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This chapter uses evidence from the Parenting across Cultures (PAC) project to illustrate ways in which longitudinal data can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs; https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/). The chapter begins by providing an overview of the research questions that have guided PAC as well as a description of the participants, procedures and measures. Next, empirical findings from PAC are summarized to illustrate implications for six specific SDGs. Then the chapter describes how longitudinal data offer advantages over cross-sectional data in operationalizing SDG targets and implementing the SDGs. Finally, limitations, future research directions and conclusions are provided.
PAC was developed in response to concerns that understanding of parenting and child development was biased by the predominant focus in the literature on studying families in Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic (WEIRD) societies and that findings in such countries may not generalize well to more diverse populations around the world (Henrich et al, 2010). In an analysis of the sample characteristics in the most influential journals in six subdisciplines of psychology from 2003 to 2007, 96% of research participants were from Western industrialized countries, and 68% were from the United States alone (Arnett, 2008), which means that 96% of research participants in these psychological studies were from countries with only 12% of the world's population (Henrich et al, 2010). When basic science research is limited to WEIRD countries, knowledge of human development becomes defined by a set of experiences that may not be widely shared in different cultural contexts, so studying parenting and child development in a wide range of diverse cultural contexts is important to understand development more fully.
PAC has been conceptualized and funded as a consecutive series of three five-year grants, each covering a different developmental period and guided by different research questions. In the first project period, participants were aged 8 to 12. The main research questions focused on cultural differences in links between discipline and child adjustment, warmth as a moderator of links between harsh discipline and child outcomes, and cognitive and emotional mediators of effects of harsh discipline on children's aggression and anxiety. In the second period, target participants were 13 to 17 years old.
Bipolar disorder is associated with premature mortality, but evidence is mostly derived from Western countries. There has been no research evaluating shortened lifespan in bipolar disorder using life-years lost (LYLs), which is a recently developed mortality metric taking into account illness onset for life expectancy estimation. The current study aimed to examine the extent of premature mortality in bipolar disorder patients relative to the general population in Hong Kong (HK) in terms of standardised mortality ratio (SMR) and excess LYLs, and changes of mortality rate over time.
This population-based cohort study investigated excess mortality in 12 556 bipolar disorder patients between 2008 and 2018, by estimating all-cause and cause-specific SMRs, and LYLs. Trends in annual SMRs over the 11-year study period were assessed. Study data were retrieved from a territory-wide medical-record database of HK public healthcare services.
Patients had higher all-cause [SMR: 2.60 (95% CI: 2.45–2.76)], natural-cause [SMR: 1.90 (95% CI: 1.76–2.05)] and unnatural-cause [SMR: 8.63 (95% CI: 7.34–10.03)] mortality rates than the general population. Respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases and cancers accounted for the majority of deaths. Men and women with bipolar disorder had 6.78 (95% CI: 6.00–7.84) years and 7.35 (95% CI: 6.75–8.06) years of excess LYLs, respectively. The overall mortality gap remained similar over time, albeit slightly improved in men with bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is associated with increased premature mortality and substantially reduced lifespan in a predominantly Chinese population, with excess deaths mainly attributed to natural causes. Persistent mortality gap underscores an urgent need for targeted interventions to improve physical health of patients with bipolar disorder.
Brief measurements of the subjective experience of stress with good predictive capability are important in a range of community mental health and research settings. The potential for large-scale implementation of such a measure for screening may facilitate early risk detection and intervention opportunities. Few such measures however have been developed and validated in epidemiological and longitudinal community samples. We designed a new single-item measure of the subjective level of stress (SLS-1) and tested its validity and ability to predict long-term mental health outcomes of up to 12 months through two separate studies.
We first examined the content and face validity of the SLS-1 with a panel consisting of mental health experts and laypersons. Two studies were conducted to examine its validity and predictive utility. In study 1, we tested the convergent and divergent validity as well as incremental validity of the SLS-1 in a large epidemiological sample of young people in Hong Kong (n = 1445). In study 2, in a consecutively recruited longitudinal community sample of young people (n = 258), we first performed the same procedures as in study 1 to ensure replicability of the findings. We then examined in this longitudinal sample the utility of the SLS-1 in predicting long-term depressive, anxiety and stress outcomes assessed at 3 months and 6 months (n = 182) and at 12 months (n = 84).
The SLS-1 demonstrated good content and face validity. Findings from the two studies showed that SLS-1 was moderately to strongly correlated with a range of mental health outcomes, including depressive, anxiety, stress and distress symptoms. We also demonstrated its ability to explain the variance explained in symptoms beyond other known personal and psychological factors. Using the longitudinal sample in study 2, we further showed the significant predictive capability of the SLS-1 for long-term symptom outcomes for up to 12 months even when accounting for demographic characteristics.
