Amelia Versace

Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (46)248.72 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Psychiatric disorders in youth characterized by behavioral and emotional dysregulation are often comorbid and difficult to distinguish. An alternative approach to conceptualizing these disorders is to move toward a diagnostic system based on underlying pathophysiologic processes that may cut across conventionally defined diagnoses. Neuroimaging techniques have potentials for the identification of these processes. To determine whether diffusion imaging, a neuroimaging technique examining white matter (WM) structure, can identify neural correlates of emotional dysregulation in a sample of youth with different psychiatric disorders characterized by behavioral and emotional dysregulation. Using global probabilistic tractography, we examined relationships between WM structure in key tracts in emotional regulation circuitry (ie, cingulum, uncinate fasciculus, and forceps minor) and (1) broader diagnostic categories of behavioral and emotional dysregulation disorders (DDs) and (2) symptom dimensions cutting across conventional diagnoses in 120 youth with behavioral and/or emotional DDs, a referred sample of the Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms (LAM) study. Thirty age- and sex-matched typically developing youth (control participants) were included. Multivariate multiple regression models were used. The study was conducted from July 1, 2010, to February 28, 2014. Fractional anisotropy as well as axial and radial diffusivity were estimated and imported into a well-established statistical package. We hypothesized that (1) youth with emotional DDs and those with both behavioral and emotional DDs would show significantly lower fractional anisotropy compared with youth with behavioral DDs in these WM tracts and (2) that there would be significant inverse relationships between dimensional measures of affective symptom severity and fractional anisotropy in these tracts across all participants. Multivariate multiple regression analyses revealed decreased fractional anisotropy and decreased axial diffusivity within the uncinate fasciculus in youth with emotional DDs vs those with behavioral DDs, those with both DDs, and the controls (F6,160 = 2.4; P = .032; all pairwise comparisons, P < .002). In the same model, greater severity of manic symptoms was positively associated with higher fractional anisotropy across all affected youth (F3,85 = 2.8; P = .044). These findings suggest that abnormal uncinate fasciculus and cingulum WM structure may underlie emotional, but not behavioral, dysregulation in pediatric psychiatric disorders and that a different neural mechanism may exist for comorbid emotional and behavioral DDs.
    JAMA Psychiatry 02/2015; · 12.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is growing evidence that cerebellum plays a crucial role in cognition and emotional regulation. Cerebellum is likely to be involved in the physiopathology of both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The objective of our study was to compare cerebellar size between patients with bipolar disorder, patients with schizophrenia, and healthy controls in a multicenter sample. In addition, we studied the influence of psychotic features on cerebellar size in patients with bipolar disorder. One hundred and fifteen patients with bipolar I disorder, 32 patients with schizophrenia, and 52 healthy controls underwent 3 Tesla MRI. Automated segmentation of cerebellum was performed using FreeSurfer software. Volumes of cerebellar cortex and white matter were extracted. Analyses of covariance were conducted, and age, sex, and intracranial volume were considered as covariates. Bilateral cerebellar cortical volumes were smaller in patients with schizophrenia compared with patients with bipolar I disorder and healthy controls. We found no significant difference of cerebellar volume between bipolar patients with and without psychotic features. No change was evidenced in white matter. Our results suggest that reduction in cerebellar cortical volume is specific to schizophrenia. Cerebellar dysfunction in bipolar disorder, if present, appears to be more subtle than a reduction in cerebellar volume. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
    Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 11/2014; · 5.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) adopts a dimensional approach for examining pathophysiological processes underlying categorically defined psychiatric diagnoses. We used this framework to examine relationships among symptom dimensions, diagnostic categories, and resting state connectivity in behaviorally and emotionally dysregulated youth selected from the Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms study (n=42) and healthy control youth (n=18). Region of interest analyses examined relationships among resting state connectivity, symptom dimensions (behavioral and emotional dysregulation measured with the Parent General Behavior Inventory-10 Item Mania Scale [PGBI-10M]; dimensional severity measures of mania, depression, anxiety), and diagnostic categories (Bipolar Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, and Disruptive Behavior Disorders). After adjusting