Robert Whelan

Robert Whelan
Trinity College Dublin | TCD · School of Psychology

About

383
Publications
84,147
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8,767
Citations
Citations since 2017
219 Research Items
6959 Citations
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201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,200
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,200

Publications

Publications (383)
Article
Full-text available
Exposure to preadult environmental exposures may have long-lasting effects on mental health by affecting the maturation of the brain and personality, two traits that interact throughout the developmental process. However, environment-brain-personality covariation patterns and their mediation relationships remain unclear. In 4297 healthy participant...
Preprint
Full-text available
Importance: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is highly heterogeneous and prevalent globally, with diverse neurobiological underpinnings. Understanding the interplay between psychopathological symptoms and biological factors is critical for elucidating its etiology and persistence. Objective: We aimed to evaluate the utility of using symptom-brain ne...
Article
Importance: Alcohol misuse in adolescence is a leading cause of disability and mortality in youth and is associated with higher risk for alcohol use disorder. Brain mechanisms underlying risk of alcohol misuse may inform prevention and intervention efforts. Objective: To identify neuromarkers of alcohol misuse using a data-driven approach, with...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental adversities constitute potent risk factors for psychiatric disorders. Evidence suggests the brain adapts to adversity, possibly in an adversity-type and region-specific manner. However, the long-term effects of adversity on brain structure and the association of individual neurobiological heterogeneity with behavior have yet to be elu...
Article
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Smoking of cigarettes among young adolescents is a pressing public health issue. However, the neural mechanisms underlying smoking initiation and sustenance during adolescence, especially the potential causal interactions between altered brain development and smoking behaviour, remain elusive. Here, using large longitudinal adolescence imaging gene...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background & aims It is documented that low protein and amino-acid dietary intake is related to poorer cognitive health and increased risk of dementia. Degradation of the neuromodulatory pathways, (comprising the cholinergic, dopaminergic, serotoninergic and noradrenergic systems) is observed in neurodegenerative diseases and impairs the proper bio...
Article
Full-text available
Bullying often results in negative coping in victims, including an increased consumption of alcohol. Recently, however, an increase in alcohol use has also been reported among perpetrators of bullying. The factors triggering this pattern are still unclear. We investigated the role of empathy in the interaction between bullying and alcohol use in an...
Article
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Leveraging ~10 years of prospective longitudinal data on 704 participants, we examined the effects of adolescent versus young adult cannabis initiation on MRI-assessed cortical thickness development and behavior. Data were obtained from the IMAGEN study conducted across eight European sites. We identified IMAGEN participants who reported being cann...
Article
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The temporo-basal region of the human brain is composed of the collateral, the occipito-temporal, and the rhinal sulci. We manually rated (using a novel protocol) the connections between rhinal/collateral (RS-CS), collateral/occipito-temporal (CS-OTS) and rhinal/occipito-temporal (RS-OTS) sulci, using the MRI of nearly 3400 individuals including ar...
Article
Background Frailty, expressed as accumulation of health deficits in older adults, could contribute to the risk of cognitive decline. We cross‐sectionally studied the brain connectivity signatures of frailty in The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). Method We included participants from Wave 3 of TILDA who underwent resting‐state functional...
Article
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Background and aims: Models of alcohol use risk suggest that drinking motives represent the most proximal risk factors on which more distal factors converge. However, little is known about how distinct risk factors influence each other and alcohol use on different temporal scales (within a given moment vs. over time). We aimed to estimate the dyna...
Article
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Recent studies proposed a general psychopathology factor underlying common comorbidities among psychiatric disorders. However, its neurobiological mechanisms and generalizability remain elusive. In this study, we used a large longitudinal neuroimaging cohort from adolescence to young adulthood (IMAGEN) to define a neuropsychopathological (NP) facto...
Article
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Background: Stress exposure in childhood and adolescence has been linked to reductions in cortical structures and cognitive functioning. However, to date, most of these studies have been cross-sectional, limiting the ability to make long-term inferences, given that most cortical structures continue to develop through adolescence. Methods: Here,...
