Negar Fani

Negar Fani
Emory University | EU · Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

PhD

About

125
Publications
23,488
Reads
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2,904
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2013 - present
Emory University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
August 2011 - August 2013
Emory University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
August 2006 - August 2010
Georgia State University
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
August 2006 - August 2011
Georgia State University
Field of study
  • Clinical Neuropsychology

Publications

Publications (125)
Article
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) disproportionately impact African Americans because of profound subjection to historical-systemic oppression in addition to personal and intergenerational trauma exposure. This article utilizes a biopsychosocial-cultural framework to understand the correlates of ACE exposure in African Americans and attends to t...
Article
Puberty represents a critical period in maturation during which major changes in neural architecture emerge; these changes are shaped, in part, by environmental experiences, including exposure to psychological trauma. However, little is known about how trauma exposure affects white matter microstructure across pubertal stages. This was the goal of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a complex psychiatric condition that has generated much attention in the neuroimaging literature. A neurocircuitry model supporting fronto-limbic dysfunction as a major player in facilitating clinical symptoms of PTSD is well-characterized; however, recent literature suggests that network-based approaches may...
Article
Importance Racial discrimination has a clear impact on health-related outcomes, but little is known about how discriminatory experiences are associated with neural response patterns to emotionally salient cues, which likely mediates these outcomes. Objective To examine associations of discriminatory experiences with brainwide response to threat-re...
Article
Background Experiences of racial discrimination are linked to a range of negative brain health outcomes, but little is known about how these experiences impact neural architecture, including white matter microstructure, which may partially mediate these outcomes. Our goal was to examine associations between racially discriminatory experiences and w...
Article
Parental emotion regulation plays a major role in parent‐child interactions, and in turn, neural plasticity in children, particularly during sensitive developmental periods. However, little is known about how parental emotion dysregulation is associated with variation in children's brain structure, which was the goal of this study. Forty‐five Black...
Article
Background Moral injury exposure (MIE) and distress (MID) may indirectly affect the relationship between trauma exposure and alterations in autonomic regulation [assessed via high-frequency heart rate variability (hfHRV)] in civilians, but this has not been tested in prior research. We conducted two exploratory studies to examine trauma types' asso...
Article
Objective: The variety of instruments used to assess posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) allows for flexibility, but also creates challenges for data synthesis. The objective of this work was to use a multisite mega analysis to derive quantitative recommendations for equating scores across measures of PTSD severity. Method: Empirical Bayes harm...
Article
Background Stress contributes to premature aging and susceptibility to alcohol use disorder (AUD) and AUD itself is a factor in premature aging; however, the interrelationships of stress, AUD and premature aging are poorly understood. Methods We constructed a composite score of stress (CSS) from thirteen stress-related outcomes in a discovery coho...
Article
Inflammatory stimuli have been shown to impact brain regions involved in threat detection and emotional processing including amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), and to increase anxiety. Biomarkers of endogenous inflammation, including inflammatory cytokines and C-reactive protein (CRP), are reliably elevated in a subset of patients...
Article
Background Racial discrimination is consistently associated with adverse health outcomes and has been linked to structural decrements in brain white matter. However, it is unclear whether discrimination-related neuroplastic changes could indirectly affect health outcomes. Our goal was to evaluate racial discrimination’s indirect associations on hea...
Preprint
Adverse social exposures (ASEs) such as low income, low educational attainment, and childhood/adult trauma exposure are associated with variability in brain region measurements of grey matter volume (GMV), surface area (SA), and cortical thickness (CT). These CNS morphometries are associated with stress-related psychiatric illnesses and represent e...
Article
Background Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is accompanied by disrupted cortical neuroanatomy. We investigated alteration in covariance of structural networks associated with PTSD in regions that demonstrate the case-control differences in cortical thickness (CT) and surface area (SA). Methods Neuroimaging and clinical data were aggregated fro...
Article
There is debate about the validity of the complex posttraumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) diagnosis and whether disturbances in self-organization (DSO) in CPTSD can be differentiated from borderline personality disorder (BPD). How PTSD is defined may matter. The present study used exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM) to replicate and exten...
Article
Full-text available
Background Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with markers of accelerated aging. Estimates of brain age, compared to chronological age, may clarify the effects of PTSD on the brain and may inform treatment approaches targeting the neurobiology of aging in the context of PTSD. Method Adult subjects (N = 2229; 56.2% male) aged 18–69...
Article
Full-text available
The current study investigated the relationship between trauma exposure and psychopathology in a sample of predominately African-American women of low socioeconomic status (SES). Women (N = 7430) were recruited from medical clinics at two large public hospitals in Atlanta, GA, from 2005 to 2017. Women were assessed for sociodemographics, life-cours...
Article
Objective A large body of research has shown that alcohol use, drug use, aggression, and self-harm often co-occur within the same individuals, suggesting the possibility of shared etiologies. Research has yet to determine the factor structure of these dysregulated behaviors. Methods Participants (Mage = 40.33; 74% women) completed self-report and...
Article
Full-text available
Background Moral injury (MI) describes emotional, spiritual, and social suffering that can arise following psychological trauma. Prior research in military pop ulations indicates the relevance of MI to adverse psychological outcomes, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicidal behaviours, and shows evidence for MI as a unique constru...
