[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Altered very low-frequency electroencephalographic (VLF-EEG) activity is an endophenotype of ADHD in children and adolescents. We investigated VLF-EEG case-control differences in adult samples and the effects of methylphenidate (MPH). A longitudinal case-control study was conducted examining the effects of MPH on VLF-EEG (.02-0.2Hz) during a cued continuous performance task. 41 untreated adults with ADHD and 47 controls were assessed, and 21 cases followed up after MPH treatment, with a similar follow-up for 38 controls (mean follow-up=9.4months). Cases had enhanced frontal and parietal VLF-EEG and increased omission errors. In the whole sample, increased parietal VLF-EEG correlated with increased omission errors. After controlling for subthreshold comorbid symptoms, VLF-EEG case-control differences and treatment effects remained. Post-treatment, a time by group interaction emerged; VLF-EEG and omission errors reduced to the same level as controls, with decreased inattentive symptoms in cases. Reduced VLF-EEG following MPH treatment provides preliminary evidence that changes in VLF-EEG may relate to MPH treatment effects on ADHD symptoms; and that VLF-EEG may be an intermediate phenotype of ADHD. Further studies of the treatment effect of MPH in larger controlled studies are required to formally evaluate any causal link between MPH, VLF-EEG and ADHD symptoms.
Brain and Cognition 03/2014; 86C:82-89. · 2.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Considerable evidence suggests that genetic factors combine with environmental influences to impact on the development of aggressive behavior. A genetic variant that has repeatedly been reported to render individuals more sensitive to the presence of adverse experiences, including stress exposure during fetal life, is the seven-repeat allele of the dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) gene.
The present investigation concentrated on the interplay of prenatal maternal stress and DRD4 genotype in predicting self-reported aggression in young adults. As disruption of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system has been discussed as a pathophysiological pathway to aggression, cortisol stress reactivity was additionally examined.
As part of an epidemiological cohort study, prenatal maternal stress was assessed by maternal interview 3 months after childbirth. Between the ages of 19 and 23 years, 298 offspring (140 males, 158 females) completed the Young Adult Self-Report to measure aggressive behavior and were genotyped for the DRD4 gene. At 19 years, 219 participants additionally underwent the Trier Social Stress Test to determine cortisol reactivity.
Extending earlier findings with respect to childhood antisocial behavior, the results revealed that, under conditions of higher prenatal maternal stress, carriers of the DRD4 seven-repeat allele displayed more aggression in adulthood (p = 0.032). Moreover, the same conditions which seemed to promote aggression were found to predict attenuated cortisol secretion (p = 0.028).
This is the first study to indicate a long-term impact of prenatal stress exposure on the cortisol stress response depending on DRD4 genotype.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Difficulties with performance and brain activity related to attentional orienting (Cue-P3), cognitive or response preparation (Cue-CNV) and inhibitory response control (Nogo-P3) during tasks tapping executive functions are familial in ADHD and may represent endophenotypes. The aim of this study was to clarify the impact of dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) and dopamine transporter (DAT1) gene polymorphisms on these processes in ADHD and control children.
Behavioural and electrophysiological parameters from cued continuous performance tests with low and high attentional load were assessed in boys with ADHD combined type (N = 94) and controls without family history of ADHD (N = 31). Both groups were split for the presence of at least one DRD4 7-repeat allele and the DAT1 10-6 haplotype.
Children with ADHD showed diminished performance and lower Cue-P3, CNV and Nogo-P3 amplitudes. Children with DRD4 7R showed similar performance problems and lower Cue-P3 and CNV, but Nogo-P3 was not reduced. Children with the DAT1 10-6 haplotype had no difficulties with performance or Cue-P3 and CNV, but contrary to expectations increased Nogo-P3. There were no Genotype by ADHD interactions.