for demographic variables, two dimensional measures showed significant inverse relationships with resting state connectivity, regardless of diagnosis: 1) PGBI-10M with amygdala-left posterior insula/bilateral putamen; and 2) depressive symptoms with amygdala-right posterior insula connectivity. Diagnostic categories showed no significant relationships with resting state connectivity. Resting state connectivity between amygdala and posterior insula decreased with increasing severity of behavioral and emotional dysregulation and depression; this suggests an intrinsic functional uncoupling of key neural regions supporting emotion processing and regulation. These findings support the RDoC dimensional approach for characterizing pathophysiologic processes that cut across different psychiatric disorders. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging 11/2014; · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Tractography studies investigating white matter (WM) abnormalities in patients with bipolar disorder have yielded heterogeneous results owing to small sample sizes. The small size limits their generalizability, a critical issue for neuroimaging studies of biomarkers of bipolar I disorder (BPI). OBJECTIVES To study WM abnormalities using whole-brain tractography in a large international multicenter sample of BPI patients and to compare these alterations between patients with or without a history of psychotic features during mood episodes. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS A cross-sectional, multicenter, international, Q-ball imaging tractography study comparing 118 BPI patients and 86 healthy control individuals. In addition, among the patient group, we compared those with and without a history of psychotic features. University hospitals in France, Germany, and the United States contributed participants. INTERVENTIONS Participants underwent assessment using the Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies at the French sites or the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV at the German and US sites. Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance images were acquired using the same acquisition parameters and scanning hardware at each site. We reconstructed 22 known deep WM tracts using Q-ball imaging tractography and an automatized segmentation technique. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Generalized fractional anisotropy values along each reconstructed WM tract. RESULTS Compared with controls, BPI patients had significant reductions in mean generalized fractional anisotropy values along the body and the splenium of the corpus callosum, the left cingulum, and the anterior part of the left arcuate fasciculus when controlling for age, sex, and acquisition site (corrected for multiple testing). Patients with a history of psychotic features had a lower mean generalized fractional anisotropy value than those without along the body of the corpus callosum (corrected for multiple testing). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE In this multicenter sample, BPI patients had reduced WM integrity in interhemispheric, limbic, and arcuate WM tracts. Interhemispheric pathways are more disrupted in patients with than in those without psychotic symptoms. Together these results highlight the existence of an anatomic disconnectivity in BPI and further underscore a role for interhemispheric disconnectivity in the pathophysiological features of psychosis in BPI.
    JAMA Psychiatry 02/2014; · 12.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuroimaging measures of behavioral and emotional dysregulation can yield biomarkers denoting developmental trajectories of psychiatric pathology in youth. We aimed to identify functional abnormalities in emotion regulation (ER) neural circuitry associated with different behavioral and emotional dysregulation trajectories using latent class growth analysis (LCGA) and neuroimaging. A total of 61 youth (9-17 years) from the Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms study, and 24 healthy control youth, completed an emotional face n-back ER task during scanning. LCGA was performed on 12 biannual reports completed over 5 years of the Parent General Behavior Inventory 10-Item Mania Scale (PGBI-10M), a parental report of the child's difficulty regulating positive mood and energy. There were two latent classes of PGBI-10M trajectories: high and decreasing (HighD; n = 22) and low and decreasing (LowD; n = 39) course of behavioral and emotional dysregulation over the 12 time points. Task performance was >89% in all youth, but more accurate in healthy controls and LowD versus HighD (p < 0.001). During ER, LowD had greater activity than HighD and healthy controls in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a key ER region, and greater functional connectivity than HighD between the amygdala and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (p's < 0.001, corrected). Patterns of function in lateral prefrontal cortical-amygdala circuitry in youth denote the severity of the developmental trajectory of behavioral and emotional dysregulation over time, and may be biological targets to guide differential treatment and novel treatment development for different levels of behavioral and emotional dysregulation in youth.
