Sven C Mueller's research while affiliated with University of Deusto and other places

Publications (120)

Article
Background Some transgender people desire a transition through gender-affirming hormone treatment (GAHT). To date, it is unknown how GAHT changes emotion perception in transgender people. Methods Thirty transgender men (TM), 30 cisgender men (CM), and 35 cisgender women (CW) underwent 3 Tesla functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while pass...
Article
Results of neuroimaging datasets aggregated from multiple sites may be biased by site-specific profiles in participants’ demographic and clinical characteristics, as well as MRI acquisition protocols and scanning platforms. We compared the impact of four different harmonization methods on results obtained from analyses of cortical thickness data: (...
Preprint
Full-text available
We present here a unifying framework for affective phenomena: the Human Affectome. By synthesizing a large body of literature, we have converged on definitions that disambiguate the commonly used terms—affect, feeling, emotion, and mood. Based on this definitional foundation, and under the premise that affective states reflect allostatic concerns,...
Article
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Depressive symptoms are associated with working memory impairments. Yet, comparative studies examining working memory across the developmental spectrum in depressed and non depressed cohorts are lacking. This study examined emotional working memory in 74 adolescents (mean age = 14; 21 with depressive symptoms) and 92 adults (mean age = 22; 36 with...
Article
Executive functioning (EF) may be important for refugee youth's long-term adjustment. The current study examined associations between factors on different ecological levels (individual, family, community) and inhibitory control (IC), working memory (WM), cognitive flexibility (CF), and selective attention (SA) among 226 Burundian youth aged between...
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...
Conference Paper
Objectives Human beings have an intrinsic need to belong, a desire to be loved by the people close to them, and to be accepted by society at large. The outcome and purpose of these fundamental human needs are the desire to form long-lasting, if not lifelong, and meaningful personal attachments and create long-term relationships with others. However...
Article
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This randomized controlled trial (NCT04786496) examined the effects of a preventive intervention based on Incremental Theory of the Personality (ITP) on psychophysiological responses to social stress and evaluated whether levels of depression moderate the intervention effects. The participants, 107 first-year university students, were randomly assi...
Article
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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
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Abstract Background Minority stress via discrimination, stigmatization, and exposure to violence can lead to development of mood and anxiety disorders and underlying neurobiochemical changes. To date, the neural and neurochemical correlates of emotion processing in transgender people (and their interaction) are unknown. Methods This study combined...
Article
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The number of adolescent refugees around the world has been continuously increasing over the past few years trying to escape war and terror, among other things. Such experience not only increases the risk for mental health problems including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but also may have implications for socio-cog...
Article
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Introduction: The main objective was to carry out a global DNA methylation analysis in a population with gender incongruence before gender-affirming hormone treatment (GAHT), in comparison to a cisgender population. Methods: A global CpG (cytosine-phosphate-guanine) methylation analysis was performed on blood from 16 transgender people before GAHT...
Article
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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...
Poster
Full-text available
A Systematic Review Of Brain Imaging Studies Exploring Emotional Processing in Transgender Persons Meltem Kiyar1, Anouck Van De Vijver2, Sarah Collet2, Sven Mueller1, & Guy T’Sjoen2 1Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium 2Department of Endocrinology and Center for Sexology and Gender, Ghent Un...
Poster
Full-text available
Gender incongruence (ICD-11) is characterized by a marked and persistent incongruence between an individual’s experienced gender and the assigned sex at birth. Our main objective was to carry out a prospective global methylation analysis in a transgender population pre versus post six months of gender-affirming hormone treatment (GAHT), respect to...
Article
Background: The detrimental impact of child maltreatment on children and adolescents' academic achievement and later socioeconomic wellbeing is well known. However, it is still unclear (1) whether maltreatment is actually linked to youth's long- and short-term memory deficits and (2) whether potential impairments are due to maltreatment per se or...
Article
Full-text available
Much research has been conducted on sexual differences of the human brain to determine whether and to what extent a brain gender exists. Consequently, a variety of studies using different neuroimaging techniques attempted to identify the existence of a brain phenotype in people with gender dysphoria (GD). However, to date, brain sexual differences...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In humans, sex and gender are not always concordant. Gender incongruence (ICD-11) is characterized ‘‘by a marked and persistent incongruence between an individual’s experienced gender and the assigned sex’’. Our main objective was to carry out a prospective global CpG methylation analysis in a transgender population pre vs. post six months of gende...
Article
Full-text available
Background In contrast to cisgender persons, transgender persons identify with a different gender than the one assigned at birth. Although research on the underlying neurobiology of transgender persons has been accumulating over the years, neuroimaging studies in this relatively rare population are often based on very small samples resulting in dis...
Article
Full-text available
n mammals, the gonads and the brain develop from bipotential organs that will differentiate into female or male organs, during a critical period of development. This process begins with the production of testosterone by the testes, which will be converted into estradiol in the brain, by the aromatase. While the end is defined by the moment when the...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Much research has been conducted on sexual dimorphisms of the human brain to determine whether and to what extent a brain gender exists. Consequently, a variety of studies using different neuroimaging techniques attempted to identify the existence of a brain phenotype in people with gender dysphoria (GD). However, to date, brain sexual...
