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Resilience is the capacity of individuals to resist mental disorders despite exposure to stress. Little is known about its neural underpinnings. The putative variation of white-matter microstructure with resilience in adolescence, a critical period for brain maturation and onset of high-prevalence mental disorders, has not been assessed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Lower fractional anisotropy (FA) though, has been reported in the corpus callosum (CC), the brain's largest white-matter structure, in psychiatric and stress-related conditions. We hypothesized that higher FA in the CC would characterize stress-resilient adolescents.
Three groups of adolescents recruited from the community were compared: resilient with low risk of mental disorder despite high exposure to lifetime stress (n = 55), at-risk of mental disorder exposed to the same level of stress (n = 68), and controls (n = 123). Personality was assessed by the NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Voxelwise statistics of DTI values in CC were obtained using tract-based spatial statistics. Regional projections were identified by probabilistic tractography.
Higher FA values were detected in the anterior CC of resilient compared to both non-resilient and control adolescents. FA values varied according to resilience capacity. Seed regional changes in anterior CC projected onto anterior cingulate and frontal cortex. Neuroticism and three other NEO-FFI factor scores differentiated non-resilient participants from the other two groups.
High FA was detected in resilient adolescents in an anterior CC region projecting to frontal areas subserving cognitive resources. Psychiatric risk was associated with personality characteristics. Resilience in adolescence may be related to white-matter microstructure.
Symptoms in schizophrenia duster into syndromes, each of which may be associated with a particular pattern of cerebral blood flow. We sought to investigate whether these syndromes are also related to neuroanatomical changes.
A semi-automated method was used to examine structural magnetic resonance images in 12 patients with schizophrenia. The relationship between the relative regional grey matter volume and ratings of the syndromes of psychomotor poverty, disorganisation and reality distortion was investigated.
There was a significant negative correlation between psychomotor poverty score and the relative volume of the left ventro-medial prefrontal grey matter, and a significant positive correlation between disorganisation and the relative volumes of the hippocampus, and the parahippocampal/fusiform gyrus bilaterally.
The correlation between psychomotor poverty and left prefrontal grey matter volume resembles that previously seen with prefrontal blood flow in the same patients, suggesting that this functional abnormality is related to an underlying anatomical change.
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