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Browsing by Author "Hyry, Saimi"

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  • Hyry, Saimi (2022)
    The aim of the study. Spontaneous eye blink rate (sEBR) is a behavioral index that has been linked to frontostriatal dopaminergic activity. Reduced or increased dopaminergic activity due to clinical conditions tends to be associated with lower or higher sEBR, respectively, and sEBR can be modulated by pharmacological agents that affect dopamine signaling. Consequently, sEBR could serve as an easily accessible method of assessing brain dopaminergic tone indirectly in humans. It might be preferable to more expensive and invasive techniques such as positron emission tomography. However, it remains unclear whether variations in dopaminergic genes predict sEBR. In this cross-sectional study, the relationship between sEBR and dopaminergic genotype was examined in two samples. Two genetic polymorphisms were focused on: the COMT Val158Met polymorphism and the A1 allele of the Taq1A polymorphism. It was hypothesized that the COMT Val158Met polymorphism is associated with higher sEBR, and that the A1 allele of the Taq1A polymorphism is associated with lower sEBR. As BMI and diet have been linked with altered striatal dopamine function, the possible association between BMI, diet, and sEBR was studied exploratively. Methods. Data from three cross-sectional studies was used in this study: The intervention study (n = 31) is an experimental study that examines the effect of acute phenylalanine/tyrosine depletion on cognitive measures. The GREADT study (n = 86) focuses on the effects of genotype and diet on dopamine tone. The BEDOB study (n = 69) investigates neurocognitive mechanisms in obesity and binge eating disorder. Similar methodologies were used in the GREADT and the BEDOB studies, which is why these datasets were combined for the analyses. Blink rates were measured using an infrared eye tracking system. The participants completed the Dietary Fat and free Sugar Questionnaire (DFS) to assess how much they consumed saturated fat and refined sugar. In the GREADT/BEDOB sample, the associations between the polymorphisms, BMI, DFS-score, and sEBR were examined with univariate analyses of variance. In the intervention study sample, a generalized linear mixed model was run to check whether sEBR changed in the intervention and whether the genotypes, BMI, or DFS-score affected sEBR. Results. No influence of the genotypes was found on sEBR in either of the samples. BMI had a significant effect on sEBR in the GREADT/BEDOB sample. The association was significant in the overweight/obese group but not in the normal weight group. DFS-score did not influence sEBR in either of the samples. Conclusions. The results of this study converge with those of authors suggesting caution in using sEBR as a proxy for central dopamine functioning of healthy humans. In future studies, particular attention should be paid to methodological considerations when studying sEBR.