAMHSA, 2017), yet there are no effective pharmacological treatments for this disorder. Previous research from the Neisewander Laboratory in male rats found that administration of a 5-HT1BR agonist facilitates cocaine intake when given prior to a daily self-administration session, while inhibiting cocaine intake and attenuating drug-seeking behavior following 21 days of protracted abstinence, yet it is not known whether such effects are observed in female rats. Women face unique challenges …

Contributors
Scott, Samantha Nicola, Neisewander, Janet L, Olive, Michael F, et al.
Created Date
2019

Reproductive hormones are recognized for their diverse functions beyond reproduction itself, including a vital role in brain organization, structure, and function throughout the lifespan. From puberty to reproductive senescence, the female is characterized by inherent responsiveness to hormonal cyclicity. For most women, a natural transition to menopause occurs in midlife, wherein the endogenous hormonal milieu undergoes significant changes and marks the end of the reproductive life stage. Although most women experience natural menopause, many women will undergo gynecological surgery during their lifetime, which can lead to an abrupt surgical menopause. It is of critical importance to better understand how endogenous …

Contributors
Koebele, Stephanie Victoria, Bimonte-Nelson, Heather A, Conrad, Cheryl D, et al.
Created Date
2019

The label-feedback hypothesis (Lupyan, 2007, 2012) proposes that language modulates low- and high-level visual processing, such as priming visual object perception. Lupyan and Swingley (2012) found that repeating target names facilitates visual search, reducing response times and increasing accuracy. Hebert, Goldinger, and Walenchok (under review) used a modified design to replicate and extend this finding, and concluded that speaking modulates visual search via template integrity. The current series of experiments 1) replicated the work of Hebert et al. with audio stimuli played through headphones instead of self-directed speech, 2) examined the label feedback effect under conditions of varying object clarity, …

Contributors
Hebert, Katherine P, Goldinger, Stephen D, Rogalsky, Corianne, et al.
Created Date
2019

Stroke remains a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. In recent studies, chronic vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has been proven to enhance functional recovery when paired with motor rehabilitation training after stroke. Other studies have also demonstrated that delivering VNS during the onset of a stroke may elicit some neuroprotective effects as observed in remaining neural tissue and motor function. While these studies have demonstrated the benefits of VNS as a treatment or therapy in combatting stroke damage, the mechanisms responsible for these effects are still not well understood or known. The aim of this research was …

Contributors
Okada, Kristen Yuri, Kleim, Jeffrey A, Si, Jennie, et al.
Created Date
2019

Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant pediatric brain cancer and is classified into four different subgroups based on genetic profiling: sonic hedgehog (SHH), WNT, Group 3 and 4. Changes in gene expression often alter the progression and development of cancers. One way to control gene expression is through the acetylation and deacetylation of histones. More specifically in medulloblastoma SHH and Group 3, there is an increased deacetylation, and histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) can be used to target this change. Not only can HDACi target increases in deacetylation, they are also known to induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. The combination …

Contributors
Dharmaraj, Shruti, Sirianni, Rachael W, Stabenfeldt, Sarah E, et al.
Created Date
2019

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental neuropsychiatric condition with early childhood onset, thus most research has focused on characterizing brain function in young individuals. Little is understood about brain function differences in middle age and older adults with ASD, despite evidence of persistent and worsening cognitive symptoms. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in younger persons with ASD demonstrate that large-scale brain networks containing the prefrontal cortex are affected. A novel, threshold-selection-free graph theory metric is proposed as a more robust and sensitive method for tracking brain aging in ASD and is compared against five well-accepted graph theoretical analysis methods …

Contributors
Catchings, Michael Thomas, Braden, Brittany B, Greger, Bradley, et al.
Created Date
2019