This study detected specific effects of DRD4 7R on performance and brain activity related to attentional orienting and response preparation, while DAT1 10-6 was associated with elevated brain activity related to inhibitory response control, which potentially compensates increased impulsivity. As these genotype effects were additive to the impact of ADHD, the current results indicate that DRD4 and DAT1 polymorphisms are functionally relevant risk factors for ADHD and presumably other disorders sharing these endophenotypes.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 02/2014; · 5.42 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inhibitory response control has been extensively investigated in both electrophysiological (ERP) and hemodynamic (fMRI) studies. However, very few multimodal results address the coupling of these inhibition markers. In fMRI, response inhibition has been most consistently linked to activation of the anterior insula and inferior frontal cortex (IFC), often also the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). ERP work has established increased N2 and P3 amplitudes during NoGo compared to Go conditions in most studies. Previous simultaneous EEG-fMRI imaging reported association of the N2/P3 complex with activation of areas like the anterior midcingulate cortex (aMCC) and anterior insula. In this study we investigated inhibitory control in 23 healthy young adults (mean age=24.7, n=17 for EEG during fMRI) using a combined Flanker/NoGo task during simultaneous EEG and fMRI recording. Separate fMRI and ERP analysis yielded higher activation in the anterior insula, IFG and ACC as well as increased N2 and P3 amplitudes during NoGo trials in accordance with the literature. Combined analysis modelling sequential N2 and P3 effects through joint parametric modulation revealed correlation of higher N2 amplitude with deactivation in parts of the default mode network (DMN) and the cingulate motor area (CMA) as well as correlation of higher central P3 amplitude with activation of the left anterior insula, IFG and posterior cingulate. The EEG-fMRI results resolve the localizations of these sequential activations. They suggest a general role for allocation of attentional resources and motor inhibition for N2 and link memory recollection and internal reflection to P3 amplitude, in addition to previously described response inhibition as reflected by the anterior insula.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective
Objective biomarkers for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could improve diagnostics or treatment monitoring of this psychiatric disorder. The resting electroencephalogram (EEG) provides non-invasive spectral markers of brain function and development. Their accuracy as ADHD markers is increasingly questioned but may improve with pattern classification.
This study provides an integrated analysis of ADHD and developmental effects in children and adults using regression analysis and support vector machine classification of spectral resting (eyes-closed) EEG biomarkers in order to clarify their diagnostic value.
ADHD effects on EEG strongly depend on age and frequency. We observed typical non-linear developmental decreases in delta and theta power for both ADHD and control groups. However, for ADHD adults we found a slowing in alpha frequency combined with a higher power in alpha-1 (8 – 10 Hz) and beta (13 – 30 Hz). Support vector machine classification of ADHD adults versus controls yielded a notable cross validated sensitivity of 67% and specificity of 83% using power and central frequency from all frequency bands. ADHD children were not classified convincingly with these markers.
Resting state electrophysiology is altered in ADHD, and these electrophysiological impairments persist into adulthood.
Spectral biomarkers may have both diagnostic and prognostic value.
Clinical neurophysiology: official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 01/2014; · 3.12 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Altered very low-frequency electroencephalographic (VLF-EEG) activity is an endophenotype of ADHD in children and adolescents. We investigated VLF-EEG case-control differences in adult samples and the effects of methylphenidate (MPH). A longitudinal case-control study was conducted examining the effects of MPH on VLF-EEG (.02–0.2 Hz) during a cued continuous performance task. 41 untreated adults with ADHD and 47 controls were assessed, and 21 cases followed up after MPH treatment, with a similar follow-up for 38 controls (mean follow-up = 9.4 months). Cases had enhanced frontal and parietal VLF-EEG and increased omission errors. In the whole sample, increased parietal VLF-EEG correlated with increased omission errors. After controlling for subthreshold comorbid symptoms, VLF-EEG case-control differences and treatment effects remained. Post-treatment, a time by group interaction emerged; VLF-EEG and omission errors reduced to the same level as controls, with decreased inattentive symptoms in cases. Reduced VLF-EEG following MPH treatment provides preliminary evidence that changes in VLF-EEG may relate to MPH treatment effects on ADHD symptoms; and that VLF-EEG may be an intermediate phenotype of ADHD. Further studies of the treatment effect of MPH in larger controlled studies are required to formally evaluate any causal link between MPH, VLF-EEG and ADHD symptoms.
Brain and Cognition 01/2014; 86:82–89. · 2.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aggressive behaviour is a common phenomenon during childhood and adolescence, but at the same time it is an important associated feature of many psychiatric disorders during this age period. Persistent aggression is related to a variety of negative outcomes in adulthood, including low socioeconomic status and unemployment, criminal behaviour and social isolation. The great heterogeneity of aggressive behaviour still hampers our understanding of causal mechanisms. Still, over the past years, the identification of specific subtypes of aggression has opened possibilities for new and individualized treatment approaches. This article provides information on different subtypes of aggression in children and adolescents, on individual differences that contribute to aggression during development and on possible underlying processes related to aggressive behaviour in young people. Current treatment approaches as well as new emerging treatment possibilities are discussed.