Preprint
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Physical activity (PA) is a key component for brain health and Reserve, and it is among the main dementia protective factors. Robertson proposed that the upregulation of Locus Coeruleus-noradrenergic (LC-NA) system might be a key aspects for building reserve and resilience to neurodegeneration. PA elicits an enhanced catecholamine response, in part...
Article
Conduct-related behavioral problems are among the most common psychiatric conditions diagnosed during adolescence. However, few studies have examined the association between conduct problems and cerebral cortical development. Herein, we characterize the association between age-related cerebral cortical change and conduct problems in a large longitu...
Article
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The period of adolescence brings with it a dynamic interaction between social context and behaviour, structural brain development, and anxiety and depressive symptoms. The rate of volumetric change in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and amygdala have been implicated in socioemotional development in adolescence; typically, there is thinni...
Article
Frailty in older adults is associated with greater risk of cognitive decline. Brain connectivity insights could help understand the association, but studies are lacking. We applied connectome-based predictive modelling (CPM) to a 32-item self-reported Frailty Index (FI) using resting state functional MRI data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ag...
Article
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Recent longitudinal studies in youth have reported MRI correlates of prospective anxiety symptoms during adolescence, a vulnerable period for the onset of anxiety disorders. However, their predictive value has not been established. Individual prediction through machine-learning algorithms might help bridge the gap to clinical relevance. A voting cl...
Article
Full-text available
Cognitive reserve supports cognitive function in the presence of pathology or atrophy. Functional neuroimaging may enable direct and accurate measurement of cognitive reserve which could have considerable clinical potential. The present study aimed to develop and validate a measure of cognitive reserve using task‐based fMRI data that could then be...
Article
Full-text available
With the growth of decentralized/federated analysis approaches in neuroimaging, the opportunities to study brain disorders using data from multiple sites has grown multi-fold. One such initiative is the Neuromark, a fully automated spatially constrained independent component analysis (ICA) that is used to link brain network abnormalities among diff...
Article
Full-text available
The neurobiological bases of the association between development and psychopathology remain poorly understood. Here, we identify a shared spatial pattern of cortical thickness (CT) in normative development and several psychiatric and neurological disorders. Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to CT of 68 regions in the Desikan-Killiany a...
Article
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Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic and fatal disease. The main impediment of the AUD therapy is a high probability of relapse to alcohol abuse even after prolonged abstinence. The molecular mechanisms of cue-induced relapse are not well established, despite the fact that they may offer new targets for the treatment of AUD. Using a comprehensiv...
Article
Full-text available
Effective strategies for early detection of cognitive decline, if deployed on a large scale, would have individual and societal benefits. However, current detection methods are invasive or time-consuming and therefore not suitable for longitudinal monitoring of asymptomatic individuals. For example, biological markers of neuropathology associated w...
Article
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Background and hypothesis: Psychotic Like Experiences (PLEs) are widely prevalent in children and adolescents and increase the risk of developing psychosis. Cortical gyrification characterizes brain development from in utero till about the first 2 years of life and can be measured in later years as static gyrification changes demonstrating neurode...
Article
This study explored the generality versus specificity of two trait-liability factors for externalizing problems-disinhibition and callousness-in the concurrent and prospective prediction of symptoms of conduct disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and substance use (i.e., alcohol use disorder and history of illicit substance us...
Article
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Background: Autistic traits are commonly viewed as dimensional in nature, and as continuously distributed in the general population. In this respect, the identification of predictive values of markers such as subtle autism-related alterations in brain morphology for parameter values of autistic traits could increase our understanding of this dimen...
Article
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Conduct problems (CP) in patients with disruptive behavior disorders have been linked to impaired prefrontal processing of negative facial affect compared to controls. However, it is unknown whether associations with prefrontal activity during affective face processing hold along the CP dimension in a healthy population sample, and how subcortical...
Preprint
Full-text available
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic and fatal disease. The main impediment of the AUD therapy is a high probability of relapse to alcohol abuse even after prolonged abstinence. The molecular mechanisms of cue-induced relapse are not well established, despite the fact that they may offer new targets for the treatment of AUD. Using a comprehensiv...
