[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The development of reward-related neural systems, from adolescence through adulthood, has received much recent attention in the developmental neuroimaging literature. However, few studies have investigated behavioral and neural responses to both gains and losses in pre-pubertal child populations. To address this gap in the literature, in the present study healthy children aged 7-11 years and young-adults completed an fMRI card-guessing game using candy pieces delivered post-scan as an incentive. Age differences in behavioral and neural responses to candy gains/losses were investigated. Adults and children displayed similar responses to gains, but robust age differences were observed following candy losses within the caudate, thalamus, insula, and hippocampus. Interestingly, when task behavior was included as a factor in post-hoc mediation analyses, activation following loss within the caudate/thalamus related to task behavior and relationships with age were no longer significant. Conversely, relationships between response to loss and age within the hippocampus and insula remained significant even when controlling for behavior, with children showing heightened loss responses within the dorsal/posterior insula. These results suggest that both age and task behavior influence responses within the extended reward circuitry, and that children seem to be more sensitive than adults to loss feedback particularly within the dorsal/posterior insula.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: When used effectively, cognitive reappraisal of distressing events is a highly adaptive cognitive emotion regulation (CER) strategy, with impairments in cognitive reappraisal associated with greater risk for psychopathology. Despite extensive literature examining the neural correlates of cognitive reappraisal in healthy and psychiatrically ill adults, there is a dearth of data to inform the neural bases of CER in children, a key gap in the literature necessary to map the developmental trajectory of cognitive reappraisal. In this fMRI study, psychiatrically healthy schoolchildren were instructed to use cognitive reappraisal to modulate their emotional reactions and responses of negative affect after viewing sad photos. Consistent with the adult literature, when actively engaged in reappraisal compared to passively viewing sad photos, children showed increased activation in the vlPFC, dlPFC, and dmPFC as well as in parietal and temporal lobe regions. When children used cognitive reappraisal to minimize their experience of negative affect after viewing sad stimuli they exhibited dampened amygdala responses. Results are discussed in relation to the importance of identifying and characterizing neural processes underlying adaptive CER strategies in typically developing children in order to understand how these systems go awry and relate to the risk and occurrence of affective disorders.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cannabis use is associated with working memory (WM) impairments; however, the relationship between cannabis use and WM neural circuitry is unclear. We examined whether a cannabis use disorder (CUD) was associated with differences in brain morphology between control subjects with and without a CUD and between schizophrenia subjects with and without a CUD, and whether these differences related to WM and CUD history. Subjects group-matched on demographics included 44 healthy controls, 10 subjects with a CUD history, 28 schizophrenia subjects with no history of substance use disorders, and 15 schizophrenia subjects with a CUD history. Large-deformation high-dimensional brain mapping with magnetic resonance imaging was used to obtain surface-based representations of the striatum, globus pallidus, and thalamus, compared across groups, and correlated with WM and CUD history. Surface maps were generated to visualize morphological differences. There were significant cannabis-related parametric decreases in WM across groups. Similar cannabis-related shape differences were observed in the striatum, globus pallidus, and thalamus in controls and schizophrenia subjects. Cannabis-related striatal and thalamic shape differences correlated with poorer WM and younger age of CUD onset in both groups. Schizophrenia subjects demonstrated cannabis-related neuroanatomical differences that were consistent and exaggerated compared with cannabis-related differences found in controls. The cross-sectional results suggest that both CUD groups were characterized by WM deficits and subcortical neuroanatomical differences. Future longitudinal studies could help determine whether cannabis use contributes to these observed shape differences or whether they are biomarkers of a vulnerability to the effects of cannabis that predate its misuse.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined whether depression and anxiety disorders in early childhood were associated with changes in resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) of the ventral attention network (VAN), and whether RSFC in the VAN was associated with alterations in attention specific to these disorders. Important clinical features of these illnesses, including changes in attention toward novel stimuli and changes in attention to stimuli of negative valence (threat/sad bias), indirectly implicate the VAN.
We collected resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging data in children aged 8 to 12 years. Data were volume censored to reduce artifact from submillimeter movement, resulting in analyzable data from 30 children with a history of depression and/or anxiety and 42 children with no psychiatric history. We compared pairwise RSFC among the following VAN regions: right ventro-lateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), right posterior superior temporal gyrus (pSTG), and right ventral supramarginal gyrus (vSMG). We also collected measures of threat bias and current clinical symptoms.
Children with a history of depression and/or anxiety had reduced RSFC among the regions of the VAN compared to children with no psychiatric history. The magnitude of VAN RSFC was correlated with measures of attention bias toward threat but not with current depressive, internalizing, or externalizing symptoms. No RSFC changes were detected between groups among homotopic left hemisphere regions.
