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Schizotypy represents an index of psychosis-proneness in the general population, often associated with childhood trauma exposure. Both schizotypy and childhood trauma are linked to structural brain alterations, and it is possible that trauma exposure moderates the extent of brain morphological differences associated with schizotypy.
We addressed this question using data from a total of 1182 healthy adults (age range: 18–65 years old, 647 females/535 males), pooled from nine sites worldwide, contributing to the Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) Schizotypy working group. All participants completed both the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire Brief version (SPQ-B), and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), and underwent a 3D T1-weighted brain MRI scan from which regional indices of subcortical gray matter volume and cortical thickness were determined.
A series of multiple linear regressions revealed that differences in cortical thickness in four regions-of-interest were significantly associated with interactions between schizotypy and trauma; subsequent moderation analyses indicated that increasing levels of schizotypy were associated with thicker left caudal anterior cingulate gyrus, right middle temporal gyrus and insula, and thinner left caudal middle frontal gyrus, in people exposed to higher (but not low or average) levels of childhood trauma. This was found in the context of morphological changes directly associated with increasing levels of schizotypy or increasing levels of childhood trauma exposure.
These results suggest that alterations in brain regions critical for higher cognitive and integrative processes that are associated with schizotypy may be enhanced in individuals exposed to high levels of trauma.
Obesity is highly prevalent and disabling, especially in individuals with severe mental illness including bipolar disorders (BD). The brain is a target organ for both obesity and BD. Yet, we do not understand how cortical brain alterations in BD and obesity interact.
We obtained body mass index (BMI) and MRI-derived regional cortical thickness, surface area from 1231 BD and 1601 control individuals from 13 countries within the ENIGMA-BD Working Group. We jointly modeled the statistical effects of BD and BMI on brain structure using mixed effects and tested for interaction and mediation. We also investigated the impact of medications on the BMI-related associations.
BMI and BD additively impacted the structure of many of the same brain regions. Both BMI and BD were negatively associated with cortical thickness, but not surface area. In most regions the number of jointly used psychiatric medication classes remained associated with lower cortical thickness when controlling for BMI. In a single region, fusiform gyrus, about a third of the negative association between number of jointly used psychiatric medications and cortical thickness was mediated by association between the number of medications and higher BMI.
We confirmed consistent associations between higher BMI and lower cortical thickness, but not surface area, across the cerebral mantle, in regions which were also associated with BD. Higher BMI in people with BD indicated more pronounced brain alterations. BMI is important for understanding the neuroanatomical changes in BD and the effects of psychiatric medications on the brain.
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