Michael C Neale

Michael C Neale
Virginia Commonwealth University | VCU · Department of Psychiatry

PhD

About

885
Publications
186,499
Reads
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67,517
Citations
Additional affiliations
July 2003 - present
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Position
  • Professor of Statistical Methods for Behavioral Genetics
Description
  • This is a part-time, secondary position.
September 1986 - present
Virginia Commonwealth University
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (885)
Preprint
The amyloid-tau-neurodegeneration (ATN) framework has led to an increased focus on Alzheimers disease (AD) biomarkers. The cost and invasiveness of obtaining biomarkers via cerebrospinal fluid has motivated efforts to develop sensitive blood-based biomarkers. Although AD is highly heritable, the biometric genetic and environmental etiology of blood...
Preprint
INTRODUCTION Genetic influences on the stability of subjective memory concerns (SMC) may confound its interpretation as a state-related risk indicator. METHODS We estimated genetic influences on SMC and SMC change from average ages 38 to 67, genetic correlations of SMC with memory and depressive symptoms at average ages 56, 62, and 67, and correla...
Article
Background Stress is associated with binge eating and emotional eating (EE) cross-sectionally. However, few studies have examined stress longitudinally, limiting understanding of how within-person fluctuations in stress influence EE over time and whether stress is a risk factor or consequence of EE. Additionally, little is known regarding how the b...
Article
Longitudinal data are needed to examine effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on disordered eating. We capitalized on an ongoing, longitudinal study collecting daily data to examine changes in disordered eating symptoms in women across 49 days that spanned the time before and during the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. Women from the Michigan Sta...
Article
Background: While negative affect (NA) typically increases risk for binge eating, the ultimate impact of NA may depend on a person's ability to regulate their emotions. In this daily, longitudinal study, we examined whether emotion regulation (ER) modified the strength of NA-dysregulated eating associations. Methods: Women (N = 311) from the Mic...
Article
Background Composite scores of MRI-derived metrics in brain regions associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), commonly termed ‘AD signatures,’ have been developed to distinguish early AD-related atrophy from normal age-associated changes. Diffusion-based gray matter signatures may be more sensitive to early AD-related changes compared to thickness/...
Article
Objective To determine associations of alcohol use with cognitive aging among middle-aged men. Method 1,608 male twins (mean 57 years at baseline) participated in up to three visits over 12 years, from 2003–2007 to 2016–2019. Participants were classified into six groups based on current and past self-reported alcohol use: lifetime abstainers, form...
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Full-text available
Magnetic resonance imaging data are being used in statistical models to predicted brain ageing (PBA) and as biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Despite their increasing application, the genetic and environmental etiology of global PBA indices is unknown. Likewise, the degree to which genetic influences in PBA are...
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Reduced volumes in brain regions of interest (ROIs), primarily from adult samples, are associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We extended this work to children using data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study® (N = 11,848; M age = 9.92). Structural equation modeling and an elastic-net (EN) machine-learning appr...
Article
Composite scores of MRI‐based brain morphometry, commonly termed ‘Alzheimer’s disease (AD) signatures,’ have demonstrated associations with AD symptom severity and progression to AD. Our group recently showed that two AD signatures, a cortical thickness/volume and mean diffusivity (MD) signature, aid prediction of progression to mild cognitive impa...
Article
Background Concerns abound regarding childhood smartphone use, but studies to date have largely relied on self-reported screen use. Self-reporting of screen use is known to be misreported by pediatric samples and their parents, limiting the accurate determination of the impact of screen use on social, emotional, and cognitive development. Thus, a m...
Article
Because longitudinal studies of aging typically lack cognitive data from earlier ages, it is unclear how general cognitive ability (GCA) changes throughout the life course. In 1,173 Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging (VETSA) participants, we assessed young adult GCA at average age 20 and current GCA at three VETSA assessments beginning at average age...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite their increasing application, the genetic and environmental etiology of global predicted brain ageing (PBA) indices is unknown. Likewise, the degree to which genetic influences in PBA are longitudinally stable and how PBA changes over time are also unknown. We analyzed data from 734 men from the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging with repeated...
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The diversity and dominant bacterial taxa in the vagina are reported to be influenced by multiple intrinsic and extrinsic factors, including but not limited to pregnancy, contraceptive use, pathogenic states, socioeconomic status, and ancestry. However, the extent to which host genetic factors influence variation in the vaginal microbiota is unclea...