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
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Abstract This review summarizes the last decade of work by the ENIGMA (Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta Analysis) Consortium, a global alliance of over 1400 scientists across 43 countries, studying the human brain in health and disease. Building on large-scale genetic studies that discovered the first robustly replicated genetic loci as...
Article
Background Whereas mounting work has begun to document the neural correlates underlying sexual arousal (SA) in humans, the associations between gender identity and the brain correlates of SA as well as their hormonal contributions remain unknown. Aim This study investigated neural activation to sexual arousal in transgender and cisgender persons....
Article
Full-text available
This review paper provides an integrative account regarding neurophysiological correlates of positive emotions and affect that cumulatively contribute to the scaffolding for positive emotions and wellbeing in humans and other animals. This paper reviews the associations among neurotransmitters, hormones, brain networks, and cognitive functions in t...
Article
Background and objectives Childhood abuse and neglect increase the risk for psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression and anxiety) during adulthood and have been associated with deficits in cognitive control. The specific mechanisms underlying these cognitive control deficits are still unknown. Methods This study examined the expectation for reward...
Article
Background and objectives: Childhood abuse and neglect increase the risk for psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression and anxiety) during adulthood and have been associated with deficits in cognitive control. The specific mechanisms underlying these cognitive control deficits are still unknown. Methods: This study examined the expectation for reward...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Empathy is essential for interpersonal relationships, yet remains difficult to measure. Some evidence suggests that early traumatic experiences leads to alterations in empathic responding. Objective: This study sought to differentiate connections between subtypes of childhood maltreatment, a pictorial test of affective empathy (PET), a...
Article
Although the neuroanatomy of transgender persons is slowly being charted, findings are presently discrepant. Moreover, the major body of work has focused on Western populations. One important factor is the issue of power and low signal‐to‐noise (SNR) ratio in neuroimaging studies of rare study populations including endocrine or neurological patient...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: Pubertal suppression is standard of care for early pubertal transgender youth to prevent the development of undesired and distressing secondary sex characteristics incongruent with gender identity. Preliminary evidence suggests pubertal suppression improves mental health functioning. Given the widespread changes in brain and cognition that...
Article
Full-text available
We provide T2*-weighted and T1-weighted images acquired on a 3T MRI scanner obtained from 17 transwomen and 29 transmen with gender incongruence; and 22 ciswomen and 19 cismen that identified themselves to the sex assigned at birth. Data from three different techniques that describe global and regional connectivity differences within functional res...
Article
Background Depressive symptoms are associated with impaired social functioning, arguably because of reduced mentalizing abilities. However, findings in persons with depressive symptoms and/or major depressive disorder (MDD) are presently mixed, finding evidence both for and against the hypothesis of reduced mentalizing abilities. Aims This study i...
Article
Full-text available
Experience of interpersonal trauma and violence alters self-other distinction and mentalising abilities (also known as theory of mind, or ToM), yet little is known about their neural correlates. This fMRI study assessed temporoparietal junction (TPJ) activation, an area strongly implicated in interpersonal processing, during spontaneous mentalising...
Article
Transgender persons identify with a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth. Although describing oneself as transgender is not a new phenomenon, media attention has lately been increasing exponentially, thanks to progressive changes in laws and change in societal attitudes. These changes also allow more people nowadays to (openly)...
Article
Experience of childhood abuse (CA) impairs complex social functioning in children; however, much less is known about its effects on basic sociocognitive processes and even fewer studies have investigated these in adult survivors. Using two behavioral tasks, this study investigated spontaneous theory of mind (ToM) and imitative behavior in 41 women...
Article
Full-text available
Functional brain organization in transgender persons remains unclear. Our aims were to investigate global and regional connectivity differences within functional networks in transwomen and transmen with early-in-life onset gender incongruence; and to test the consistency of two available hypotheses that attempted to explain gender variants: (i) a n...
Preprint
Although the neuroanatomy of transgender persons is slowly being charted, findings are presently discrepant. One important factor is the issue of power and low signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio in neuroimaging studies of rare study populations including endocrine or neurological patient groups. The present study assessed whether the reliability of findin...
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...
Preprint
Experience of childhood abuse impairs complex social functioning in children; however, much less is known about its effects on basic socio-cognitive processes and even fewer studies have investigated these in adult survivors. Using two behavioral tasks, this study investigated spontaneous theory of mind (ToM) and imitative behavior in 41 women with...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Experience of childhood maltreatment significantly increases the risk for the development of psychopathology and is associated with impairments in socio-cognitive skills including theory-of-mind (ToM). In turn, neural alterations in ToM processing might then influence future interpersonal interaction and social-emotional understanding....
Preprint
Full-text available
This review summarizes the last decade of work by the ENIGMA (Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics throughMeta Analysis) Consortium, a global alliance of over 1,400 scientists across 43 countries, studying the humanbrain in health and disease. Building on large-scale genetic studies that discovered the first robustly replicatedgenetic loci associated wi...