The findings altogether support the validity and predictive utility of the SLS-1 as a brief measure of stress with strong indications of both concurrent and long-term mental health outcomes. Given the value of brief measures of mental health risks at a population level, the SLS-1 may have potential for use as an early screening tool to inform early preventative intervention work.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
This study used data from 12 cultural groups in 9 countries (China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and United States; N = 1,315) to investigate bidirectional associations between parental warmth and control, and child externalizing and internalizing behaviors. In addition, the extent to which these associations held across mothers and fathers and across cultures with differing normative levels of parent warmth and control were examined. Mothers, fathers, and children completed measures when children were ages 8 to 13. Multiple-group autoregressive cross-lagged structural equation models revealed that evocative child-driven effects of externalizing and internalizing behavior on warmth and control are ubiquitous across development, cultures, mothers, and fathers. Results also reveal that parenting effects on child externalizing and internalizing behaviors, though rarer than child effects, extend into adolescence when examined separately in mothers and fathers. Father-based parent effects were more frequent than mother effects. Most parent- and child-driven effects appear to emerge consistently across cultures. The rare culture-specific parenting effects suggested that occasionally the effects of parenting behaviors that run counter to cultural norms may be delayed in rendering their protective effect against deleterious child outcomes.
Abnormal effort-based decision-making represents a potential mechanism underlying motivational deficits (amotivation) in psychotic disorders. Previous research identified effort allocation impairment in chronic schizophrenia and focused mostly on physical effort modality. No study has investigated cognitive effort allocation in first-episode psychosis (FEP).
Cognitive effort allocation was examined in 40 FEP patients and 44 demographically-matched healthy controls, using Cognitive Effort-Discounting (COGED) paradigm which quantified participants’ willingness to expend cognitive effort in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically-varied cognitive demands (levels N of N-back task). Relationship between reward-discounting and amotivation was investigated. Group differences in reward-magnitude and effort-cost sensitivity, and differential associations of these sensitivity indices with amotivation were explored.
Patients displayed significantly greater reward-discounting than controls. In particular, such discounting was most pronounced in patients with high levels of amotivation even when N-back performance and reward base amount were taken into consideration. Moreover, patients exhibited reduced reward-benefit sensitivity and effort-cost sensitivity relative to controls, and that decreased sensitivity to reward-benefit but not effort-cost was correlated with diminished motivation. Reward-discounting and sensitivity indices were generally unrelated to other symptom dimensions, antipsychotic dose and cognitive deficits.
This study provides the first evidence of cognitive effort-based decision-making impairment in FEP, and indicates that decreased effort expenditure is associated with amotivation. Our findings further suggest that abnormal effort allocation and amotivation might primarily be related to blunted reward valuation. Prospective research is required to clarify the utility of effort-based measures in predicting amotivation and functional outcome in FEP.
Better understanding of interplay among symptoms, cognition and functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) is crucial to promoting functional recovery. Network analysis is a promising data-driven approach to elucidating complex interactions among psychopathological variables in psychosis, but has not been applied in FEP.
This study employed network analysis to examine inter-relationships among a wide array of variables encompassing psychopathology, premorbid and onset characteristics, cognition, subjective quality-of-life and psychosocial functioning in 323 adult FEP patients in Hong Kong. Graphical Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) combined with extended Bayesian information criterion (BIC) model selection was used for network construction. Importance of individual nodes in a generated network was quantified by centrality analyses.
Our results showed that amotivation played the most central role and had the strongest associations with other variables in the network, as indexed by node strength. Amotivation and diminished expression displayed differential relationships with other nodes, supporting the validity of two-factor negative symptom structure. Psychosocial functioning was most strongly connected with amotivation and was weakly linked to several other variables. Within cognitive domain, digit span demonstrated the highest centrality and was connected with most of the other cognitive variables. Exploratory analysis revealed no significant gender differences in network structure and global strength.
Our results suggest the pivotal role of amotivation in psychopathology network of FEP and indicate its critical association with psychosocial functioning. Further research is required to verify the clinical significance of diminished motivation on functional outcome in the early course of psychotic illness.
The second Singapore Mental Health Study (SMHS) – a nationwide, cross-sectional, epidemiological survey - was initiated in 2016 with the intent of tracking the state of mental health of the general population in Singapore. The study employed the same methodology as the first survey initiated in 2010. The SMHS 2016 aimed to (i) establish the 12-month and lifetime prevalence and correlates of major depressive disorder (MDD), dysthymia, bipolar disorder, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) (which included alcohol abuse and dependence) and (ii) compare the prevalence of these disorders with reference to data from the SMHS 2010.