Article
We examined the influence of lifestyle on brain aging after nearly 30 years, and tested the hypothesis that young adult general cognitive ability (GCA) would moderate these effects. In the community-dwelling Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging (VETSA), 431 largely non-Hispanic white men completed a test of GCA at mean age 20. We created a modifiable li...
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Nicotine dependence and smoking quantity are both robustly associated with the CHRNA5-A3-B4 gene cluster in the 15q25 region, and SNP rs16969968 in particular. The purpose of this paper is to use structural equation modeling techniques (SEM) to disentangle the complex pattern of relationships between rs16969968, nicotine quantity (as measured by th...
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Neuroimaging signatures based on composite scores of cortical thickness and hippocampal volume predict progression from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s disease. However, little is known about the ability of these signatures among cognitively normal adults to predict progression to mild cognitive impairment. Towards that end, a signature se...
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Full-text available
The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study is the largest single-cohort prospective longitudinal study of neurodevelopment and children's health in the United States. A cohort of n= 11,880 children aged 9-10 years (and their parents/guardians) were recruited across 22 sites and are being followed with in-person visits on an annual basi...
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The measurement of many human traits, states, and disorders begins with a set of items on a questionnaire. The response format for these questions is often simply binary (e.g., yes/no) or ordered (e.g., high, medium or low). During data analysis, these items are frequently summed or used to estimate factor scores. In clinical applications, such ass...
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There is a long history of fitting biometrical structural-equation models (SEMs) in the pregenomic behavioral-genetics literature of twin, family, and adoption studies. Recently, a method has emerged for estimating biometrical variance–covariance components based not upon the expected degree of genetic resemblance among relatives, but upon the obse...
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The assumption in the twin model that genotypic and environmental variables are uncorrelated is primarily made to ensure parameter identification, not because researchers necessarily think that these variables are uncorrelated. Although the biasing effects of such correlations are well understood, a method to estimate these parameters in the twin m...
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The Classical Twin Method (CTM) compares the similarity of monozygotic (MZ) twins with that of dizygotic (DZ) twins to make inferences about the relative importance of genes and environment in the etiology of individual differences. The design has been applied to thousands of traits across the biomedical, behavioral and social sciences and is argua...
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Most genome-wide association study (GWAS) analyses test the association between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and a single trait or outcome. While valuable second-step analyses of these associations (e.g., calculating genetic correlations between traits) are common, single-step multivariate analyses of GWAS data are rarely performed. This...
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Full-text available
The classical twin model can be reparametrized as an equivalent multilevel model. The multilevel parameterization has underexplored advantages, such as the possibility to include higher-level clustering variables in which lower levels are nested. When this higher-level clustering is not modeled, its variance is captured by the common environmental...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Concerns abound regarding childhood smartphone use, but studies to date have largely relied on self-reported screen use. Self-reporting of screen use is known to be misreported by pediatric samples and their parents, limiting the accurate determination of the impact of screen use on social, emotional, and cognitive development. Thus, a m...
Article
Importance Incidental findings (IFs) are unexpected abnormalities discovered during imaging and can range from normal anatomic variants to findings requiring urgent medical intervention. In the case of brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), reliable data about the prevalence and significance of IFs in the general population are limited, making it...
Article
Objective: Abnormal white matter (AWM) on magnetic resonance imaging is associated with cognitive performance in older adults. We explored cognitive associations with AWM during late-midlife. Method: Participants were community-dwelling men (n = 242; M = 61.90 years; range = 56-66). Linear-mixed effects regression models examined associations of t...
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Introduction: The locus coeruleus (LC) undergoes extensive neurodegeneration in early Alzheimer's disease (AD). The LC is implicated in regulating the sleep-wake cycle, modulating cognitive function, and AD progression. Methods: Participants were 481 men (ages 62 to 71.7) from the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging. LC structural integrity was inde...
Article
Background Clarifying the relationship between depression symptoms and cardiometabolic and related health could clarify risk factors and treatment targets. The objective of this study was to assess whether depression symptoms in midlife are associated with the subsequent onset of cardiometabolic health problems. Methods The study sample comprised...
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Full-text available
Objective: To explore and apply multimodel inference to test the relative contributions of latent genetic, environmental and direct causal factors to the covariation between two variables with data from the classical twin design by estimating model-averaged parameters. Methods: Behavior genetics is concerned with understanding the causes of vari...