    Psychological Medicine 01/2014; · 5.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This article reviews work published by the ENIGMA Consortium and its Working Groups ( It was written collaboratively; P.T. wrote the first draft and all listed authors revised and edited the document for important intellectual content, using Google Docs for parallel editing, and approved it. Some ENIGMA investigators contributed to the design and implementation of ENIGMA or provided data but did not participate in the analysis or writing of this report. A complete listing of ENIGMA investigators is available at For ADNI, some investigators contributed to the design and implementation of ADNI or provided data but did not participate in the analysis or writing of this report. A complete listing of ADNI investigators is available at ADNI_Acknowledgement_List.pdf The work reviewed here was funded by a large number of federal and private agencies worldwide, listed in Stein et al. (2012); the funding for listed consortia is also itemized in Stein et al. (2012).
    Brain Imaging and Behavior 01/2014; · 3.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pediatric bipolar disorder involves poor social functioning, but the neural mechanisms underlying these deficits are not well understood. Previous neuroimaging studies have found deficits in emotional face processing localized to emotional brain regions. However, few studies have examined dysfunction in other regions of the face processing circuit. This study assessed hypoactivation in key face processing regions of the brain in pediatric bipolar disorder. Youth with a bipolar spectrum diagnosis (n = 20) were matched to a nonbipolar clinical group (n = 20), with similar demographics and comorbid diagnoses, and a healthy control group (n = 20). Youth participated in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning which employed a task-irrelevant emotion processing design in which processing of facial emotions was not germane to task performance. Hypoactivation, isolated to the fusiform gyrus, was found when viewing animated, emerging facial expressions of happiness, sadness, fearfulness, and especially anger in pediatric bipolar participants relative to matched clinical and healthy control groups. The results of the study imply that differences exist in visual regions of the brain's face processing system and are not solely isolated to emotional brain regions such as the amygdala. Findings are discussed in relation to facial emotion recognition and fusiform gyrus deficits previously reported in the autism literature. Behavioral interventions targeting attention to facial stimuli might be explored as possible treatments for bipolar disorder in youth.
    Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 12/2013; 52(12):1314-1325.e3. · 6.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Pediatric disorders characterized by behavioral and emotional dysregulation pose diagnostic and treatment challenges because of high comorbidity, suggesting that they may be better conceptualized dimensionally rather than categorically. Identifying neuroimaging measures associated with behavioral and emotional dysregulation in youth may inform understanding of underlying dimensional vs disorder-specific pathophysiologic features. OBJECTIVE To identify, in a large cohort of behaviorally and emotionally dysregulated youth, neuroimaging measures that (1) are associated with behavioral and emotional dysregulation pathologic dimensions (behavioral and emotional dysregulation measured with the Parent General Behavior Inventory 10-Item Mania Scale [PGBI-10M], mania, depression, and anxiety) or (2) differentiate diagnostic categories (bipolar spectrum disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and disruptive behavior disorders). DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS A multisite neuroimaging study was conducted from February 1, 2011, to April 15, 2012, at 3 academic medical centers: University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Participants included a referred sample of behaviorally and emotionally dysregulated youth from the Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms (LAMS) study (n = 85) and healthy youth (n = 20). MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Region-of-interest analyses examined relationships among prefrontal-ventral striatal reward circuitry during a reward paradigm (win, loss, and control conditions), symptom dimensions, and diagnostic categories. RESULTS Regardless of diagnosis, higher PGBI-10M scores were associated with greater left middle prefrontal cortical activity (r = 0.28) and anxiety with greater right dorsal anterior cingulate cortical (r = 0.27) activity to win. The 20 highest (t = 2.75) and 20 lowest (t = 2.42) PGBI-10M-scoring youth showed significantly greater left middle prefrontal cortical activity to win compared with 20 healthy youth. Disruptive behavior disorders were associated with lower left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activity to win (t = 2.68) (all P < .05, corrected). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Greater PGBI-10M-related left middle prefrontal cortical activity and anxiety-related right dorsal anterior cingulate cortical activity to win may reflect heightened reward sensitivity and greater attention to reward in behaviorally and emotionally dysregulated youth regardless of diagnosis. Reduced left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activity to win may reflect reward insensitivity in youth with disruptive behavior disorders. Despite a distinct reward-related neurophysiologic feature in disruptive behavior disorders, findings generally support a dimensional approach to studying neural mechanisms in behaviorally and emotionally dysregulated youth.
