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Mental disorders can have a major impact on brain development. Peripheral blood concentrations of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are lower in adult psychiatric disorders. Serum BDNF concentrations and BDNF genotype have been associated with cortical maturation in children and adolescents. In 2 large independent samples, this study tests associations between serum BDNF concentrations, brain structure, and psychopathology, and the effects of BDNF genotype on BDNF serum concentrations in late childhood and early adolescence.
Children and adolescents (7-14 years old) from 2 cities (n = 267 in Porto Alegre; n = 273 in São Paulo) were evaluated as part of the Brazilian high-risk cohort (HRC) study. Serum BDNF concentrations were quantified by sandwich ELISA. Genotyping was conducted from blood or saliva samples using the SNParray Infinium HumanCore Array BeadChip. Subcortical volumes and cortical thickness were quantified using FreeSurfer. The Development and Well-Being Behavior Assessment was used to identify the presence of a psychiatric disorder.
Serum BDNF concentrations were not associated with subcortical volumes or with cortical thickness. Serum BDNF concentration did not differ between participants with and without mental disorders, or between Val homozygotes and Met carriers.
No evidence was found to support serum BDNF concentrations as a useful marker of developmental differences in brain and behavior in early life. Negative findings were replicated in 2 of the largest independent samples investigated to date.
Child abuse is an issue of major concern for the whole of society. It is a global mental health problem of epidemic proportion affecting children of all ages and races, and from all economic and cultural backgrounds. Child trafficking is a major risk factor for child abuse and child prostitution. It is a global problem and a heinous crime against children. An important specific form of child abuse relates to an increasing use of children in armed conflicts as soldiers recruited by a number of official and other agencies. The consequences of child abuse are multifaceted, varying from ongoing trauma to personality changes and even death. Child abuse is linked to long-term deleterious effects on health and well-being, but separating the effects of child maltreatment from other often concomitant childhood adversities, such as poverty, has been challenging.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and conduct disorder (CD) are frequently co-occurring disorders in children and adolescents. However, their clinical status among adults is still under discussion. This study analyzes how the current clinical presentation of adult ADHD might be influenced by a lifetime history of CD and ODD.
We compared three groups of patients: ADHD without history of CD/ODD (n = 178), ADHD + history of ODD (n = 184), and ADHD + history of CD (n = 96).
A history of CD (and to a lower extent ODD) is associated with a more severe and externalizing profile.
Past CD and ODD entail a significant negative mental health impact on persistent ADHD, reinforcing the importance of actively assessing the developmental history of adult ADHD patients.
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