Chapter
Classical twin and family designs can be applied to examine the contribution of genetic and environmental influences to variation in epigenetic marks. Such models can be extended to allow for more in-depth questions, such as: How much of the variation in DNA methylation is explained by methylation Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs)? Does the contributi...
Article
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) brain signatures based on cortical thickness, with or without hippocampal volume, predict progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to AD. It would be advantageous if AD signatures could predict earlier progression to MCI. Toward that end, a signature sensitive to microstructural changes that may predate macrostructu...
Article
Longitudinal studies of aging are central to identifying early predictors of and mechanisms underlying late‐life cognitive decline and dementia. However, these studies typically lack cognitive data from earlier ages. It is therefore unclear how peak young adult general cognitive ability (GCA) and maintenance of GCA from young adulthood impact subse...
Preprint
Full-text available
The classical twin model can be reparametrized as an equivalent multilevel model. The multilevel parameterization has underexplored advantages, such as the possibility to include higher-level clustering variables in which lower levels are nested. When this higher-level clustering is not modeled, its variance is captured by the common environmental...
Article
Full-text available
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality. Genetic variation contributes to initiation, regular smoking, nicotine dependence, and cessation. We present a Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND)-based genome-wide association study in 58,000 European or African ancestry smokers. We observe five genome-wide s...
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Full-text available
Importance Both cognitive reserve and modifiable lifestyle behaviors are associated with dementia risk. The effect of early lifestyle behaviors and cognitive reserve on late midlife brain aging could inform early identification and risk reduction of future dementia. Objective Determine associations of young adult cognitive reserve, early midlife l...
Article
Conventional longitudinal behavioral genetic models estimate the relative contribution of genetic and environmental factors to stability and change of traits and behaviors. Longitudinal models rarely explain the processes that generate observed differences between genetically and socially related individuals. We propose that exchanges between indiv...
Article
Full-text available
There is a robust observational relationship between lower birthweight and higher risk of cardiometabolic disease in later life. The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) hypothesis posits that adverse environmental factors in utero increase future risk of cardiometabolic disease. Here, we explore if a genetic risk score (GRS) of mate...
Article
Ovarian hormones significantly influence dysregulated eating in females. However, most women do not develop appreciable disordered eating, which suggests that ovarian hormones may not affect all women equally. We examined whether individual differences in trait negative affect (NA) moderate ovarian hormone–dysregulated eating associations in 446 wo...
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Full-text available
Blood pressure (BP) and obesity phenotypes may covary due to shared genetic or environmental factors or both. Furthermore, it is possible that the heritability of BP differs according to obesity status-a form of G×E interaction. This hypothesis has never been tested in White twins. The present study included 15 924 White male twin pairs aged betwee...
Article
The mechanisms underlying cortical folding are incompletely understood. Prior studies have suggested that individual differences in sulcal depth are genetically mediated, with deeper and ontologically older sulci more heritable than others. In this study, we examine FreeSurfer-derived estimates of average convexity and mean curvature as proxy measu...
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Full-text available
Cortical thickness, surface area and volumes vary with age and cognitive function, and in neurological and psychiatric diseases. Here we report heritability, genetic correlations and genome-wide associations of these cortical measures across the whole cortex, and in 34 anatomically predefined regions. Our discovery sample comprises 22,824 individua...
Article
Full-text available
Cortical thickness, surface area and volumes vary with age and cognitive function, and in neurological and psychiatric diseases. Here we report heritability, genetic correlations and genome-wide associations of these cortical measures across the whole cortex, and in 34 anatomically predefined regions. Our discovery sample comprises 22,824 individua...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study is the largest single-cohort prospective longitudinal study of neurodevelopment and children's health in the United States. A cohort of n = 11,880 children aged 9-10 years (and their parents/guardians) were recruited across 22 sites and are being followed with in-person visits on an annual bas...
Article
Background Individuals with eating disorders (EDs) have increased rates of major depressive disorder (MDD) and anxiety disorders. Yet, few studies have investigated rates of EDs and their symptoms in individuals presenting with MDD/anxiety disorders. Identifying potential disordered eating in people with MDD/anxiety disorders is important because e...
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Full-text available
Estimates from Mendelian randomization studies of unrelated individuals can be biased due to uncontrolled confounding from familial effects. Here we describe methods for within-family Mendelian randomization analyses and use simulation studies to show that family-based analyses can reduce such biases. We illustrate empirically how familial effects...
