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Disruptive behavior disorders (DBD) are heterogeneous at the clinical and the biological level. Therefore, the aims were to dissect the heterogeneous neurodevelopmental deviations of the affective brain circuitry and provide an integration of these differences across modalities.
We combined two novel approaches. First, normative modeling to map deviations from the typical age-related pattern at the level of the individual of (i) activity during emotion matching and (ii) of anatomical images derived from DBD cases (n = 77) and controls (n = 52) aged 8–18 years from the EU-funded Aggressotype and MATRICS consortia. Second, linked independent component analysis to integrate subject-specific deviations from both modalities.
While cases exhibited on average a higher activity than would be expected for their age during face processing in regions such as the amygdala when compared to controls these positive deviations were widespread at the individual level. A multimodal integration of all functional and anatomical deviations explained 23% of the variance in the clinical DBD phenotype. Most notably, the top marker, encompassing the default mode network (DMN) and subcortical regions such as the amygdala and the striatum, was related to aggression across the whole sample.
Overall increased age-related deviations in the amygdala in DBD suggest a maturational delay, which has to be further validated in future studies. Further, the integration of individual deviation patterns from multiple imaging modalities allowed to dissect some of the heterogeneity of DBD and identified the DMN, the striatum and the amygdala as neural signatures that were associated with aggression.
Brain imaging studies have shown altered amygdala activity during emotion processing in children and adolescents with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD) compared to typically developing children and adolescents (TD). Here we aimed to assess whether aggression-related subtypes (reactive and proactive aggression) and callous-unemotional (CU) traits predicted variation in amygdala activity and skin conductance (SC) response during emotion processing.
We included 177 participants (n = 108 cases with disruptive behaviour and/or ODD/CD and n = 69 TD), aged 8–18 years, across nine sites in Europe, as part of the EU Aggressotype and MATRICS projects. All participants performed an emotional face-matching functional magnetic resonance imaging task.
Differences between cases and TD in affective processing, as well as specificity of activation patterns for aggression subtypes and CU traits, were assessed. Simultaneous SC recordings were acquired in a subsample (n = 63). Cases compared to TDs showed higher amygdala activity in response to negative faces (fearful and angry) v. shapes. Subtyping cases according to aggression-related subtypes did not significantly influence on amygdala activity; while stratification based on CU traits was more sensitive and revealed decreased amygdala activity in the high CU group. SC responses were significantly lower in cases and negatively correlated with CU traits, reactive and proactive aggression.
Our results showed differences in amygdala activity and SC responses to emotional faces between cases with ODD/CD and TD, while CU traits moderate both central (amygdala) and peripheral (SC) responses. Our insights regarding subtypes and trait-specific aggression could be used for improved diagnostics and personalized treatment.
Background: Diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease (PD) is relevant because it is a marker for evolution to dementia. However, the selection of suitable tests to evaluate separate cognitive domains in mild cognitive impairment related to PD remains an open question. The current work aims to investigate the neuroanatomical correlates of several visuospatial/visuoperceptual tests using the same sample and a multimodal MRI approach. Methods: The study included 36 PD patients and 20 healthy subjects matched for age, sex, and education. The visuospatial/visuoperceptual tests selected were: Pentagon Copying Test (PCT), Judgment of Line Orientation Test (JLOT), Visual Form Discrimination Test (VFDT), Facial Recognition Test (FRT), Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SMDT), and clock copying task (CLOX2). FreeSurfer was used to assess cortical thickness, and tract-based spatial statistics was used for fractional anisotropy analysis. Results: Lower performance in the PCT, JLOT, and SDMT was associated with extensive cortical thickness reductions in lateral parietal and temporal regions. VFDT and CLOX2 did not show this common pattern and correlated with more limited medial occipito-temporal and occipito-parietal regions. Performance in all visuospatial/visuoperceptual tests correlated with fractional anisotropy in the corpus callosum. Conclusions: Our findings show that JLOT, SDMT, and PCT, in addition to differentiating patients from controls, are suitable visuospatial/visuoperceptual tests to reflect cortical thinning in lateral temporo-parietal regions in PD patients. We did not observe the dissociation between dorsal and ventral streams that was expected according to the neuropsychological classification of visuospatial and visuoperceptual tests. (JINS, 2018, 24, 33–44)
The association of cerebral white matter lesions (WMLs) with cognitive status is not well understood in middle-aged individuals. Our aim was to determine the specific contribution of periventricular hyperintensities (PVHs) and deep white matter hyperintensities (DWMHs) to cognitive function in a community sample of asymptomatic participants aged 50 to 65 years. One hundred stroke- and dementia-free adults completed a comprehensive neuropsychological battery and brain MRI protocol. Participants were classified according to PVH and DWMH scores (Fazekas scale). We dichotomized our sample into low grade WMLs (participants without or with mild lesions) and high grade WMLs (participants with moderate or severe lesions). Analyses were performed separately in PVH and DWMH groups. High grade DWMHs were associated with significantly lower scores in executive functioning (−0.45 standard deviations [SD]), attention (−0.42 SD), verbal fluency (−0.68 SD), visual memory (−0.52 SD), visuospatial skills (−0.79 SD), and psychomotor speed (−0.46 SD). Further analyses revealed that high grade DWMHs were also associated with a three- to fourfold increased risk of impaired scores (i.e.,<1.5 SD) in executive functioning, verbal fluency, visuospatial skills, and psychomotor speed. Our findings suggest that only DWMHs, not PVHs, are related to diminished cognitive function in middle-aged individuals. (JINS, 2012, 18, 1–12)
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