Door-to-door household surveys were conducted with adult Singapore residents aged 18 years and above from 2016 to 2018 (n = 6126) which yielded a response rate of 69.0%. The subjects were randomly selected using a disproportionate stratified sampling method and assessed using World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview version 3.0 (WHO-CIDI 3.0). The diagnoses of lifetime and 12-month selected mental disorders including MDD, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, GAD, OCD, and AUD (alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence), were based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria.
The lifetime prevalence of at least one mood, anxiety or alcohol use disorder was 13.9% in the adult population. MDD had the highest lifetime prevalence (6.3%) followed by alcohol abuse (4.1%). The 12-month prevalence of any DSM-IV mental disorders was 6.5%. OCD had the highest 12-month prevalence (2.9%) followed by MDD (2.3%). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of mental disorders assessed in SMHS 2016 (13.8% and 6.4%) was significantly higher than that in SMHS 2010 (12.0% and 4.4%). A significant increase was observed in the prevalence of lifetime GAD (0.9% to 1.6%) and alcohol abuse (3.1% to 4.1%). The 12-month prevalence of GAD (0.8% vs. 0.4%) and OCD (2.9% vs. 1.1%) was significantly higher in SMHS 2016 as compared to SMHS 2010.
The high prevalence of OCD and the increase across the two surveys needs to be tackled at a population level both in terms of creating awareness of the disorder and the need for early treatment. Youth emerge as a vulnerable group who are more likely to be associated with mental disorders and thus targeted interventions in this group with a focus on youth friendly and accessible care centres may lead to earlier detection and treatment of mental disorders.
β-Casomorphin is an opioid-like bioactive peptide derived from β-casein of milk that plays a crucial role in modulating animal’s feed intake, growth, nutrient utilization and immunity. However, the effect of β-casomorphin on lipid metabolism in chickens and its mechanism remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of β-casomorphin on fat deposition in broiler chickens and explore its mechanism of action. A total of 120 21-day-old Arbor Acres male broilers (747.94±8.85 g) was chosen and randomly divided into four groups with six replicates of five birds per replicate. Three groups of broilers were injected with 0.1, 0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg BW of β-casomorphin in 1 ml saline for 7 days, whereas the control group received 1 ml saline only. The results showed that subcutaneous administration of β-casomorphin to broiler chickens increased average daily gain, average daily feed intake and fat deposition, and decreased feed : gain ratio (P<0.05). The activity of malate dehydrogenase in the pectoral muscle, liver and abdominal adipose tissue was also increased along with the concentrations of insulin, very-low-density lipoprotein and triglyceride in the plasma (P<0.05). The activity of hormone-sensitive lipase in the liver and abdominal adipose tissue and the concentration of glucagon in the plasma were decreased by injection with β-casomorphin (P<0.05). Affymetrix gene chip analysis revealed that administering 1.0 mg/kg BW β-casomorphin caused differential expression of 168 genes in the liver with a minimum of fourfold difference. Of those, 37 genes are directly involved in lipid metabolism with 18 up-regulated genes such as very low density lipoprotein receptor gene and fatty acid synthase gene, and 19 down-regulated genes such as lipoprotein lipase gene and low density lipoprotein receptor gene. In conclusion, β-casomorphin increased growth performance and fat deposition of broilers. Regulation of fat deposition by β-casomorphin appears to take place through changes in hormone secretion and enzyme activities by controlling the gene expression of lipid metabolism and feed intake, increasing fat synthesis and deposition.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of the population regarding severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in endemic areas of Lu'an in China were assessed before and after an intervention programme. The pre-intervention phase was conducted using a sample of 425 participants from the 12 selected villages with the highest rates of endemic SFTS infection. A predesigned interview questionnaire was used to assess KAP. Subsequently, an intervention programme was designed and applied in the selected villages. KAP was re-assessed for each population in the selected villages using the same interview questionnaire. Following 2 months of the programme, 339 participants had completed the re-assessed survey. The impact of the intervention programme was evaluated using suitable statistical methods. A significant increase in the KAP and total KAP scores was noted following the intervention programme, whereas the proportion of correct knowledge, the positive attitudes and the effective practices toward SFTS of respondents increased significantly. The intervention programme was effective in improving KAP level of SFTS in populations that were resident in endemic areas.