Article
Full-text available
Recent advances have enabled the creation of wireless, “dry” electroencephalography (EEG) recording systems, and easy-to-use engaging tasks, that can be operated repeatedly by naïve users, unsupervised in the home. Here, we evaluated the validity of dry-EEG, cognitive task gamification, and unsupervised home-based recordings used in combination. Tw...
Poster
Full-text available
Background: Task-driven electroencephalography (EEG) is typically conducted with high-density wet sensor systems, under controlled laboratory conditions. This reduces the size and breadth of cohorts and limits the technology’s potential as an objective marker of functional neurophysiology. Recent advances have enabled the creation of wireless, ‘d...
Article
Full-text available
Neural oscillations, or brain rhythms, fluctuate in a manner reflecting ongoing behavior. Whether these fluctuations are instrumental or epiphenomenal to the behavior remains elusive. Attempts to experimentally manipulate neural oscillations exogenously using noninvasive brain stimulation have shown some promise, but difficulty with tailoring stimu...
Preprint
Cognitive reserve supports cognitive function in the presence of pathology or atrophy. Functional neuroimaging may enable direct and accurate measurement of cognitive reserve which could have considerable clinical potential. The present study aimed to develop and validate a measure of cognitive reserve using task-based fMRI data that could then be...
Article
Background Correlations between falls and individual differences in inhibitory control, suggest the ability to suppress automatic, but unwanted, action is important in fall prevention. Response inhibition has been a topic of considerable interest in the cognitive neuroscience community for many decades, bringing a wealth of techniques that could po...
Article
Objective Adolescence is a critical period for circadian rhythm, with a strong shift towards eveningness around age 14. Also, eveningness in adolescence has been found to predict later onset of depressive symptomatology. However, no previous study has investigated structural variations associated with chronotype in early adolescence, and how this a...
Article
Background Negative life experiences (NLE) increase the risk for externalizing (EB) and internalizing (IB) behaviors in adolescence and adult psychopathology. DNA methylation (DNAm) associated with behavioral problems may reflect this risk and long-lasting effects of NLE. Methods To identify consistent associations between blood DNAm and EB or IB...
Article
Full-text available
Alcohol misuse during adolescence (AAM) has been associated with disruptive development of adolescent brains. In this longitudinal machine learning (ML) study, we could predict AAM significantly from brain structure (T1-weighted imaging and DTI) with accuracies of 73 - 78% in the IMAGEN dataset (n ~1182). Our results not only show that structural d...
Article
Objective: Research in adolescent depression has found aberrant intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC) among the ventral striatum (VS) and several brain regions implicated in reward processing. The present study probes this question by taking advantage of the availability of data from a large youth cohort, the IMAGEN Consortium. Methods: iFC da...
Article
Full-text available
Importance: The understanding of the development of psychopathology has been hampered by a reliance on cross-sectional data and symptom- or disorder-centered methods. Person-centered methods can accommodate both the problems of comorbidity and the movement between different psychopathological states at different phases of development. Objective:...
Article
Full-text available
Alcohol use disorder is characterised by disrupted reward learning, underpinned by dysfunctional cortico-striatal reward pathways, although relatively little is known about the biology of reward processing in populations who engage in risky alcohol use. Cues that trigger reward anticipation can be categorized according to their learnt valence (i.e....
Article
Full-text available
It has been suggested that autistic traits are associated with less frequent alcohol use in adolescence. Our study seeks to examine the relationship between autistic traits and alcohol use in a large adolescent population. Leveraging data from the IMAGEN cohort, including 2045 14-year-old adolescents that were followed-up to age 18, we selected ite...
Article
Full-text available
It is important to identify accurate markers of psychiatric illness to aid early prediction of disease course. Subclinical psychotic experiences (PEs) are important risk factors for later mental ill-health and suicidal behaviour. This study used machine learning to investigate neuroanatomical markers of PEs in early and later stages of adolescence....
Article
Background: While drinking alcohol, one must choose between the immediate rewarding effects and the delayed reward of a healthier lifestyle. Individuals differ in their devaluation of a delayed reward based on the time required to receive it, i.e., delay discounting (DD). Previous studies have shown that adolescents discount more steeply than adul...