Current topics in behavioral neurosciences. 12/2013;
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This chapter reviews the current research on gene-environment interactions (G × E) with regard to human violence. Findings are summarized from both behavioral and molecular genetic studies that have investigated the interplay of genetic and environmental factors in terms of influencing violence-related behavior. Together, these studies reveal promising evidence that genetic factors combine with environmental influences to impact on the development of violent behavior and related phenotypes. G × E have been identified for a number of candidate genes implicated in violence. Moreover, the reviewed G × E were found to extend to a broad range of environmental characteristics, including both adverse and favorable conditions. As has been the case with other G × E research, findings have been mixed, with considerable heterogeneity between studies. Lack of replication together with serious methodological limitations remains a major challenge for drawing definitive conclusions about the nature of violence-related G × E. In order to fulfill its potential, it is recommended that future G × E research needs to shift its focus to dissecting the neural mechanisms and the underlying pathophysiological pathways by which genetic variation may influence differential susceptibility to environmental exposures.
Current topics in behavioral neurosciences. 12/2013;
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent research suggests an important role of FKBP5, a glucocorticoid receptor regulating co-chaperone, in the development of stress-related diseases such as depression and anxiety disorders. The present study aimed to replicate and extend previous evidence indicating that FKBP5 polymorphisms moderate hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function by examining whether FKBP5 rs1360780 genotype and different measures of childhood adversity interact to predict stress-induced cortisol secretion. At age 19 years, 195 young adults (90 males, 105 females) participating in an epidemiological cohort study completed the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) to assess cortisol stress responsiveness and were genotyped for the FKBP5 rs1360780. Childhood adversity was assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) and by a standardized parent interview yielding an index of family adversity. A significant interaction between genotype and childhood adversity on cortisol response to stress was demonstrated for exposure to childhood maltreatment as assessed by retrospective self-report (CTQ), but not for prospectively ascertained objective family adversity. Severity of childhood maltreatment was significantly associated with attenuated cortisol levels among carriers of the rs1360780 CC genotype, while no such effect emerged in carriers of the T allele. These findings point towards the functional involvement of FKBP5 in long-term alterations of neuroendocrine stress regulation related to childhood maltreatment, which have been suggested to represent a premorbid risk or resilience factor in the context of stress-related disorders.
European neuropsychopharmacology: the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology 12/2013; · 3.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We carried out a caging field experiment to assess the potential effects of an untreated, sewage effluent on the health status of Prochilodus lineatus. We analyzed multiple biomarker, responses, which included morphological indices, biochemical and hematological parameters as well, as oxidative stress markers. In addition, we investigated the energetic demand of that exposure. Our, findings showed that fish caged at the effluent showed a differential physiologic profile, suggesting a, strong impact on fish health. Particularly, mortality, monocytosis, transaminase increase, antioxidant, enzyme activation, lipid oxidative damage in several tissues and hepatic and muscle glycogen depletion, were observed. According to multivariate analysis, oxidative stress markers and metabolic parameters, were key biomarkers to contribute in separating fish caged at effluent site from those caged at, upstream and downstream sites. So, these biomarkers allied to a caging strategy are recommended for, future environmental monitoring assessments.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maternal distress during pregnancy has been linked to aggressive behavior in offspring. This effect has been interpreted in terms of 'fetal programming'. The 7-repeat (7r) allele of a VNTR polymorphism in exon III of the human dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) has consistently been associated with externalizing behavior problems, especially in the presence of adverse environmental factors. So far, it is not known whether the DRD4 genotype moderates the effect of prenatal maternal stress on the development of childhood antisocial behavior.
As part of an ongoing epidemiological cohort study, prenatal maternal stress was assessed using self-report 3 months following child birth. When children were 8, 11, and 15 years old, mothers rated their children's externalizing behavior, and diagnoses of conduct disorder and/or oppositional defiant disorder (CD/ODD) according to DSM-IV were obtained. In a sample of N = 308 participants, the effects of the DRD4 genotype, prenatal maternal stress, and the interaction thereof on antisocial outcome were tested.