    JAMA Psychiatry 11/2013; 71(1). · 12.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Differentiating bipolar from recurrent unipolar depression is a major clinical challenge. In 18 healthy females and 36 females in a depressive episode - 18 with bipolar disorder type I, 18 with recurrent unipolar depression - we applied pattern recognition analysis using subdivisions of anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) blood flow at rest, measured with arterial spin labelling. Subgenual ACC blood flow classified unipolar v. bipolar depression with 81% accuracy (83% sensitivity, 78% specificity).
    The British journal of psychiatry: the journal of mental science 08/2013; · 6.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies consistently reported abnormalities in fractional anisotropy (FA) and radial diffusivity (RD), measures of the integrity of white matter (WM), in bipolar disorder (BD), that may reflect underlying pathophysiologic processes. There is, however, a pressing need to identify peripheral measures that are related to these WM measures, to help identify easily obtainable peripheral biomarkers of BD. Given the high lipid content of axonal membranes and myelin sheaths, and that elevated serum levels of lipid peroxidation are reported in BD, these serum measures may be promising peripheral biomarkers of underlying WM abnormalities in BD. We used DTI and probabilistic tractography to compare FA and RD in ten prefrontal-centered WM tracts, 8 of which are consistently shown to have abnormal FA (and/or RD) in BD, and also examined serum lipid peroxidation (lipid hydroperoxides, LPH and 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal, 4-HNE), in 24 currently euthymic BD adults (BDE) and 19 age- and gender-matched healthy adults (CONT). There was a significant effect of group upon FA in these a priori WM tracts (BDE<CONT: F([1,41])=6.8; P=0.013) and RD (BDE>CONT: F([1,41])=10.3; P=0.003), and a significant between-group difference in LPH (BDE>CONT: t([40])=2.4; P=0.022), but not in 4-HNE. Multivariate multiple regression analyses revealed that LPH variance explained, respectively, 59 and 51% of the variance of FA and RD across all study participants. This is the first study to examine relationships between measures of WM integrity and peripheral measures of lipid peroxidation. Our findings suggest that serum LPH may be useful in the development of a clinically relevant, yet easily obtainable and inexpensive, peripheral biomarkers of BD.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 29 January 2013; doi:10.1038/mp.2012.188.
    Molecular Psychiatry 01/2013; · 15.15 Impact Factor
  • European Psychiatry 01/2013; 28:1. · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, pattern recognition approaches have been used to classify patterns of brain activity elicited by sensory or cognitive processes. In the clinical context, these approaches have been mainly applied to classify groups of individuals based on structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. Only a few studies have applied similar methods to functional MRI (fMRI) data. We used a novel analytic framework to examine the extent to which unipolar and bipolar depressed individuals differed on discrimination between patterns of neural activity for happy and neutral faces. We used data from 18 currently depressed individuals with bipolar I disorder (BD) and 18 currently depressed individuals with recurrent unipolar depression (UD), matched on depression severity, age, and illness duration, and 18 age- and gender ratio-matched healthy comparison subjects (HC). fMRI data were analyzed using a general linear model and Gaussian process classifiers. The accuracy for discriminating between patterns of neural activity for happy versus neutral faces overall was lower in both patient groups relative to HC. The predictive probabilities for intense and mild happy faces were higher in HC than in BD, and for mild happy faces were higher in HC than UD (all p < 0.001). Interestingly, the predictive probability for intense happy faces was significantly higher in UD than BD (p = 0.03). These results indicate that patterns of whole-brain neural activity to intense happy faces were significantly less distinct from those for neutral faces in BD than in either HC or UD. These findings indicate that pattern recognition approaches can be used to identify abnormal brain activity patterns in patient populations and have promising clinical utility as techniques that can help to discriminate between patients with different psychiatric illnesses.
