Atypical EEG Power Correlates With Indiscriminately Friendly Behavior in Internationally Adopted Children

Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
Developmental Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.21). 03/2011; 47(2):417-31. DOI: 10.1037/a0021363
Source: PubMed


While effects of institutional care on behavioral development have been studied extensively, effects on neural systems underlying these socioemotional and attention deficits are only beginning to be examined. The current study assessed electroencephalogram (EEG) power in 18-month-old internationally adopted, postinstitutionalized children (n = 37) and comparison groups of nonadopted children (n = 47) and children internationally adopted from foster care (n = 39). For their age, postinstitutionalized children had an atypical EEG power distribution, with relative power concentrated in lower frequency bands compared with nonadopted children. Both internationally adopted groups had lower absolute alpha power than nonadopted children. EEG power was not related to growth at adoption or to global cognitive ability. Atypical EEG power distribution at 18 months predicted indiscriminate friendliness and poorer inhibitory control at 36 months. Both postinstitutionalized and foster care children were more likely than nonadopted children to exhibit indiscriminate friendliness. Results are consistent with a cortical hypoactivation model of the effects of early deprivation on neural development and provide initial evidence associating this atypical EEG pattern with indiscriminate friendliness. Outcomes observed in the foster care children raise questions about the specificity of institutional rearing as a risk factor and emphasize the need for broader consideration of the effects of early deprivation and disruptions in care.

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Available from: Amanda R Tarullo, Aug 21, 2014
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    • "Using laboratory assessments such as the Stroop, go-no-go, or Bear-Dragon task, independent studies have demonstrated predicted inverse associations between inhibitory control and indiscriminate social behaviors in young children, though the convergence has been modest to moderate (Bruce et al., 2009; Gleason et al., 2011; Pears et al., 2010). Tarullo et al. (2011) assessed in three groups of children: 18-month-old adopted postinstitutionalized children, nonadopted children, and children adopted internationally from foster care. Postinstitutionalized children had an atypical EEG power distribution, with relative power increased in lower frequency bands compared with nonadopted children. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Though noted in the clinical literature for more than 50 years, attachment disorders have been studied systematically only recently. In part because of the ubiquity of attachments in humans, determining when aberrant behavior is best explained as an attachment disorder as opposed to insecure attachment has led to some confusion. In this selective review, we consider the literature on reactive attachment disorder and disinhibited social engagement disorder and describe an emerging consensus about a number of issues, while also noting some areas of controversy and others where we lack clear answers. We include a brief history of the classification of the disorders, as well as measurement issues. We describe their clinical presentation, causes and vulnerability factors, and clinical correlates, including the relation of disorders to secure and insecure attachment classifications. We also review what little is known and what more we need to learn about interventions.Methods We conducted a literature search using PubMed, PsycINFO, and Cochrane Library databases, using search terms ‘reactive attachment disorder,’ ‘attachment disorder,’ ‘indiscriminate behavior,’ ‘indiscriminate friendliness,’ ‘indiscriminate socially disinhibited reactive attachment disorder,’ ‘disinhibited social engagement disorder,’ and ‘disinhibited social behavior.’ We also contacted investigators who have published on these topics.FindingsA growing literature has assessed behaviors in children who have experienced various types of adverse caregiving environments reflecting signs of putative attachment disorders, though fewer studies have investigated categorically defined attachment disorders. The evidence for two separate disorders is considerable, with reactive attachment disorder indicating children who lack attachments despite the developmental capacity to form them, and disinhibited social engagement disorder indicating children who lack developmentally appropriate reticence with unfamiliar adults and who violate socially sanctioned boundaries.Conclusions Although many questions remain to be answered, especially regarding appropriate interventions, we know considerably more about attachment disorders than we did only a decade ago.
    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 10/2014; 56(3). DOI:10.1111/jcpp.12347 · 6.46 Impact Factor
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    • "The second step of this " experiment " was international adoption of many of these children into very positive home environments with dedicated foster parents. The results are broadly published (Audet & LeMare, 2010; Beckett et al., 2006; Hawk & McCall, 2011; McCall et al., 2011; McCall, van IJzendoorn, Juffer, Groark, & Groza, 2012; Nelson, 2007; O'Connor, Ruer, Beckett, Kreppner, & English/Romanian Adoptees Study Team, 2000; Rutter et al., 2010; Tarullo, Garvin & Gunnar, 2011). "
    Prevention science, Edited by Zili Sloboda & Hanno Petras, 01/2014: chapter Benchmarks, developmental challenges, and risks during the prenatal and infancy period: pages 27-58; Springer., ISBN: 978-1-4899-7423-5 und -7424-2 (e-book)
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    • "Such impact may be reflected in neural measures, like altered brain activity measured by electroencephalographic (EEG) power. Reduced EEG power has been observed in post-institutionalized children compared to family-raised children [1] and in adults exposed to early life stress compared to non-exposed controls [2]. Furthermore, early stressful experiences have been linked to altered mental health later in life, like mood and anxiety disorders and even neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia [3], [4]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Exposure to early life stress may profoundly influence the developing brain in lasting ways. Neuropsychiatric disorders associated with early life adversity may involve neural changes reflected in EEG power as a measure of brain activity and disturbed sleep. The main aim of the present study was for the first time to characterize possible changes in adult EEG power after postnatal maternal separation in rats. Furthermore, in the same animals, we investigated how EEG power and sleep architecture were affected after exposure to a chronic mild stress protocol. During postnatal day 2-14 male rats were exposed to either long maternal separation (180 min) or brief maternal separation (10 min). Long maternally separated offspring showed a sleep-wake nonspecific reduction in adult EEG power at the frontal EEG derivation compared to the brief maternally separated group. The quality of slow wave sleep differed as the long maternally separated group showed lower delta power in the frontal-frontal EEG and a slower reduction of the sleep pressure. Exposure to chronic mild stress led to a lower EEG power in both groups. Chronic exposure to mild stressors affected sleep differently in the two groups of maternal separation. Long maternally separated offspring showed more total sleep time, more episodes of rapid eye movement sleep and higher percentage of non-rapid eye movement episodes ending in rapid eye movement sleep compared to brief maternal separation. Chronic stress affected similarly other sleep parameters and flattened the sleep homeostasis curves in all offspring. The results confirm that early environmental conditions modulate the brain functioning in a long-lasting way.
    PLoS ONE 07/2013; 8(7):e69923. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0069923 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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