Preprint
Predictive modeling involving brain morphological features and other covariates is of paramount interest in such heterogeneous mental disorders as PTSD. We propose a comprehensive shape analysis framework representing brain substructures, such as the hippocampus, amygdala, and putamen, as parameterized surfaces and quantifying their shape differenc...
Preprint
Objective A major limitation of current suicide research is the lack of power to identify robust correlates of suicidal thoughts or behaviour. Variation in suicide risk assessment instruments used across cohorts may represent a limitation to pooling data in international consortia. Method Here, we examine this issue through two approaches: (i) an e...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Growing evidence of the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) warrants greater understanding of factors relevant to the relation between trait mindfulness and PTSD, such as emotion dysregulation (ED). The goal of this study was to examine associations between trait mindfulness, ED, and...
Article
Full-text available
A growing number of studies have examined alterations in white matter organization in people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using diffusion MRI (dMRI), but the results have been mixed which may be partially due to relatively small sample sizes among studies. Altered structural connectivity may be both a neurobiological vulnerability for,...
Article
Full-text available
Studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) report volume abnormalities in multiple regions of the cerebral cortex. However, findings for many regions, particularly regions outside commonly studied emotion-related prefrontal, insular, and limbic regions, are inconsistent and tentative. Also, few studies address the possibility that PTSD abnorma...
Article
Background Most people will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime, but only a subset (<10%) will develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Objective To facilitate prevention and intervention of PTSD, it is important to understand how risk and resilience factors interact with one another to explain individual differences in risk for PT...
Article
Reduced heart rate variability (HRV) in response to stress is a biomarker of emotion dysregulation (ED) and is related to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), yet less is known about its role with dissociation in trauma-exposed adults. The goals of the current study were to examine unique patterns of associations between ED, dissociation, and PTSD...
Preprint
Full-text available
There is increasing evidence on the importance of brain morphology in predicting and classifying mental disorders. However, the vast majority of current shape approaches rely heavily on vertex-wise analysis that may not successfully capture complexities of subcortical structures. Additionally, the past works do not include interactions between thes...
Article
Full-text available
To function during social interactions, we must be able to consider and coordinate our actions with other people’s perspectives. This process unfolds from decision-making, to anticipation of that decision’s consequences, to feedback about those consequences, in what can be described as a “cascade” of three phases. The iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma (i...
Preprint
Full-text available
Introduction Cortical thickness (CT) and surface area (SA) are established biomarkers of brain pathology in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Structural covariance networks (SCN) constructed from CT and SA may represent developmental associations, or unique interactions between brain regions, possibly influenced by a common causal antecedent. T...
Article
Exposure to maltreatment during childhood is associated with structural changes throughout the brain. However, the structural differences that are most strongly associated with maltreatment remain unclear given the limited number of whole-brain studies. The present study used machine learning to identify if and how brain structure distinguished you...
Article
There is evidence that the more frequent, severe, and chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology experienced by Black compared to White individuals cannot be explained by disparities in socioeconomic status or trauma exposure. One factor that may be important to consider is racial discrimination, which is associated with numerous n...
Article
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has a specified precipitant (i.e., trauma), and thus, is particularly well-suited to examine risk and maintenance factors for the development of the disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) alternative model of personality disorder (AMPD) is based, in part, on a...
Article
Engaging in posttraumatic avoidance behaviors after a traumatic incident is associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) outcomes. Given the inherent limitations in the scope of the two‐item assessment of posttraumatic avoidance used in commonly administered measures of PTSD symptoms, the 25‐item Posttraumatic Avoidance Behaviour Questionna...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Anhedonic symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reflect deficits in reward processing that have significant functional consequences. Although recent evidence suggests that disrupted integrity of fronto‐limbic circuitry is related to PTSD development, including anhedonic PTSD symptoms (posttrauma anhedonia [PTA]), little is kn...
Article
This article highlights one department's efforts to bolster diversity, equity, and inclusion as an exemplar for other academic departments. It offers an approach for building an infrastructure and leadership group and details accomplishments associated with strategic plan priorities related to visibility, values, stakeholder education, recruitment,...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioural, structural, and functional neuroimaging have implicated the hippocampus as a critical brain region in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) pathogenesis. Recent work in a normative, primarily European, sample identified 15 unique genetic loci contributing to structural variability in six hippocampal subfield volumes. We explored the rel...
Article
Full-text available
Background: African Americans experience more severe and chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms compared to other racial groups, and thus it is important to examine factors that are relevant for the aetiology of PTSD in this population. Although racial discrimination has been implicated as an exacerbating factor in the development an...
Article
Binge eating in childhood has been linked to adverse future health outcomes. Parental factors, such as parents’ emotion regulation and executive functioning, are likely to influence children's self-regulatory behaviors, including eating. Executive functioning describes a range of higher-order cognitive functions such as planning, abstraction, inhib...