    Bipolar Disorders 06/2012; 14(4):451-60. · 4.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bipolar disorder may be characterized by a hypersensitivity to reward-relevant stimuli, potentially underlying the emotional lability and dysregulation that characterizes the illness. In parallel, research highlights the predominant role of striatal and orbitofrontal cortical (OFC) regions in reward-processing and approach-related affect. We aimed to examine whether bipolar disorder, relative to healthy, participants displayed elevated activity in these regions during reward processing. Twenty-one euthymic bipolar I disorder and 20 healthy control participants with no lifetime history of psychiatric disorder underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning during a card-guessing paradigm designed to examine reward-related brain function to anticipation and receipt of monetary reward and loss. Data were collected using a 3T Siemens Trio scanner. Region-of-interest analyses revealed that bipolar disorder participants displayed greater ventral striatal and right-sided orbitofrontal [Brodmann area (BA) 11] activity during anticipation, but not outcome, of monetary reward relative to healthy controls (p < 0.05, corrected). Whole-brain analyses indicated that bipolar disorder, relative to healthy, participants also displayed elevated left-lateral OFC (BA 47) activity during reward anticipation (p < 0.05, corrected). Elevated ventral striatal and OFC activity during reward anticipation may represent a neural mechanism for predisposition to expansive mood and hypo/mania in response to reward-relevant cues that characterizes bipolar disorder. Our findings contrast with research reporting blunted activity in the ventral striatum during reward processing in unipolar depressed individuals, relative to healthy controls. Examination of reward-related neural activity in bipolar disorder is a promising research focus to facilitate identification of biological markers of the illness.
    Bipolar Disorders 05/2012; 14(3):249-60. · 4.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inability to modulate attention away from emotional stimuli may be a key component of dysregulated emotion in bipolar disorder (BD). Previous studies of BD indicate abnormalities in neural circuitry underlying attentional control, yet few studies examined attentional control in the context of emotional distracters. We compared activity and connectivity in neural circuitry supporting attentional control and emotion processing among 22 individuals with BD type 1, currently remitted and euthymic, and 19 healthy controls. Participants performed an emotional n-back paradigm, comprising high and low attentional demand conditions, each with either emotional (happy, fearful), neutral or no face flanker distracters. During the high attentional control demand conditions without emotional distracters, BD individuals showed reduced activity relative to controls in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), and inferior parietal cortex. During the high attentional control demand conditions with fearful-face distracters, BD individuals showed greater activity than controls in these regions and amygdala and striatum. Relative to controls, BD individuals also showed abnormal patterns of effective connectivity between dACC and amygdala during high attentional control demand with emotional face distracters. Inter-episode bipolar disorder is characterized by abnormal recruitment of attentional control neural circuitry, especially in the context of emotionally distracting information.
    Psychiatry Research 04/2012; 201(3):196-205. · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Few studies have employed effective connectivity (EC) to examine the functional integrity of neural circuitry supporting abnormal emotion processing in bipolar disorder (BD), a key feature of the illness. We used Granger Causality Mapping (GCM) to map EC between the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and bilateral amygdala and a novel paradigm to assess emotion processing in adults with BD. Thirty-one remitted adults with BD [(remitted BD), mean age = 32 years], 21 adults with BD in a depressed episode [(depressed BD), mean age = 33 years], and 25 healthy control participants [(HC), mean age = 31 years] performed a block-design emotion processing task requiring color-labeling of a color flash superimposed on a task-irrelevant face morphing from neutral to emotional (happy, sad, angry, or fearful). GCM measured EC preceding (top-down) and following (bottom-up) activity between the PFC and the left and right amygdalae. Our findings indicated patterns of abnormally elevated bilateral amygdala activity in response to emerging fearful, sad, and angry facial expressions in remitted-BD subjects versus HC, and abnormally elevated right amygdala activity to emerging fearful faces in depressed-BD subjects versus HC. We also showed distinguishable patterns of abnormal EC between the amygdala and dorsomedial and ventrolateral PFC, especially to emerging happy and sad facial expressions in remitted-BD and depressed-BD subjects. EC measures of neural system level functioning can further understanding of neural mechanisms associated with abnormal emotion processing and regulation in BD. Our findings suggest major differences in recruitment of amygdala-PFC circuitry, supporting implicit emotion processing between remitted-BD and depressed-BD subjects, which may underlie changes from remission to depression in BD.