Under conditions of elevated prenatal maternal stress, children carrying one or two DRD4 7r alleles were at increased risk of a diagnosis of CD/ODD. Moreover, homozygous carriers of the DRD4 7r allele displayed more externalizing behavior following exposure to higher levels of prenatal maternal stress, while homozygous carriers of the DRD4 4r allele turned out to be insensitive to the effects of prenatal stress.
This study is the first to report a gene-environment interaction related to DRD4 and prenatal maternal stress using data from a prospective study, which extends earlier findings on the impact of prenatal maternal stress with respect to childhood antisocial behavior.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 09/2013; · 5.42 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dyslexia is one of the most common childhood disorders with a prevalence of around 5-10% in school-age children. Although an important genetic component is known to have a role in the aetiology of dyslexia, we are far from understanding the molecular mechanisms leading to the disorder. Several candidate genes have been implicated in dyslexia, including DYX1C1, DCDC2, KIAA0319, and the MRPL19/C2ORF3 locus, each with reports of both positive and no replications. We generated a European cross-linguistic sample of school-age children - the NeuroDys cohort - that includes more than 900 individuals with dyslexia, sampled with homogenous inclusion criteria across eight European countries, and a comparable number of controls. Here, we describe association analysis of the dyslexia candidate genes/locus in the NeuroDys cohort. We performed both case-control and quantitative association analyses of single markers and haplotypes previously reported to be dyslexia-associated. Although we observed association signals in samples from single countries, we did not find any marker or haplotype that was significantly associated with either case-control status or quantitative measurements of word-reading or spelling in the meta-analysis of all eight countries combined. Like in other neurocognitive disorders, our findings underline the need for larger sample sizes to validate possibly weak genetic effects.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 11 September 2013; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2013.199.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 09/2013; · 3.56 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have been used to study the neural correlates of reward anticipation, but the interrelation of EEG and fMRI measures remains unknown. The goal of the present study was to investigate this relationship in response to a well established reward anticipation paradigm using simultaneous EEG-fMRI recording in healthy human subjects. Analysis of causal interactions between the thalamus (THAL), ventral-striatum (VS), and supplementary motor area (SMA), using both mediator analysis and dynamic causal modeling, revealed that (1) THAL fMRI blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) activity is mediating intermodal correlations between the EEG contingent negative variation (CNV) signal and the fMRI BOLD signal in SMA and VS, (2) the underlying causal connectivity network consists of top-down regulation from SMA to VS and SMA to THAL along with an excitatory information flow through a THAL→VS→SMA route during reward anticipation, and (3) the EEG CNV signal is best predicted by a combination of THAL fMRI BOLD response and strength of top-down regulation from SMA to VS and SMA to THAL. Collectively, these findings represent a likely neurobiological mechanism mapping a primarily subcortical process, i.e., reward anticipation, onto a cortical signature.
Journal of Neuroscience 09/2013; 33(36):14526-14533. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Changes in response contingencies require adjusting ones assumptions about outcomes of behaviors. Such adaptation processes are driven by reward prediction error (RPE) signals which reflect the inadequacy of expectations. Signals resembling RPEs are known to be encoded by mesencephalic dopamine neurons projecting to the striatum and frontal regions. Although regions that consistently process RPEs, such as the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), have been identified, only indirect evidence links timing and network organization of RPE processing in humans. In electroencephalography (EEG), which is well known for its high temporal resolution, the feedback-related negativity (FRN) has been suggested to reflect RPE processing. Recent studies, however, suggested that the FRN might reflect surprise, which would correspond to the absolute, rather than the signed RPE signals. Furthermore, the localization of the FRN remains a matter of debate. In this simultaneous EEG-functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we localized the FRN directly using the superior spatial resolution of fMRI without relying on any spatial constraint or other assumption. Using two different single-trial approaches, we consistently found a cluster within the dACC. One analysis revealed additional activations of the salience network. Furthermore, we evaluated the effect of signed RPEs and surprise signals on the FRN amplitude. We considered that both signals are usually correlated and found that only surprise signals modulate the FRN amplitude. Last, we explored the pathway of RPE signals using dynamic causal modeling (DCM). We found that the surprise signals are directly projected to the source region of the FRN. This finding contradicts earlier theories about the network organization of the FRN, but is in line with a recent theory that dopamine neurons also encode surprise-like saliency signals. Our findings crucially advance the understanding of the FRN. We found compelling evidence that the FRN originates from the dACC. Furthermore, we clarified the functional role of the FRN, and determined the role of the dACC within the RPE network. These findings should enable us to study the processing of surprise and adjustment signals in the dACC in healthy and also in psychiatric patients.