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Childhood is a crucial neurodevelopmental period. We investigated whether childhood reading for pleasure (RfP) was related to young adolescent assessments of cognition, mental health, and brain structure.
We conducted a cross-sectional and longitudinal study in a large-scale US national cohort (10 000 + young adolescents), using the well-established linear mixed model and structural equation methods for twin study, longitudinal and mediation analyses. A 2-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis for potential causal inference was also performed. Important factors including socio-economic status were controlled.
Early-initiated long-standing childhood RfP (early RfP) was highly positively correlated with performance on cognitive tests and significantly negatively correlated with mental health problem scores of young adolescents. These participants with higher early RfP scores exhibited moderately larger total brain cortical areas and volumes, with increased regions including the temporal, frontal, insula, supramarginal; left angular, para-hippocampal; right middle-occipital, anterior-cingulate, orbital areas; and subcortical ventral-diencephalon and thalamus. These brain structures were significantly related to their cognitive and mental health scores, and displayed significant mediation effects. Early RfP was longitudinally associated with higher crystallized cognition and lower attention symptoms at follow-up. Approximately 12 h/week of youth regular RfP was cognitively optimal. We further observed a moderately significant heritability of early RfP, with considerable contribution from environments. MR analysis revealed beneficial causal associations of early RfP with adult cognitive performance and left superior temporal structure.
These findings, for the first time, revealed the important relationships of early RfP with subsequent brain and cognitive development and mental well-being.
To determine whether depressive symptoms in traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients were associated with altered resting-state functional connectivity (rs-fc) or voxel-based morphology in brain regions involved in emotional regulation and associated with depression.
In the present study, we examined 79 patients (57 males; age range = 17–70 years, M ± s.d. = 38 ± 16.13; BDI-II, M ± s.d. = 9.84 ± 8.67) with TBI. We used structural MRI and resting-state fMRI to examine whether there was a relationship between depression, as measured with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), and the voxel-based morphology or functional connectivity in regions previously identified as involved in emotional regulation in patients following TBI. Patients were at least 4 months post-TBI (M ± s.d. = 15.13 ± 11.67 months) and the severity of the injury included mild to severe cases [Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), M ± s.d. = 6.87 ± 3.31].
Our results showed that BDI-II scores were unrelated to voxel-based morphology in the examined regions. We found a positive association between depression scores and rs-fc between limbic regions and cognitive control regions. Conversely, there was a negative association between depression scores and rs-fc between limbic and frontal regions involved in emotion regulation.
These findings lead to a better understanding of the exact mechanisms that contribute to depression following TBI and better inform treatment decisions.
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