Preprint
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is a highly variable, evolutionarily expanded brain region that is engaged in multiple cognitive processes. The subregions of the PFC mature relatively late compared with other brain regions, and the maturation times vary between these subregions. Among these, the dorsomedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dmPFC and...
Preprint
Full-text available
With the growth of decentralized/federated analysis approaches in neuroimaging, the opportunities to study brain disorders using data from multiple sites has grown multi-fold. One such initiative is the Neuromark, a fully automated spatially constrained independent component analysis (ICA) that is used to link brain network abnormalities among diff...
Article
Full-text available
Urbanicity is a growing environmental challenge for mental health. Here, we investigate correlations of urbanicity with brain structure and function, neuropsychology and mental illness symptoms in young people from China and Europe (total n = 3,867). We developed a remote-sensing satellite measure (UrbanSat) to quantify population density at any po...
Preprint
Full-text available
Alcohol misuse during adolescence (AAM) has been linked with disruptive structural development of the brain and alcohol use disorder. Using machine learning (ML), we analyze the link between AAM phenotypes and adolescent brain structure (T1-weighted imaging and DTI) at ages 14, 19, and 22 in the IMAGEN dataset (n~1182). ML predicted AAM at age 22 f...
Article
Full-text available
Background: On a theoretical level, impulsivity represents a multidimensional construct associated with acting without foresight, inefficient inhibitory response control, and alterations in reward processing. On an empirical level, relationships and changes in associations between different measures of impulsivity from adolescence into young adult...
Preprint
Despite substantial health benefits, smoking cessation attempts have high relapse rates. Neuroimaging measures can sometimes predict individual differences in substance use phenotypes – including relapse – better than behavioral metrics alone. No study to date has compared the relative prediction ability of changes in psychological processes across...
Article
Full-text available
Background and aims Graph theoretic analysis of structural covariance networks (SCN) provides an assessment of brain organization that has not yet been applied to alcohol dependence (AD). We estimated whether SCN differences are present in adults with AD and heavy drinking adolescents at age 19 and age 14, prior to substantial exposure to alcohol....
Article
Full-text available
Mixed findings exist in studies comparing brain responses to reward in adolescents and adults. Here we examined the trajectories of brain response, functional connectivity and task-modulated network properties during reward processing with a large-sample longitudinal design. Participants from the IMAGEN study performed a Monetary Incentive Delay ta...
Article
Objective Children experiencing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms may retain symptoms into adulthood, but little is known about the underlying mechanism. Method To identify biomarkers of persistent ADHD symptom development, we carried out whole-brain analyses of neuroimaging data during the anticipation phase of the Monetary...
Preprint
Full-text available
Neural oscillations, or brain rhythms, fluctuate in a manner reflecting ongoing behavior. Whether these fluctuations are instrumental or epiphenomenal to the behavior remains elusive. Attempts to experimentally manipulate neural oscillations exogenously using non-invasive brain stimulation have shown some promise, but difficulty with tailoring stim...
Article
Full-text available
Adolescence is a period of vulnerability for the maturation of gray matter (GM) and also for the onset of psychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Chronic neuroinflammation is considered to play a role in the etiology of these illnesses. However, the involvement of neuroinflammation in the o...
Article
Full-text available
Background It has not yet been determined if the commonly reported cannabis–psychosis association is limited to individuals with pre-existing genetic risk for psychotic disorders. Methods We examined whether the relationship between polygenic risk score for schizophrenia (PRS-Sz) and psychotic-like experiences (PLEs), as measured by the Community...
Article
Full-text available
Adolescence is a period of major brain reorganization shaped by biologically timed and by environmental factors. We sought to discover linked patterns of covariation between brain structural development and a wide array of these factors by leveraging data from the IMAGEN study, a longitudinal population-based cohort of adolescents. Brain structural...
Article
The ability to extract cues from faces is fundamental for social animals, including humans. An individual's profile of functional connectivity across a face network can be shaped by common organizing principles, stable individual traits, and time-varying mental states. In the present study, we used data obtained with functional magnetic resonance i...