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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly increased depression rates, particularly in emerging adults. The aim of this study was to examine longitudinal changes in depression risk before and during COVID-19 in a cohort of emerging adults in the U.S. and to determine whether prior drinking or sleep habits could predict the severity of depressive symptoms during the pandemic.
Participants were 525 emerging adults from the National Consortium on Alcohol and NeuroDevelopment in Adolescence (NCANDA), a five-site community sample including moderate-to-heavy drinkers. Poisson mixed-effect models evaluated changes in the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D-10) from before to during COVID-19, also testing for sex and age interactions. Additional analyses examined whether alcohol use frequency or sleep duration measured in the last pre-COVID assessment predicted pandemic-related increase in depressive symptoms.
The prevalence of risk for clinical depression tripled due to a substantial and sustained increase in depressive symptoms during COVID-19 relative to pre-COVID years. Effects were strongest for younger women. Frequent alcohol use and short sleep duration during the closest pre-COVID visit predicted a greater increase in COVID-19 depressive symptoms.
The sharp increase in depression risk among emerging adults heralds a public health crisis with alarming implications for their social and emotional functioning as this generation matures. In addition to the heightened risk for younger women, the role of alcohol use and sleep behavior should be tracked through preventive care aiming to mitigate this looming mental health crisis.
Objectives: Elevated body mass index (BMI) is associated with deficits in working memory, reduced gray matter volume in frontal and parietal lobes, as well as changes in white matter (WM) microstructure. The current study examined whether BMI was related to working memory performance and blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) activity, as well as WM microstructure during adolescence. Methods: Linear regressions with BMI and (1) verbal working memory BOLD signal, (2) spatial working memory BOLD signal, and (3) fractional anisotropy (FA), a measure of WM microstructure, were conducted in a sample of 152 healthy adolescents ranging in BMI. Results: BMI was inversely related to IQ and verbal and spatial working memory accuracy; however, there was no significant relationship between BMI and BOLD response for either verbal or spatial working memory. Furthermore, BMI was negatively correlated with FA in the left superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) and left inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF). ILF FA and IQ significantly mediated the relationship between BMI and verbal working memory performance, whereas SLF FA, but not IQ, significantly mediated the relationship between BMI and accuracy of both verbal and spatial working memory. Conclusions: These findings indicate that higher BMI is associated with decreased FA in WM fibers connecting brain regions that support working memory, and that WM microstructural deficits may underlie inferior working memory performance in youth with higher BMI. Of interest, BMI did not show the same relationship with working memory BOLD activity, which may indicate that changes in brain structure precede changes in function. (JINS, 2015, 21, 281–292)
In adults, studies examining the long-lasting cognitive effects of
marijuana use demonstrate subtle deficits in attention, executive
function, and memory. Because neuromaturation continues through
adolescence, these results cannot necessarily generalize to adolescent
marijuana users. The goal of this study was to examine neuropsychological
functioning in abstinent marijuana using and demographically similar
control adolescents. Data were collected from 65 adolescent marijuana
users (n = 31, 26% females) and controls (n = 34, 26%
females) 16–18 years of age. Extensive exclusionary criteria
included independent psychiatric, medical, and neurologic disorders.
Neuropsychological assessments were conducted after > 23 days of
monitored abstinence. After controlling for lifetime alcohol use and
depressive symptoms, adolescent marijuana users demonstrated slower
psychomotor speed (p < .05), and poorer complex attention
(p < .04), story memory (p < .04), and planning
and sequencing ability (p < .001) compared with controls.
Post hoc analysis revealed that the number of lifetime marijuana
use episodes was associated with poorer cognitive function, even after
controlling for lifetime alcohol use. The general pattern of results
suggested that, even after a month of monitored abstinence, adolescent
marijuana users demonstrate subtle neuropsychological deficits compared
with nonusers. It is possible that frequent marijuana use during
adolescence may negatively influence neuromaturation and cognitive
development. (JINS, 2007, 13, 807–820.)
Recent studies have described neuromaturation and cognitive
development across the lifespan, yet few neuroimaging studies have
investigated task-related alterations in brain activity during
adolescence. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to
examine brain response to a spatial working memory (SWM) task in 49
typically developing adolescents (25 females and 24 males; ages
12–17). No gender or age differences were found for task performance
during SWM. However, age was positively associated with SWM brain response
in left prefrontal and bilateral inferior posterior parietal regions. Age
was negatively associated with SWM activation in bilateral superior
parietal cortex. Gender was significantly associated with SWM response;
females demonstrated diminished anterior cingulate activation and males
demonstrated greater response in frontopolar cortex than females. Our
findings indicate that the frontal and parietal neural networks involved
in spatial working memory change over the adolescent age range and are
further influenced by gender. These changes may represent evolving
mnemonic strategies subserved by ongoing adolescent brain development.
(JINS, 2005, 11, 631–644.)
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