Disruption in the VAN may be an early feature of depression and anxiety disorders. VAN changes were associated with attention bias and clinical history but not with current symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 12/2013; 52(12):1326-1336.e5. · 4.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Depression has been linked to increased cortisol reactivity and differences in limbic brain volumes, yet the mechanisms underlying these alterations are unclear. One main hypothesis is that stress causes these effects. This is supported by animal studies showing that chronic stress or glucocorticoid administration can lead to alterations in hippocampal and amygdala structure. Relatedly, life stress is cited as one of the major risk factors for depression and candidate gene studies have related variation in stress-system genes to increased prevalence and severity of depression. The present study tested the hypothesis that genetic profile scores combining variance across 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms from four stress-system genes (CRHR1, NR3C2, NR3C1, FKBP5) and early life stress would predict increases in cortisol levels during laboratory stressors in 120 preschool-age children (3-5 years old), as well as hippocampal and amygdala volumes assessed with MRI in these same children at school age (7-12 years old). We found that stress-system genetic profile scores positively predicted cortisol levels while the number of stressful/traumatic life events experienced by 3-5 years old negatively predicted cortisol levels. The interaction of genetic profile scores and early life stress predicted left hippocampal and left amygdala volumes. Cortisol partially mediated the effects of genetic variation and life stress on limbic brain volumes, particularly on left amygdala volume. These results suggest that stress-related genetic and early environmental factors contribute to variation in stress cortisol reactivity and limbic brain volumes in children, phenotypes associated with depression in adulthood.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 25 November 2013. doi:10.1038/npp.2013.327.
Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 11/2013; · 6.99 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spontaneous fluctuations in activity in different parts of the brain can be used to study functional brain networks. We review the use of resting-state functional MRI (rfMRI) for the purpose of mapping the macroscopic functional connectome. After describing MRI acquisition and image-processing methods commonly used to generate data in a form amenable to connectomics network analysis, we discuss different approaches for estimating network structure from that data. Finally, we describe new possibilities resulting from the high-quality rfMRI data being generated by the Human Connectome Project and highlight some upcoming challenges in functional connectomics.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11/2013; · 16.01 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE The study provides novel data to inform the mechanisms by which poverty negatively impacts childhood brain development. OBJECTIVE To investigate whether the income-to-needs ratio experienced in early childhood impacts brain development at school age and to explore the mediators of this effect. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS This study was conducted at an academic research unit at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. Data from a prospective longitudinal study of emotion development in preschool children who participated in neuroimaging at school age were used to investigate the effects of poverty on brain development. Children were assessed annually for 3 to 6 years prior to the time of a magnetic resonance imaging scan, during which they were evaluated on psychosocial, behavioral, and other developmental dimensions. Preschoolers included in the study were 3 to 6 years of age and were recruited from primary care and day care sites in the St Louis metropolitan area; they were annually assessed behaviorally for 5 to 10 years. Healthy preschoolers and those with clinical symptoms of depression participated in neuroimaging at school age/early adolescence. EXPOSURE Household poverty as measured by the income-to-needs ratio. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Brain volumes of children's white matter and cortical gray matter, as well as hippocampus and amygdala volumes, obtained using magnetic resonance imaging. Mediators of interest were caregiver support/hostility measured observationally during the preschool period and stressful life events measured prospectively. RESULTS Poverty was associated with smaller white and cortical gray matter and hippocampal and amygdala volumes. The effects of poverty on hippocampal volume were mediated by caregiving support/hostility on the left and right, as well as stressful life events on the left. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE The finding that exposure to poverty in early childhood materially impacts brain development at school age further underscores the importance of attention to the well-established deleterious effects of poverty on child development. Findings that these effects on the hippocampus are mediated by caregiving and stressful life events suggest that attempts to enhance early caregiving should be a focused public health target for prevention and early intervention. Findings substantiate the behavioral literature on the negative effects of poverty on child development and provide new data confirming that effects extend to brain development. Mechanisms for these effects on the hippocampus are suggested to inform intervention.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the past two decades, the awareness of the disabling and treatment-refractory effects of impaired cognition in schizophrenia has increased dramatically. In response to this still unmet need in the treatment of schizophrenia, the Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (CNTRICS) initiative was developed. The goal of CNTRICS is to harness cognitive neuroscience to develop a brain-based set of tools for measuring cognition in schizophrenia and to test new treatments. CNTRICS meetings focused on development of tasks with cognitive construct validity for use in both human and animal model studies. This special issue presents papers discussing the cognitive testing paradigms for animal model systems selected by CNTRICS. These paradigms are designed to measure cognitive constructs of interest within the domains of perception, attention, executive function, working memory, object/relational long-term memory, and social/affective processes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding how brain systems interact to produce complex behaviors is a central goal of cognitive neuroscience. Palaniyappan and colleagues enhance our understanding of how interactions among brain systems contribute to individual differences in function and psychopathology by examining causal interactions among the salience and central executive systems in schizophrenia.