The SkyMapper Transient survey (SMT) is exploring variability in the southern sky by performing (a) a rolling search to discover and study supernovæ, and (b) a Target of Opportunity programme that uses the robotic SkyMapper Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory. The supernova survey is obtaining a non-targeted sample of Type Ia supernovæ (SNe Ia) at low redshifts, z < 0.1, and studying other interesting transients found with the search strategy. We have a Target of Opportunity programme with an automatic response mechanism to search for optical counterparts to gravitational-wave and fast radio-burst events; it benefits from SkyMapper’s large field of view of 5.7 sq. deg. and a rapid data reduction pipeline.
We present first results of the SMT survey. The SMT pipeline can process and obtain potential candidates within 12 hours of observation. It disentangles real transients from processing artefacts using a machine-learning algorithm. To date, SMT has discovered over 60 spectroscopically confirmed supernovæ, several peculiar objects, and over 40 SNe Ia including one (SNIa 2016hhd) which was found within the first few days of explosion. We have also participated in searches for optical counterparts of gravitational waves, fast radio bursts and other transients, and have published observations of the optical counterpart of the gravitational-wave event GW170817. We also participate in coordinated observations with the Deeper Wider Faster programme, and the Kepler K2 cosmology project.
The enhanced error monitoring in patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), typically measured with the error-related negativity (ERN), has been found to be temporally stable and independent of symptom expression. Here, we examined whether the error monitoring in patients with OCD could be experimentally modulated by individually tailored symptom provocation.
Twenty patients with OCD and 20 healthy controls performed a flanker task in which OCD-relevant or neutral pictures were presented prior to a flanker stimulus. An individualized stimulus set consisting of the most provoking images in terms of OCD symptoms was selected for each patient with OCD. Response-locked event-related potentials were recorded and used to examine the error-related brain activity.
Patients with OCD showed larger ERN amplitudes than did control subjects in both the OCD-symptom provocation and neutral conditions. Additionally, while patients with OCD exhibited a significant increase in the ERN under the OCD-symptom provocation condition when compared with the neutral condition, control subjects showed no variation in the ERN between the conditions.
Our results strengthen earlier findings of hyperactive error monitoring in OCD, as indexed by higher ERN amplitudes in patients with OCD than in controls. Importantly, we showed that the patients’ overactive error-signals were experimentally enhanced by individually tailored OCD-symptom triggers, thus suggesting convincing evidence between OCD-symptoms and ERN. Such findings imply that therapeutic interventions should target affective regulation in order to alleviate the perceived threatening value of OCD triggers.
Following the success of static analysis of free-free 2-D plane trusses by using a self-regularization approach uniquely, we further extend the technique to deal with 3-D problems of space trusses. The inherent singular stiffness of a free-free structure is expanded to a bordered matrix by adding r singular vectors corresponding to zero singular values, where r is the nullity of the singular stiffness matrix. Besides, r constraints are accompanied to result in a nonsingular matrix. Only the pure particular solution with nontrivial strain is then obtained but without the homogeneous solution of no deformation. To link with the Fredholm alternative theorem, the slack variables with zero values indicate the infinite solutions while those with nonzero values imply the case of no solutions. A simple space truss is used to demonstrate the validity of the proposed model. An alternative way of reasonable support system to result in a nonsingular stiffness matrix is also addressed. In addition, the finite-element commercial code ABAQUS is also implemented to check the results.
Macdunnoughia crassisigna Warren (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a highly destructive herbivore that poses a serious risk to cotton, maize, soybean, and cruciferous vegetables in East Asia. Examining the effects of various biotic and abiotic factors on the flight performance of M. crassisigna is crucial for a better understanding of its trans-regional migration. In this study, the flight activity of M. crassisignai moths of different ages, under different temperatures and relative humidity (RH) levels, was evaluated by tethering individuals to computerized flight mills for a 24-h trial period. The results showed that M. crassisignai had the capacity for sustained flight and the flight ability was strongest in 3-day-old individuals, and then their flight performance decreased significantly in older moths. For both sexes, temperature had a significant effect on their flight performance, and the flight activity was relatively higher at 24–28°C than other temperatures. There was a significant effect of RH on all flight parameters of the tested moths, and the flight activity was relatively higher at RH of 60–75% than other RH levels. For 3-day-old moths under the optimum conditions (24°C and 75% RH) throughout the 24 h scotophase, their mean flight distance reached 66 km, and the mean flight duration reached 13.5 h, suggesting M. crassisigna possess strong potential to undertake long-distance migration. These findings will be helpful for developing sound forecasting systems of this pest species.
