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Childhood maltreatment (CM) plays an important role in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this study was to examine whether CM severity and type are associated with MDD-related brain alterations, and how they interact with sex and age.
Within the ENIGMA-MDD network, severity and subtypes of CM using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were assessed and structural magnetic resonance imaging data from patients with MDD and healthy controls were analyzed in a mega-analysis comprising a total of 3872 participants aged between 13 and 89 years. Cortical thickness and surface area were extracted at each site using FreeSurfer.
CM severity was associated with reduced cortical thickness in the banks of the superior temporal sulcus and supramarginal gyrus as well as with reduced surface area of the middle temporal lobe. Participants reporting both childhood neglect and abuse had a lower cortical thickness in the inferior parietal lobe, middle temporal lobe, and precuneus compared to participants not exposed to CM. In males only, regardless of diagnosis, CM severity was associated with higher cortical thickness of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Finally, a significant interaction between CM and age in predicting thickness was seen across several prefrontal, temporal, and temporo-parietal regions.
Severity and type of CM may impact cortical thickness and surface area. Importantly, CM may influence age-dependent brain maturation, particularly in regions related to the default mode network, perception, and theory of mind.
The Pueblo population of Chaco Canyon during the Bonito Phase (AD 800–1130) employed agricultural strategies and water-management systems to enhance food cultivation in this unpredictable environment. Scepticism concerning the timing and effectiveness of this system, however, remains common. Using optically stimulated luminescence dating of sediments and LiDAR imaging, the authors located Bonito Phase canal features at the far west end of the canyon. Additional ED-XRF and strontium isotope (87Sr/86Sr) analyses confirm the diversion of waters from multiple sources during Chaco’s occupation. The extent of this water-management system raises new questions about social organisation and the role of ritual in facilitating responses to environmental unpredictability.
Childhood maltreatment, including abuse and neglect, may have sustained effects on the integrity and functioning of the brain, alter neurophysiological responsivity later in life, and predispose individuals toward psychiatric conditions involving socioaffective disturbances. This meta-analysis aims to quantify associations between self-reported childhood maltreatment and brain function in response to socioaffective cues in adults. Seventeen functional magnetic resonance imaging studies reporting on data from 848 individuals examined with the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were included in a meta-analysis of whole-brain findings, or a review of region of interest findings. The spatial consistency of peak activations associated with maltreatment exposure was tested using activation likelihood estimation, using a threshold of p < .05 corrected for multiple comparisons. Adults exposed to childhood maltreatment showed significantly increased activation in the left superior frontal gyrus and left middle temporal gyrus, and decreased activation in the left superior parietal lobule and the left hippocampus. Although hyperresponsivity to socioaffective cues in the amygdala and ventral anterior cingulate cortex in correlation with maltreatment severity is a replicated finding in region of interest studies, null results are reported as well. The findings suggest that childhood maltreatment has sustained effects on brain function into adulthood, and highlight potential mechanisms for conveying vulnerability to development of psychopathology.
Brain structure differences and adolescent alcohol dependence both show substantial heritability. However, exactly which genes are responsible for brain volume variation in adolescents with substance abuse disorders are currently unknown. The aim of this investigation was to determine whether genetic variants previously implicated in psychiatric disorders are associated with variation in brain volume in adolescents with alcohol use disorder (AUD).
The cohort consisted of 58 adolescents with DSM-IV AUD and 58 age and gender-matched controls of mixed ancestry ethnicity. An Illumina Infinium iSelect custom 6000 bead chip was used to genotype 5348 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 378 candidate genes. Magnetic resonance images were acquired and volumes of global and regional structures were estimated using voxel-based morphometry. To determine whether any of the genetic variants were associated with brain volume, association analysis was conducted using linear regression in Plink.
From the exploratory analysis, the GRIN2B SNP rs219927 was associated with brain volume in the left posterior cingulate cortex (p<0.05), whereby having a G-allele was associated with a bigger volume.
The GRIN2B gene is involved in glutamatergic signalling and may be associated with developmental differences in AUD in brain regions such as the posterior cingulate cortex. Such differences may play a role in risk for AUD, and deserve more detailed investigation.
Early-life adversity is a risk for obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD),
but the impact at the neural level is less clear.
To investigate the association between brain volumes and early-life
adversity in individuals with a diagnosis of OCD only.
The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ-28) was used to assess early-life
adversity in 21 participants with OCD and 25 matched healthy controls.
The relationship between global and regional brain volume and early-life
adversity was measured using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). All data were
corrected for multiple comparisons using family-wise error (FWE) at
In the OCD group, correlations with total CTQ scores were positively
associated with a larger right orbitofrontal cortex volume. Physical
neglect was higher in the OCD group than in controls and was positively
associated with larger right cerebellum volume in the OCD group only.
Larger brain volumes may reflect underlying developmental neuropathology
in adults with OCD who also have experience of childhood trauma.
Newell and Shanks provide a useful critique on unconscious decision making. However, they do not consider an important set of functional brain imaging studies of unconscious processes. Here we review briefly the relevant brain imaging and psychobiological literature and its implications for understanding unconscious decision making.
To report the design and baseline results of a rewards-based incentive to promote purchase of fruit and vegetables by lower-income households.
A four-phase randomized trial with wait-listed controls. In a pilot study, despite inadequate study coupon use, purchases of fresh fruit (but not vegetables) increased, but with little maintenance. In the present study, credits on the study store gift card replace paper coupons and a tapering phase is added. The primary outcome is the number of servings of fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables purchased per week.
A large full-service supermarket located in a predominantly minority community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Fifty-eight households, with at least one child living in the home.
During the baseline period, households purchased an average of 3·7 servings of fresh vegetables and an average of less than 1 serving of frozen vegetables per week. Households purchased an average of 1·9 servings of fresh fruit per week, with little to no frozen fruit purchases. Overall, the range of fresh and frozen produce purchased during this pre-intervention period was limited.
At baseline, produce purchases were small and of limited variety. The study will contribute to understanding the impact of financial incentives on increasing the purchases of healthier foods by lower-income populations.
Smoking during pregnancy has been shown to be detrimental for the developing fetus. The effects of active and passive maternal smoking on umbilical cord serum levels of vitamin A and vitamin E were examined. Secondary measures included anthropometric parameters in the newborn. Maternal and umbilical cord serum levels of vitamins A and E were measured at delivery. The mothers were assigned to three groups: non-smoking (n 12); passive smoking (n 13); active smoking (n 18). Based on multivariate linear regressions, active smoking during pregnancy was associated with increased umbilical cord serum levels of vitamin A and vitamin E. While enhanced circulating levels of vitamin A in cord blood were also found in non-smoking mothers exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy, those of vitamin E were not influenced. Further, an inverse association between smoking behaviour during pregnancy and birth length was observed, with shortest length in active smokers followed by passive smoking mothers. Active and passive maternal smoking behaviour during pregnancy increases the fetal demand for antioxidant compounds in order to counteract the oxidative burden by cigarette smoke. Against this background, the observed increase in umbilical cord serum levels of vitamins A and E may subserve antioxidative processes in response to tobacco smoke-induced oxidative stress. This would reduce the availability of vitamins A and E for fetal maturation, which is critical inasmuch as both compounds are indispensable for the developing fetus. However, due to the cross-sectional nature of our observation, this line of reasoning definitely requires validation in cause–effect experiments in the future.