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Children who are poor readers usually experience troublesome school careers and consequently often suffer from secondary emotional and behavioural problems. Early identification and prediction of later reading problems thus is critical in order to start targeted interventions for those children with an elevated risk for emerging reading problems. In this study, behavioural precursors of reading were assessed in nineteen (aged 6.4±0.3 years) non-reading kindergarteners before training letter-speech sound associations with a computerized game (Graphogame) for eight weeks. The training aimed to introduce the basic principles of letter-speech sound correspondences and to initialize the sensitization of specific brain areas to print. Event-related potentials (ERP) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data were recorded during an explicit word/symbol processing task after the training. Reading skills were assessed two years later in second grade. The focus of this study was on clarifying whether electrophysiological and fMRI data of kindergarten children significantly improve prediction of future reading skills in 2nd grade over behavioural data alone. Based on evidence from previous studies demonstrating the importance of initial print sensitivity in the left occipito-temporal visual word form system (VWFS) for learning to read, the first pronounced difference in processing words compared to symbols in the ERP, an occipito-temporal negativity (N1: 188-281ms) along with the corresponding functional activation in the left occipito-temporal VWFS were defined as potential predictors. ERP and fMRI data in kindergarteners significantly improved the prediction of reading skills in 2nd grade over behavioural data alone. Together with the behavioural measures they explained up to 88% of the variance. An additional discriminant analysis revealed a remarkably high accuracy in classifying normal (n=11) and poor readers (n=6). Due to the key limitation of the study, i.e. the small group sizes, the results of our prediction analyses should be interpreted with caution and regarded as preliminary despite crossvalidation. Nevertheless our results indicate the potential of combining neuroimaging and behavioural measures to improve prediction at an early stage, when literacy skills are acquired and interventions are most beneficial.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several studies demonstrated that resting-state EEG power differs tremendously between school-aged children and adults. Low-frequency oscillations (delta and theta, < 7 Hz) are dominant in children but become less prominent in the adult brain, where higher-frequency alpha oscillations (8-12 Hz) dominate the mature brain rhythm. However, this assessment of developmental effects with EEG power mapping is restricted to the scalp level and blind to the information flow between brain regions, thus limiting insights about brain development. In contrast dynamic source synchronization provides a tool to study inter-regional directionality on the cortical and sub-cortical source level. In this study we investigated functional and directed connectivity (information flow) with renormalized partial directed coherence during resting state EEG (eyes open and eyes closed) recordings in 17 school-aged children and 17 young adults. First, we found higher spectral mean source power in children relative to adults, irrespective of the examined frequency band and resting state. We further found that coherence values were stronger in adults compared to children in all frequency bands. The directed within-group coherence analysis indicated information flow from frontal to parietal sources in children, while information flow from parietal to frontal was observed in adults. In addition, significant thalamocortical connectivity was unidirectional (i.e., outflow to cortical regions) in adults, but bidirectional in children. Group comparison confirmed results of the single subject analyses for both functional and directed connectivity. Our results suggest that both functional and directed connectivity are sensitive to brain maturation as the distribution and directionality of functional connections differs between the developing and adult brain.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are heterogeneous, neurodevelopmental disorders with early onset, characterized by a triad of impairments in reciprocal interaction and communication as well as repetitive and restricted interests and activities. Though underlying causes still remain largely unknown, there is now evidence for abnormal growth trajectories in the early brain development in ASD during vulnerable periods and subsequent impairment of neuronal organization and differentiation of neuronal networks. A growing number of studies over the last 10 years support the efficacy of behaviorally based interventions in ASD for the improvement of social communication and behavioral functioning. In contrast, research on neurobiologically based therapies for ASD is still at its beginnings. In this article, we will provide a selective overview of novel interventions and trainings based on neurobiological principles. Directions and options for future research on treatment aiming at restoration of normal plasticity in disrupted brain circuits in ASD are discussed.