In most of the work using event-related potentials (ERPs), researchers presume the function of specific components based on the careful manipulation of experimental factors, but rarely report direct evidence supporting a relationship between the neural signal and other outcomes. Perhaps most troubling is the lack of evidence that ERPs correlate with related behavioral outcomes which should result, at least in part, from the neural processes that ERPs capture. One such example is the NoGo-N2 component, an ERP component elicited in Go/NoGo paradigms. There are two primary theories regarding the functional significance of this component in this context: that the signal …

Contributors
Hampton, Ryan Scott, Varnum, Michael E.W., Shiota, Michelle N., et al.
Created Date
2019

Every year, 3 million older people are treated for fall injuries, and nearly 800,000 are hospitalized, many of which due to head injuries or hip fractures. In 2015 alone, Medicare and Medicaid paid nearly 75% of the $50 Billion in medical costs generated by falls. As the US population continues to age, more adults are beginning to deal with movement related disorders, and the need to be able to detect and mitigate these risks is becoming more necessary. Classical metrics of fall risk can capture static stability, but recent advancements have yielded new metrics to analyze balance and stability during …

Contributors
Kreisler, Itai Goeta, Lockhart, Thurmon E, Tyler, William J, et al.
Created Date
2019

With a growing number of adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), more and more research has been conducted on majority male cohorts with ASD from young, adolescence, and some older age. Currently, males make up the majority of individuals diagnosed with ASD, however, recent research states that the gender gap is closing due to more advanced screening and a better understanding of how females with ASD present their symptoms. Little research has been published on the neurocognitive differences that exist between older adults with ASD compared to neurotypical (NT) counterparts, and nothing has specifically addressed older women with ASD. This …

Contributors
Webb, Christen Len, Braden, B. Blair, Azuma, Tamiko, et al.
Created Date
2019

A direct Magnetic Resonance (MR)-based neural activity mapping technique with high spatial and temporal resolution may accelerate studies of brain functional organization. The most widely used technique for brain functional imaging is functional Magnetic Resonance Image (fMRI). The spatial resolution of fMRI is high. However, fMRI signals are highly influenced by the vasculature in each voxel and can be affected by capillary orientation and vessel size. Functional MRI analysis may, therefore, produce misleading results when voxels are nearby large vessels. Another problem in fMRI is that hemodynamic responses are slower than the neuronal activity. Therefore, temporal resolution is limited in …

Contributors
Fu, Fanrui, Sadleir, Rosalind, Kodibagkar, Vikram, et al.
Created Date
2019

Older adults often experience communication difficulties, including poorer comprehension of auditory speech when it contains complex sentence structures or occurs in noisy environments. Previous work has linked cognitive abilities and the engagement of domain-general cognitive resources, such as the cingulo-opercular and frontoparietal brain networks, in response to challenging speech. However, the degree to which these networks can support comprehension remains unclear. Furthermore, how hearing loss may be related to the cognitive resources recruited during challenging speech comprehension is unknown. This dissertation investigated how hearing, cognitive performance, and functional brain networks contribute to challenging auditory speech comprehension in older adults. Experiment …

Contributors
Fitzhugh, Megan, (Reddy) Rogalsky, Corianne, Baxter, Leslie C, et al.
Created Date
2019

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has shown benefits beyond its original therapeutic application, though there is a lack of research into these benefits in healthy and athletic populations. To address this gap in the VNS literature, the present study addresses the feasibility and possible efficacy of transcutaneous VNS (tVNS) in improving performance and various biometrics during two athletic tasks: golf tee shots and baseball pitching. Performance, cortical dynamics, anxiety measures, muscle excitation, and heart rate characteristics were assessed before and after stimulation using electroencephalography (EEG), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), and electrocardiography (ECG) during the baseball and golf tasks as well …

Contributors
Lindley, Kyle Evan, Tyler, William J, Wyckoff, Sarah, et al.
Created Date
2019

Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS) has been shown to be a promising therapeutic technique in treating many neurological diseases, including epilepsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and migraine headache. The mechanisms by which VNS acts, however, are not fully understood but may involve changes in cerebral blood flow. The vagus nerve plays a significant role in the regulation of heart rate and cerebral blood flow that are altered during VNS. Here, the effects of acute vagal nerve stimulation using varying stimulation parameters on both heart rate and cerebral blood flow were examined. Laser Speckle Contrast Analysis (LASCA) was used to analyze the …

Contributors
Hillebrand, Peter, Kleim, Jeffrey A, Helms Tillery, Stephen I, et al.
Created Date
2019

All organisms need to be able to sense and respond to their environment. Much of this process takes place via proteins embedded in the cell membrane, the border between a living thing and the external world. Transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels are a superfamily of membrane proteins that play diverse roles in physiology. Among the 27 TRP channels found in humans and other animals, TRP melastatin 8 (TRPM8) and TRP vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) are the primary sensors of cold and hot temperatures, respectively. They underlie the molecular basis of somatic temperature sensation, but beyond this are also known to …

Contributors
Hilton, Jacob, Van Horn, Wade D, Levitus, Marcia, et al.
Created Date
2019

The present series of studies examined whether a novel implementation of an intermittent restraint (IR) chronic stress paradigm could be used to investigate hippocampal-dependent spatial ability in both sexes. In experiments 1 and 2, Sprague- Dawley male rats were used to identify the optimal IR parameters to assess spatial ability. For IR, rats were restrained for 2 or 6hrs/day (IR2, IR6, respectively) for five days and then given two days off, a process that was repeated for three weeks and compared to rats restrained for 6hrs/d for each day (DR6) and non-stressed controls (CON). Spatial memory was tested on the …

Contributors
Peay, Dylan, Conrad, Cheryl D, Bimonte-Nelson, Heather, et al.
Created Date
2019

Development of effective therapeutic interventions for the treatment of mental health disorders has been a significant driving force in the search to understand the human brain. Current treatments for mental health disorders rely on modulating neurotransmitter systems such as norepinephrine (NE), serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA) and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) to achieve clinically relevant relief of symptoms. While many medications are available to the clinician that individually target these neural systems, treatment often results in patients reporting unwanted side effects or experiencing incomplete relief. To counter this lack of treatment efficacy, further investigation of other avenues for achieving similar or better …

Contributors
Stratton, Harrison James, Shafer, Michael, Olive, Micahel F, et al.
Created Date
2019

Nicotine self-administration is associated with decreased expression of the glial glutamate transporter 1 (GLT-1) and the cystine-glutamate exchange protein xCT in the nucleus accumbens core (NAcore). N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and glutamatergic agent, restores these proteins associated with increased relapse vulnerability. However, the specific molecular mechanisms driving NAC inhibitory effects on cue-induced nicotine reinstatement are unknown. Thus, the present study assessed NAC’s effects on cue-induced nicotine reinstatement are dependent on NAcore GLT-1 expression. Here, rats were treated with NAC in combination with intra-NAcore vivo-morpholinos to examine the role of GLT-1 in NAC-mediated inhibition of cue-induced nicotine seeking. …

Contributors
Namba, Mark Douglas, Gipson-Reichardt, Cassandra D, Conrad, Cheryl D, et al.
Created Date
2019

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by the degeneration of cholinergic basal forebrain (CBF) neurons in the nucleus basalis of Meynert (nbM), which provides the majority of cholinergic input to the cortical mantle and together form the basocortical cholinergic system. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) dysregulation in the temporal lobe has been associated with neuronal degeneration during AD progression. However, whether HDAC alterations play a role in cortical and cortically-projecting cholinergic nbM neuronal degeneration during AD onset is unknown. In an effort to characterize alterations in the basocortical epigenome semi-quantitative western blotting and immunohistochemistry were utilized to evaluate HDAC and sirtuin (SIRT) levels …

Contributors
Mahady, Laura Jean, Mufson, Elliott J, Bimonte-Nelson, Heather, et al.
Created Date
2018