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Full-text available
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has a variable clinical presentation that ranges from asymptomatic, to severe disease with cytokine storm. The mortality rates also differ across the globe, ranging from 0.5-13%. This variation is likely due to both pathogen and host factors. Host factors may include genetic differences i...
Article
Introduction: Using Swedish nationwide registry data, we investigated the contribution of genetic and environmental risk factors to the etiology of smoking status across stages of pregnancy with increasing degrees of social and psychological pressure to reduce or quit smoking, by twin and sibling modeling. Methods: Smoking status was available b...
Preprint
Full-text available
Introduction: There is a robust and well-documented observational relationship between lower birthweight and higher risk of cardiometabolic disease in later life. The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) hypothesis posits that adverse environmental factors in utero or in the early years of life result in increased future risk of card...
Article
Introduction: Predicting risk for Alzheimer's disease when most people are likely still biomarker negative would aid earlier identification. We hypothesized that combining multiple memory tests and scores in middle-aged adults would provide useful, and non-invasive, prediction of 6-year progression to MCI. Methods: We examined 849 men who were c...
Article
Dr Nick Martin has made enormous contributions to the field of behavior genetics over the past 50 years. Of his many seminal papers that have had a profound impact, we focus on his early work on the power of twin studies. He was among the first to recognize the importance of sample size calculation before conducting a study to ensure sufficient pow...
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Full-text available
Background: Mendelian randomization (MR) is widely used to unravel causal relationships in epidemiological studies. Whereas multiple MR methods have been developed to control for bias due to horizontal pleiotropy, their performance in the presence of other sources of bias, like non-random mating, has been mostly evaluated using simulated data. Emp...
Article
Emotional factors such as stress and anxiety contribute to risk of substance use in adolescents. Descriptive measures of within-person affect variability are often used to predict morbidity, but indices derived from theoretical models may provide more interpretable alternatives. A continuous-time state-space model of emotion regulation as closed-lo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality. Knowledge is evolving on genetics underlying initiation, regular smoking, nicotine dependence (ND), and cessation. We performed a genome-wide association study using the Fagerström Test for ND (FTND) in 58,000 smokers of European or African ancestry. Five genome-wide sig...
Preprint
Conventional longitudinal behavioral genetic models estimate the relative contribution of genetic and environmental factors to stability and change of traits and behaviors. Longitudinal models rarely explain the processes that generate observed differences between genetically and socially related individuals. We propose that exchanges between peopl...
Article
Genetic influences on psychiatric disorders transcend diagnostic boundaries, suggesting substantial pleiotropy of contributing loci. However, the nature and mechanisms of these pleiotropic effects remain unclear. We performed analyses of 232,964 cases and 494,162 controls from genome-wide studies of anorexia nervosa, attention-deficit/hyperactivity...
Article
Background: Low emotion differentiation (the tendency to experience vague affective states rather than discrete emotions) is associated with psychopathology marked by emotion regulation deficits and impulsive/maladaptive behavior. However, research examining associations between emotion differentiation and dysregulated eating is nascent and has ye...
Article
The cerebral cortex contains a significant quantity of intracortical myelin, but the genetics of cortical myelination (CM) in humans is not well understood. Relatively novel MRI-derived measures now enable the investigation of cortical myelination in large samples. In this study, we use a genetically-informative neuroimaging sample of 1096 young ad...
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Full-text available
Human postural sway during quiet standing has been characterized as a proportional-integral-derivative controller with intermittent activation. In the model, patterns of sway result from both instantaneous, passive, mechanical resistance and delayed, intermittent resistance signaled by the central nervous system. A Kalman-Filter framework was desig...
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Parental socioeconomic status (SES) is a strong predictor of children’s educational achievement (EA), with an increasing effect throughout development. Inequality in educational outcomes between children from different SES backgrounds exists in all Western countries. It has been proposed that a cause of this inequality lies in the interplay between...
Article
Locus coeruleus (LC) tau accumulation begins early. Targeting LC (dys)function might improve early identification for Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk. Pupillary responses during cognitive tasks are driven by the LC and index cognitive effort. Despite equivalent task performance, adults with mild cognitive impairment have greater pupil dilation/effort...
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Full-text available
The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study is an ongoing, nationwide study of the effects of environmental influences on behavioral and brain development in adolescents. The main objective of the study is to recruit and assess over eleven thousand 9-10-year-olds and follow them over the course of 10 years to characterize normative brai...