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences 09/2013; · 16.01 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The goals of the present study were to assess the interrelationships among tasks from the MATRICS and CNTRACS batteries, to determine the degree to which tasks from each battery capture unique variance in cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia, and to determine the ability of tasks from each battery to predict functional outcome. Subjects were 104 schizophrenia patients and 132 healthy control subjects recruited as part of the CNTRACS initiative. All subjects completed four CNTRACS tasks and two tasks from the MATRICS battery: Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia Symbol Coding and the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test. Functional outcome was also assessed in the schizophrenia subjects. In both the patient and control groups, we found significant intercorrelations between all higher order cognitive tasks (episodic memory, goal maintenance, processing speed, verbal learning) but minimal relationships with the visual task. For almost all tasks, scores were significantly related to measures of functional outcome, with higher associations between CNTRACS tasks and performance-based measures of function and between one of the MATRICS tasks and self-reported functioning, relative to the other functioning measures. After regressing out variance shared by other tasks, we continued to observe group differences in performance among task residuals, particularly for measures of episodic memory from both batteries, although these residuals did not correlate as robustly with functional outcome as raw test scores. These findings suggest that there exists both shared and specific variance across cognitive tasks related to cognitive and functional impairments in schizophrenia and that measures derived from cognitive neuroscience can predict functional capacity and status in schizophrenia.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability to upregulate cognitive control in motivationally salient situations was examined in individuals with schizophrenia (patients) and healthy controls. Fifty-four patients and 39 healthy controls were recruited. A computerized monetary response conflict task required participants to identity a picture, over which was printed a matching (congruent), neutral, or incongruent word. This baseline condition was followed by an incentive condition, in which participants were given the opportunity to win money on reward-cued trials. These reward-cued trials were interleaved with nonreward cued trials. Reaction times (RT) were examined for both incentive context effects (difference in RT between baseline and nonreward cue trials in the incentive condition) and incentive cue effects (difference in RT between nonreward and reward cue trials in the incentive condition). Compared with baseline, controls showed a speeding of responses during both the nonreward (incentive context effect) and reward cued (incentive cue effect) trials during the incentive condition, but with a larger incentive context than incentive cue effect, suggesting a reliance on proactive control strategies. Although patients also showed a speeding of responses to both nonreward and reward cued trials, they showed a significantly smaller incentive context effect than controls, suggesting a reduction in the use of proactive control and a greater reliance on the use of "just-in-time," reactive control strategies. These results are discussed in light of the relationship between motivation and cognitive impairments in schizophrenia, and the potential role of impairments in prefrontally mediated active maintenance mechanisms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Journal of Abnormal Psychology 07/2013; · 4.86 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research in schizophrenia has increasingly focused on incorporating measures from cognitive neuroscience, but little is known about their psychometric characteristics. Here, we extend prior research by reporting on temporal stability, as well as age and sex effects, for cognitive neuroscience paradigms optimized as part of the Cognitive Neuroscience Test Reliability and Clinical applications for Schizophrenia consortium. Ninety-nine outpatients with schizophrenia and 131 healthy controls performed 5 tasks assessing 4 constructs at 3 sessions. The constructs were (1) Goal maintenance (Dot Probe Expectancy [DPX] and AX continuous performance tasks [AX-CPT]); (2) Episodic memory (Relational and Item-Specific Encoding and Retrieval task [RiSE]); (3) Visual integration (Jittered Orientation Visual Integration task [JOVI]); and (4) Perceptual gain control (Contrast-Contrast Effect Task [CCE]). Patients performed worse than controls on all but the CCE, and the magnitude of these group differences was stable across sessions, with no sex differences observed. Improvements over sessions were seen for the AX-CPT, the DPX, and the JOVI though practice effects for the AX-CPT and the DPX were primarily present in older participants. For the AX-CPT and the JOVI, practice effects were larger for T1 to T2 than for T2 to T3. Age was associated with poor associative recognition on the RiSE and accuracy on the JOVI. Test-rest reliability ranged from poor for the JOVI threshold score to adequate to good for the DPX, AX-CPT, and JOVI accuracy measures, with RiSE and CCE measures in the moderate range. These results suggest that group differences in DPX, AX-CPT, RiSE, and JOVI are robust and consistent across repeated testing.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disrupted amygdala activity in depressed adolescents and adults while viewing facial expressions of emotion has been reported. However, few data are available to inform the developmental nature of this phenomenon, an issue that studies of the earliest known forms of depression might elucidate. The current study addressed this question by examining functional brain activity and its relationships to emotion regulation in depressed 4- to 6-year-old children and their healthy peers.
A total of 54 medication-naive 4- to 6-year-olds (23 depressed and 31 healthy) participated in a case-control study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Imaging data were used to compare functional brain activity in children with and without depression during emotion face processing.
A right-lateralized pattern of elevated amygdala, thalamus, inferior frontal gyrus, and angular gyrus activity during face processing was found in depressed 4- to 6-year-olds. In addition, relationships between increased amygdala activity during face processing and disruptions in parent-reported emotion regulation and negative affect were found. No between-group differences specific to emotion face type were identified.
To our knowledge, this is the earliest evidence of alterations in functional brain activity in depression using fMRI. Results suggest that, similar to findings in older depressed groups, depression at this age is associated with disrupted amygdala functioning during face processing. The findings also raise the intriguing possibility that disrupted amygdala function is a depression-related biomarker that spans development. Additional studies will be needed to clarify whether the current findings are a precursor to or a consequence of very early childhood depression.
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 07/2013; 52(7):737-746. · 4.98 Impact Factor