Article
Background: Acute stress leads to a rapid release of noradrenaline and glucocorticoids, which in turn influence cognitive functions such as spatial learning and memory. However, few studies have investigated noradrenergic and glucocorticoid effects on spatial learning and memory in humans. Therefore, we examined the separate and combined effects o...
Article
Although numerous studies reveal altered respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) among children, adolescents, and adults who exhibit emotion dysregulation, effects of temperamental vulnerability and parental mental health on RSA remain unclear. We evaluated the relationship among emotion regulation, RSA, and RSA reactivity in a pooled sample of 24 vulne...
Preprint
There is a major debate in the theory of mind (ToM) field, concerning whether spontaneous and explicit ToM are based on the same or two distinct cognitive systems. While there is extensive research on the neural correlates of explicit ToM, revealing consistent activation of the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), fe...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Early life stressful events, such as childhood maltreatment, significantly increase risk for the development of psychopathology and are associated with impairments in socio-cognitive skills including theory-of-mind (ToM). However, to date, no study has examined the resting-state activity of the ToM network in adults with maltreatment hi...
Preprint
Experience of interpersonal trauma and violence alters self-other distinction (also known as theory of mind, or ToM), yet little is known about their neural correlates. This fMRI study assessed temporoparietal junction (TPJ) activation, an area strongly implicated in interpersonal processing, during spontaneous mentalizing in 35 adult women with hi...
Article
Full-text available
It has been suggested that altered processing of emotion during cognitive control plays an important role in the etiology of depressive symptoms. The current study investigates the influence of emotional stimuli on working memory (WM) in adolescents with dysphoric symptomatology (DS). Twenty-five adolescents with DS and 40 adolescents with no dysph...
Article
Human beings have a basic need for esteemed social connections, and receiving negative self-evaluative feedback induces emotional distress. The aim of the current study is to measure eye movements (a physiological marker of attention allocation) and pupillary responses (a physiological marker of cognitive and emotional processing) as online and obj...
Preprint
In adults, anxiety affects the connectivity of four core brain networks, specifically fronto-parietal network (FPN), default mode network (DMN), ventral attention network, and cingulo-opercular network. Comparative research across developmental periods is scarce despite critical developmental changes in cognitive-affective processing and neural reo...
Article
Background Stigmatization in society carries a high risk for development of psychopathology. Transgender persons are at particularly high risk for such stigmatization and social rejection by others. However, the neural correlates of ostracism in this group have not been captured. Method Twenty transgender men (TM, female-to-male) and 19 transgende...
Article
Recent cognitive models suggest that the ability to control emotional information in working memory (WM) may be implicated in the etiology and maintenance of depression. However, few studies have examined the effects of processing relevant and irrelevant emotional stimuli on WM performance in depressed adolescents. In the current study, depressed a...
Article
Full-text available
Anxiety and depression are associated with altered communication within global brain networks and between these networks and the amygdala. Functional connectivity studies demonstrate an effect of anxiety and depression on four critical brain networks involved in top-down attentional control (fronto-parietal network; FPN), salience detection and err...
Article
Gender dysphoria describes the psychological distress caused by identifying with the sex opposite to the one assigned at birth. In recent years, much progress has been made in characterizing the needs of transgender persons wishing to transition to their preferred gender, thus helping to optimize care. This critical review of the literature examine...
Article
The current study set out to investigate trait versus state views regarding inhibitory deficits in participants scoring high and low on contamination fear. Furthermore, it was investigated whether inhibitory deficits are specific for contamination-related stimuli. Participants were selected on high (n = 40) vs. low (n = 44) contamination fear and s...
Article
The incidence of depression is approximately 2-fold greater in women than men but the biological mechanisms underlying this phenomenon remain unclear. One potential mechanism that has been understudied is immune function, which is modulated by sex hormones and differs considerably between males and females. The immune-regulating kynurenine pathway...
Article
Objectives: Sex differences have been found in spatial learning and spatial memory, with several studies indicating that males outperform females. We tested in the virtual Morris Water Maze (vMWM) task, whether sex differences in spatial cognitive processes are attributable to differences in spatial learning or spatial memory retrieval in a large...
Article
Full-text available
In adults, cognitive control is supported by several brain regions including the limbic system and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) when processing emotional information. However, in adolescents, some theories hypothesize a neurobiological imbalance proposing heightened sensitivity to affective material in the amygdala and striatum within...
Article
Background and objectives: Previous studies have suggested that internal cognitive control impairments may play an important role in the development of depression. Despite a growing body of research in adults, the ability to shift internal attention between mental representations in working memory has received little attention in younger populatio...
Article
Background: Anxiety disorders are the leading cause of mental illness in adolescence. While anxious adolescents show impairments in emotion processing and deficits in emotion regulation, few studies have attempted to improve emotion regulation within these populations. Method: This study used a multi-method design to test a newly developed emoti...
Article
Full-text available
Emotion regulation and associated autonomic activation develop throughout childhood and adolescence under the influence of the family environment. Specifically, physiological indicators of autonomic nervous system activity such as interoceptive sensitivity and vagally mediated heart rate variability (HRV) can inform on emotion regulation. Although...