Poor insight is prevalent in patients with schizophrenia and has been associated with acute illness severity, medication non-adherence and poor treatment outcomes. Paradoxically, high insight has been associated with various undesirable outcomes, including low self-esteem, depression and low subjective quality of life (QoL) in patients with schizophrenia. Despite the growing body of studies conducted in Western countries supporting the pernicious effects of improved insight in psychosis, which bases on the level of self-stigma, the effects are unclear in non-Western societies. The current study examined the role of self-stigma in the relationship between insight and psychosocial outcomes in a Chinese population.
A total of 170 outpatients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders were recruited from two general university hospitals. Sociodemographic data and clinical variables were recorded and self-report scales were employed to measure self-stigma, depression, insight, self-esteem and subjective QoL. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to analyse the cross-sectional data.
High levels of self-stigma were reported by 39% of the participants (n = 67). The influences of insight, self-stigma, self-esteem and depression on subjective QoL were confirmed by the SEM results. Our model with the closest fit to the data (χ2 = 33.28; df = 20; p = 0.03; χ2/df = 1.66; CFI = 0.98; TLI = 0.97; RMSEA = 0.06) demonstrated that self-stigma might fully mediate the association of insight with low self-esteem, depression and poor subjective QoL. High insight into illness contributed to self-stigma, which caused low self-esteem and depression and, consequently, low QoL. Notably, insight did not directly affect self-esteem, depression or QoL. Furthermore, the association of insight with poor psychosocial outcomes was not moderated by self-stigma.
Our findings support the mediating model of insight relevant to the poor psychosocial outcomes of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia in non-Western societies, in which self-stigma plays a pivotal role. These findings elucidate the direct and indirect effects of insight on psychosocial outcomes and imply that identifying and correcting self-stigma in people with schizophrenia could be beneficial. Additional studies are required to identify whether several other neurocognitive or psychosocial variables mediate or moderate the association of insight with self-esteem, depression and QoL in patients with schizophrenia. Studies with detailed longitudinal assessments are necessary to confirm our findings.
Better understanding of the complex interplay among key determinants of functional outcome is crucial to promoting recovery in psychotic disorders. However, this is understudied in the early course of illness. We aimed to examine the relationships among negative symptoms, neurocognition, general self-efficacy and global functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients using structural equation modeling (SEM).
Three hundred and twenty-one Chinese patients aged 26–55 years presenting with FEP to an early intervention program in Hong Kong were recruited. Assessments encompassing symptom profiles, functioning, perceived general self-efficacy and a battery of neurocognitive tests were conducted. Negative symptom measurement was subdivided into amotivation and diminished expression (DE) domain scores based on the ratings in the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms.
An initial SEM model showed no significant association between functioning and DE which was removed from further analysis. A final trimmed model yielded very good model fit (χ2 = 15.48, p = 0.63; comparative fit index = 1.00; root mean square error of approximation <0.001) and demonstrated that amotivation, neurocognition and general self-efficacy had a direct effect on global functioning. Amotivation was also found to mediate a significant indirect effect of neurocognition and general self-efficacy on functioning. Neurocognition was not significantly related to general self-efficacy.
Our results indicate a critical intermediary role of amotivation in linking neurocognitive impairment to functioning in FEP. General self-efficacy may represent a promising treatment target for improvement of motivational deficits and functional outcome in the early illness stage.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a highly heritable neurodevelopmental disorder, yet the search for definite genetic etiologies remains elusive. Delineating ASD endophenotypes can boost the statistical power to identify the genetic etiologies and pathophysiology of ASD. We aimed to test for endophenotypes of neuroanatomy and associated intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC) via contrasting male youth with ASD, their unaffected brothers and typically developing (TD) males.
The 94 participants (aged 9–19 years) – 20 male youth with ASD, 20 unaffected brothers and 54 TD males – received clinical assessments, and undertook structural and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scans. Voxel-based morphometry was performed to obtain regional gray and white matter volumes. A seed-based approach, with seeds defined by the regions demonstrating atypical neuroanatomy shared by youth with ASD and unaffected brothers, was implemented to derive iFC. General linear models were used to compare brain structures and iFC among the three groups. Assessment of familiality was investigated by permutation tests for variance of the within-family pair difference.
We found that atypical gray matter volume in the mid-cingulate cortex was shared between male youth with ASD and their unaffected brothers as compared with TD males. Moreover, reduced iFC between the mid-cingulate cortex and the right inferior frontal gyrus, and increased iFC between the mid-cingulate cortex and bilateral middle occipital gyrus were the shared features of male ASD youth and unaffected brothers.
Atypical neuroanatomy and iFC surrounding the mid-cingulate cortex may be a potential endophenotypic marker for ASD in males.