    Bipolar Disorders 03/2012; 14(2):162-74. · 4.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Pathophysiologic processes supporting abnormal emotion regulation in major depressive disorder (MDD) are poorly understood. We previously found abnormal inverse left-sided ventromedial prefrontal cortical-amygdala effective connectivity to happy faces in females with MDD. We aimed to replicate and expand this previous finding in an independent participant sample, using a more inclusive neural model, and a novel emotion processing paradigm. Methods: Nineteen individuals with MDD in depressed episode (12 females), and 19 healthy individuals, age, and gender matched, performed an implicit emotion processing and automatic attentional control paradigm to examine abnormalities in prefrontal cortical-amygdala neural circuitry during happy, angry, fearful, and sad face processing measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging in a 3-T scanner. Effective connectivity was estimated with dynamic causal modeling in a trinodal neural model including two anatomically defined prefrontal cortical regions, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and subgenual cingulate cortex (sgACC), and the amygdala. Results: We replicated our previous finding of abnormal inverse left-sided top-down ventromedial prefrontal cortical-amygdala connectivity to happy faces in females with MDD (p = 0.04), and also showed a similar pattern of abnormal inverse left-sided sgACC-amygdala connectivity to these stimuli (p = 0.03). These findings were paralleled by abnormally reduced positive left-sided ventromedial prefrontal cortical-sgACC connectivity to happy faces in females with MDD (p = 0.008), and abnormally increased positive left-sided sgACC-amygdala connectivity to fearful faces in females, and all individuals, with MDD (p = 0.008; p = 0.003). Conclusion: Different patterns of abnormal prefrontal cortical-amygdala connectivity to happy and fearful stimuli might represent neural mechanisms for the excessive self-reproach and comorbid anxiety that characterize female MDD.
    Frontiers in Psychiatry 12/2011; 2:69.
    This article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched format
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    ABSTRACT: To study white matter (WM) development in youth at high familial risk for bipolar disorder (BD). WM alterations are reported in youth and adults with BD. WM undergoes important maturational changes in adolescence. Age-related changes in WM microstructure using diffusion tensor imaging with tract-based spatial statistics in healthy offspring having a parent with BD were compared with those in healthy controls. A total of 45 offspring participated, including 20 healthy offspring with a parent diagnosed with BD (HBO) and 25 healthy control offspring of healthy parents (CONT). All were free of medical and psychiatric disorders. Mean fractional anisotropy (FA), radial diffusivity (RD), and longitudinal diffusivity were examined using whole-brain analyses, co-varying for age. Group-by-age interactions showed a linear increase in FA and a linear decrease in RD in CONT in the left corpus callosum and right inferior longitudinal fasciculus. In HBO, there was a linear decrease in FA and an increase in RD with age in the left corpus callosum and no relation between FA or RD and age in the right inferior longitudinal fasciculus. Curve fitting confirmed linear and showed nonlinear relations between FA and RD and age in these regions in CONT and HBO. This is the first study to examine WM in healthy offspring at high familial risk for BD. Results from this cross-sectional study suggest altered development of WM in HBO compared with CONT in the corpus callosum and temporal associative tracts, which may represent vulnerability markers for future BD and other psychiatric disorders in HBO.
    Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 12/2010; 49(12):1249-59, 1259.e1. · 6.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The absence of pathophysiologically relevant diagnostic markers of bipolar disorder (BD) leads to its frequent misdiagnosis as unipolar depression (UD). We aimed to determine whether whole brain white matter connectivity differentiated BD from UD depression. We employed a three-way analysis of covariance, covarying for age, to examine whole brain fractional anisotropy (FA), and corresponding longitudinal and radial diffusivity, in currently depressed adults: 15 with BD-type I (mean age 36.3 years, SD 12.0 years), 16 with recurrent UD (mean age 32.3 years, SD 10.0 years), and 24 healthy control adults (HC) (mean age 29.5 years, SD 9.43 years). Depressed groups did not differ in depression severity, age of illness onset, and illness duration. There was a main effect of group in left superior and inferior longitudinal fasciculi (SLF and ILF) (all F > or = 9.8; p < or = .05, corrected). Whole brain post hoc analyses (all t > or = 4.2; p < or = .05, corrected) revealed decreased FA in left SLF in BD, versus UD adults in inferior temporal cortex and, versus HC, in primary sensory cortex (associated with increased radial and decreased longitudinal diffusivity, respectively); and decreased FA in left ILF in UD adults versus HC. A main effect of group in right uncinate fasciculus (in orbitofrontal cortex) just failed to meet significance in all participants but was present in women. Post hoc analyses revealed decreased right uncinate fasciculus FA in all and in women, BD versus HC. White matter FA in left occipitotemporal and primary sensory regions supporting visuospatial and sensory processing differentiates BD from UD depression. Abnormally reduced FA in right fronto-temporal regions supporting mood regulation, might underlie predisposition to depression in BD. These measures might help differentiate pathophysiologic processes of BD versus UD depression.