Article
The symptoms of functional neurological disorder (FND) are a product of its pathophysiology. The pathophysiology of FND is reflective of dysfunction within and across different brain circuits that, in turn, affects specific constructs. In this perspective article, we briefly review five constructs that are affected in FND: Emotion processing (inclu...
Article
Background The Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) is commonly used to assess dimensions of emotion dysregulation, including emotion nonacceptance, limited strategies, and difficulty with goal‐directed behavior, impulse control, and emotional clarity. Despite considerable work examining the DERS' factor structure, reliability, and valid...
Article
Background Although aspects of brain morphology have been associated with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), limited work has investigated multimodal patterns in brain morphology that are linked to acute posttraumatic stress severity. In the present study, we utilized multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate if structur...
Article
Trauma exposure is associated with increased inflammatory biomarkers (e.g. C-reactive protein [CRP] and cytokines), and inflammation has been shown to impact corticostriatal reward circuitry and increase anhedonia-related symptoms. We examined resting-state functional MRI in a high-trauma inner-city population of African-American women (n = 56), wh...
Article
Recreational substance use (SU) can emerge or worsen in the aftermath of psychological trauma. Anhedonia is one reason for this problematic SU. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that represent anhedonia (post-trauma anhedonia; PTA) have been consistently linked to SU disorders. However, no prospective studies have examined whether ch...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background PTSD and depression commonly co-occur and have been associated with smaller hippocampal volumes compared to healthy and trauma-exposed controls. However, the hippocampus is heterogeneous, with subregions that may be uniquely affected in individuals with PTSD and depression. Methods We used random effects regressions and a harmonized neu...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Coronary artery disease (CAD) patients with comorbid depression show an increase in mortality compared to cardiac patients without depression, but the mechanisms mediating this effect remain obscure. One possible explanation for this finding is that depressed patients with CAD exhibit an increased vulnerability to stress. The purpose of...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Amygdala hyperreactivity to threat has been proposed to be a causal contributor to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, emerging literature in healthy samples shows higher test-retest reliability for amygdala habituation (the change over time in response to repeated stimuli) than for its reactivity to threat. Amygdala habitua...
Preprint
Full-text available
A growing number of studies have examined alterations in white matter organization in people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using diffusion MRI (dMRI), but the results have been mixed, which may be partially due to relatively small sample sizes among studies. Altered structural connectivity may be both a neurobiological vulnerability for...
Article
Anhedonia emerges in some people after psychological trauma, reflected by a loss of interest, diminished affect, and detachment. Structural abnormalities in specific neural pathways at the time of trauma may influence the development of these posttraumatic anhedonia (PTA) symptoms. In this prospective study, we determined whether white matter conne...
Article
Background: Attentional disruptions are common in PTSD, but findings across neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies have been variable. Few PTSD studies have investigated abnormalities in attention networks using a multi-modal imaging approach and attentional tasks that include emotionally-salient images. This study combined a behavioral task...
Poster
Full-text available
Background: Previous literature has linked maternal parenting styles with children’s self-regulation of emotion (Zeytinoglu et al., 2017) and behavior during social interactions (Querido, Warner & Eyberg, 2010). To our knowledge, there has been little investigation on the influence maternal cognitive control may have on child behaviors during a mot...
Article
Full-text available
Maladaptive patterns of attention to emotional stimuli are a common feature of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with growing evidence supporting sustained attention to threatening stimuli across trauma samples. However, it remains unclear how different PTSD symptom clusters are associated with attentional bias patterns, particularly in urban c...
Article
Full-text available
Social anxiety is characterized by a tendency to overestimate the likelihood of negative outcomes and consequences before, during, and after interpersonal interactions with social partners. Recent evidence suggests that a network of brain regions critical for perspective-taking, threat appraisal, and uncertainty resolution may function atypically i...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: Major depression is associated with an increased risk for and mortality from coronary artery disease (CAD), however the mechanisms by which this occurs are not clear. Depression, which is linked to stress, is associated with changes in brain areas involved in memory and the stress response, and it is likely that these regions play an...
Preprint
Full-text available
Behavioral, structural, and functional neuroimaging have implicated the hippocampus as a critical brain region in PTSD pathogenesis. We conducted a GWAS of hippocampal subfield volumes in a sample of recent military veteran trauma survivors (n=157), including some with PTSD (n=66). Covariates in our analysis included lifetime PTSD diagnosis, sex, i...
Article
Full-text available
An influential evolutionary model proposed that social anxiety biases people to treat social interactions as competitive struggles with the primary goal of avoiding status loss. Among subordinate nonhuman primates in highly hierarchical social groups, this goal leads to adaptive submissive behavior; for humans, however, affiliative responses may be...
Article
Full-text available
Dissociative phenomena are frequently experienced by psychologically traumatized people. However, little is known about the cognitive profiles of highly dissociative traumatized individuals, and corresponding patterns of neural connectivity when attentional networks are engaged in the context of emotion. One hundred seventeen traumatized women comp...
Thesis
Full-text available
In interpersonal interactions, socially anxious individuals continuously monitor for social threats and fear negative evaluation from their peers. We know little about whether these cognitive biases correlate with patterns of brain function in relevant regions that have been associated with evaluation of self and others. Recent evidence implicates...