    Biological psychiatry 09/2010; 68(6):560-7. · 8.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The amygdala plays a central role in the fronto-limbic network involved in the processing of emotions. Structural and functional abnormalities of the amygdala have recently been found in schizophrenia, although there are still contradictory results about its reduced or preserved volumes. In order to address these contradictory findings and to further elucidate the possibly underlying pathophysiological process of the amygdala, we employed structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion weighted imaging (DWI), exploring amygdalar volume and microstructural changes in 69 patients with schizophrenia and 72 matched healthy subjects, relating these indices to psychopathological measures. Measuring water diffusivity, the apparent diffusion coefficients (ADCs) for the right amygdala were found to be significantly greater in patients with schizophrenia compared with healthy controls, with a trend for abnormally reduced volumes. Also, significant correlations between mood symptoms and amygdalar volumes were found in schizophrenia. We therefore provide evidence that schizophrenia is associated with disrupted tissue organization of the right amygdala, despite partially preserved size, which may ultimately lead to abnormal emotional processing in schizophrenia. This result confirms the major role of the amygdala in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and is discussed with respect to amygdalar structural and functional abnormalities found in patients suffering from this illness.
    Psychological Medicine 05/2010; 41(2):301-11. · 5.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Amygdala-orbitofrontal cortical (OFC) functional connectivity (FC) to emotional stimuli and relationships with white matter remain little examined in bipolar disorder individuals (BD). Thirty-one BD (type I; n = 17 remitted; n = 14 depressed) and 24 age- and gender-ratio-matched healthy individuals (HC) viewed neutral, mild, and intense happy or sad emotional faces in two experiments. The FC was computed as linear and nonlinear dependence measures between amygdala and OFC time series. Effects of group, laterality, and emotion intensity upon amygdala-OFC FC and amygdala-OFC FC white matter fractional anisotropy (FA) relationships were examined. The BD versus HC showed significantly greater right amygdala-OFC FC (p < or = .001) in the sad experiment and significantly reduced bilateral amygdala-OFC FC (p = .007) in the happy experiment. Depressed but not remitted female BD versus female HC showed significantly greater left amygdala-OFC FC (p = .001) to all faces in the sad experiment and reduced bilateral amygdala-OFC FC to intense happy faces (p = .01). There was a significant nonlinear relationship (p = .001) between left amygdala-OFC FC to sad faces and FA in HC. In BD, antidepressants were associated with significantly reduced left amygdala-OFC FC to mild sad faces (p = .001). In BD, abnormally elevated right amygdala-OFC FC to sad stimuli might represent a trait vulnerability for depression, whereas abnormally elevated left amygdala-OFC FC to sad stimuli and abnormally reduced amygdala-OFC FC to intense happy stimuli might represent a depression state marker. Abnormal FC measures might normalize with antidepressant medications in BD. Nonlinear amygdala-OFC FC-FA relationships in BD and HC require further study.
    Biological psychiatry 03/2010; 67(5):422-31. · 8.93 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
248.72 Total Impact Points


  • 2008–2015
    • Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2008–2013
    • University of Pittsburgh
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2012
    • Northwestern University
      • Department of Psychology
      Evanston, IL, United States
    • University College London
      • Department of Computer Science
      London, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2010
    • Cardiff University
      • Department of Psychological Medicine and Neurology
      Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
  • 2006–2010
    • University of Verona
      • • Section of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology
      • • Department of Medicine and Public Health
      Verona, Veneto, Italy
  • 2009
    • University of São Paulo
      • Institute of Psychiatry
      São Paulo, Estado de Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • 2007–2008
    • University of Udine
      Udine, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy