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Author: Frauke Nees (102)


Jan
2018

In this review article, genetic variation associated with brain responses related to acute and chronic stress reactivity and fear learning in humans is presented as an important mechanism underlying posttraumatic stress disorder. We report that genes related to the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, as well as genes that modulate serotonergic, dopaminergic, and neuropeptidergic functions or plasticity, play a role in this context. The strong overlap of the genetic targets involved in stress and fear learning suggests that a dimensional and mechanistic model of the development of posttraumatic stress disorder based on these constructs is promising.

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Jan
2018

Cognitive reappraisal of emotion is strongly related to long-term mental health. Therefore, the exploration of underlying cognitive and neural mechanisms has become an essential focus of research. Considering that reappraisal and executive functions rely on a similar brain network, the question arises whether behavioral differences in executive functions modulate neural activity during reappraisal.

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Dec
2017

Moment-to-moment reaction time variability on tasks of attention, often quantified by intra-individual response variability (IRV), provides a good indication of the degree to which an individual is vulnerable to lapses in sustained attention. Increased IRV is a hallmark of several disorders of attention, including Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Here, task-based fMRI was used to provide the first examination of how average brain activation and functional connectivity patterns in adolescents are related to individual differences in sustained attention as measured by IRV.

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Dec
2017

Nociceptin is a key regulator linking environmental stress and alcohol drinking. In a genome-wide methylation analysis, we recently identified an association of a methylated region in the OPRL1 gene with alcohol-use disorders.
Here, we investigate the biological basis of this observation by analysing psychosocial stressors, methylation of the OPRL1 gene, brain response during reward anticipation and alcohol drinking in 660 fourteen-year-old adolescents of the IMAGEN study.

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Jan
2018

Classical fear conditioning is an important mechanism to adequately respond and adapt to environmental threats and has been related to the development of fear and anxiety. Both cue and context conditioning have been studied but little is known about their relation to relevant resting state networks. The default mode network (DMN) has been reported to be involved in affective learning and described as facilitating a state of readiness in responding to environmental changes.

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Sep
2017

In the understanding of chronic pain, hypotheses derived from psychological theories, together with insights from physiological assessments and brain imaging, highlight the importance of mechanistically driven approaches. Physical system changes, for example following injury, can result in alterations of psychological processes and are accompanied by changes in corticolimbic circuits, which have been shown to be essential in emotional learning and memory, as well as reward processing and related behavior. In the present review, we thus highlight the importance of motivational, reward/pain relief, and fear learning processes in the context of chronic pain and discuss the potential of a mechanistic understanding of chronic pain within a clinical perspective, for example for the development of therapeutic strategies.

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Oct
2017

The nicotinic system plays an important role in cognitive control and is implicated in several neuropsychiatric conditions. However, the contributions of genetic variability in this system to individuals' cognitive control abilities are poorly understood and the brain processes that mediate such genetic contributions remain largely unidentified. In this first large-scale neuroimaging genetics study of the human nicotinic receptor system (two cohorts, males and females, fMRI total= 1586, behavioral total= 3650), we investigated a common polymorphism of the high-affinity nicotinic receptor α4β2 (rs1044396 on thegene) previously implicated in behavioral and nicotine-related studies (albeit with inconsistent major/minor allele impacts).

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Dec
1969

The authors sought to explore how conduct, hyperactivity/inattention, and emotional symptoms are associated with neural reactivity to social-emotional stimuli, and the extent to which psychosocial stress modulates these relationships.
Participants were community adolescents recruited as part of the European IMAGEN study. Bilateral amygdala regions of interest were used to assess the relationship between the three symptom domains and functional MRI neural reactivity during passive viewing of dynamic angry and neutral facial expressions.

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May
2017

In a recent genomewide association study of subcortical brain volumes, a common genetic variation at rs945270 was identified as having the strongest effect on putamen volume, a brain measurement linked to familial risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). To determine whether rs945270 might be a genetic determinant of ADHD, its effects on ADHD-related symptoms and neural mechanisms of ADHD, such as response inhibition and reward sensitivity, were explored.
A large population sample of 1,834 14-year-old adolescents was used to test the effects of rs945270 on ADHD symptoms assessed through the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and region-of-interest analyses of putamen activation by functional magnetic resonance imaging using the stop signal and monetary incentive delay tasks, assessing response inhibition and reward sensitivity, respectively.

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Apr
2017

To analyze the involvement of different brain regions in behavioral inhibition and impulsiveness, differences in activation were investigated in fMRI data from a response inhibition task, the stop-signal task, in 1709 participants. First, areas activated more in stop-success (SS) than stop-failure (SF) included the lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) extending into the inferior frontal gyrus (ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, BA 47/12), and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Second, the anterior cingulate and anterior insula (AI) were activated more on failure trials, specifically in SF versus SS.

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Jun
2017

Fear acquisition and extinction have been demonstrated as core mechanisms for the development and maintenance of mental disorders, with different contributions of processing cues vs contexts. The hypothalamic peptide oxytocin (OXT) may have a prominent role in this context, as it has been shown to affect fear learning. However, investigations have focused on cue conditioning, and fear extinction.

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Dec
1969

This study investigated the neural correlates of psychotic-like experiences in youths during tasks involving inhibitory control, reward anticipation, and emotion processing. A secondary aim was to test whether these neurofunctional correlates of risk were predictive of psychotic symptoms 2 years later.
Functional imaging responses to three paradigms-the stop-signal, monetary incentive delay, and faces tasks-were collected in youths at age 14, as part of the IMAGEN study.

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Jun
2017

The so-called 'replicability crisis' has sparked methodological discussions in many areas of science in general, and in psychology in particular. This has led to recent endeavours to promote the transparency, rigour, and ultimately, replicability of research. Originating from this zeitgeist, the challenge to discuss critical issues on terminology, design, methods, and analysis considerations in fear conditioning research is taken up by this work, which involved representatives from fourteen of the major human fear conditioning laboratories in Europe.

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Nov
2017

Neuroimaging studies of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have most commonly reported volumetric abnormalities in the basal ganglia, cerebellum, and prefrontal cortices. Few studies have examined the relationship between ADHD symptomatology and brain structure in population-based samples. We investigated the relationship between dimensional measures of ADHD symptomatology, brain structure, and reaction time variability-an index of lapses in attention.

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Feb
2017

Novelty-seeking tendencies in adolescents may promote innovation as well as problematic impulsive behaviour, including drug abuse. Previous research has not clarified whether neural hyper- or hypo-responsiveness to anticipated rewards promotes vulnerability in these individuals. Here we use a longitudinal design to track 144 novelty-seeking adolescents at age 14 and 16 to determine whether neural activity in response to anticipated rewards predicts problematic drug use.

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Dec
1969

The apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene has been consistently shown to modulate the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, using an AD and normal aging dataset primarily consisting of three AD multi-center studies (n = 1,781), we compared the effect of APOE and amyloid-β (Aβ) on baseline hippocampal volumes in AD patients, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) subjects, and healthy controls. A large sample of healthy adolescents (n = 1,387) was also used to compared hippocampal volumes between APOE groups.

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Feb
2017

The processing of reward and reinforcement learning seems to be important determinants of pain chronicity. However, reward processing is already altered early in life and if this is related to the development of pain symptoms later on is not known. The aim of this study was first to examine whether behavioural and brain-related indicators of reward processing at the age of 14 to 15 years are significant predictors of pain complaints 2 years later, at 16 to 17 years.

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Jun
2017

This study investigated the prevalence of disordered eating cognitions and behaviours across mid-adolescence in a large European sample, and explored the extent to which prevalence ratings were affected by informant (parent/adolescent), or the sex or age of the adolescent. The Development and Well-Being Assessment was completed by parent-adolescent dyads at age 14 (n = 2225) and again at age 16 (n = 1607) to explore the prevalence of 7 eating disorder symptoms (binge eating, purging, fear of weight gain, distress over shape/weight, avoidance of fattening foods, food restriction, and exercise for weight loss). Informant agreement was assessed using kappa coefficients.

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Dec
1969

Transient global amnesia (TGA) is a disorder with reversible anterograde disturbance of explicit memory, frequently preceded by an emotionally or physically stressful event. By using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) following an episode of TGA, small hippocampal lesions have been observed. Hence it has been postulated that the disorder is caused by the stress-related transient inhibition of memory formation in the hippocampus.

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Feb
2017

Stress exposure causes a structural reorganization in neurons of the amygdala. In particular, animal models have repeatedly shown that both acute and chronic stress induce neuronal hypertrophy and volumetric increase in the lateral and basolateral nuclei of amygdala. These effects are visible on the behavioral level, where stress enhances anxiety behaviors and provokes greater fear learning.

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Nov
2016

The traditional view that mental disorders are distinct, categorical disorders has been challenged by evidence that disorders are highly comorbid and exist on a continuum (e.g., Caspi et al.

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Dec
2016

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) might be maintained by deficient extinction memory. We used a cued fear conditioning design with extinction and a post-extinction phase to provoke the return of fear and examined the role of the interplay of amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal regions.
We compared 18 PTSD patients with two healthy control groups: 18 trauma-exposed subjects without PTSD (nonPTSD) and 18 healthy controls (HC) without trauma experience.

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Nov
2016

Despite calls for integration of neurobiological methods into research on youth resilience (high competence despite high adversity), we know little about structural brain correlates of resilient functioning. The aim of the current study was to test for brain regions uniquely associated with positive functioning in the context of adversity, using detailed phenotypic classification.
1,870 European adolescents (M = 14.

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Nov
2016

Alcohol misuse often develops during adolescence involving interacting factors deriving from personality, environment and life events that can be assessed with well-established instruments. However, for specific research purposes, involving the assessment of large data sets, it may be beneficial having a short tool of key items representing the most important risk factors.
We identified a set of key items from standard questionnaires assessed in about 2000 adolescents.

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Oct
2017

Human subcortical brain asymmetries in 15,847 people worldwide reveal effects of age and sex.

Brain Imaging Behav 2017 Oct;11(5):1497-1514
Tulio Guadalupe, Samuel R Mathias, Theo G M vanErp, Christopher D Whelan, Marcel P Zwiers, Yoshinari Abe, Lucija Abramovic, Ingrid Agartz, Ole A Andreassen, Alejandro Arias-Vásquez, Benjamin S Aribisala, Nicola J Armstrong, Volker Arolt, Eric Artiges, Rosa Ayesa-Arriola, Vatche G Baboyan, Tobias Banaschewski, Gareth Barker, Mark E Bastin, Bernhard T Baune, John Blangero, Arun L W Bokde, Premika S W Boedhoe, Anushree Bose, Silvia Brem, Henry Brodaty, Uli Bromberg, Samantha Brooks, Christian Büchel, Jan Buitelaar, Vince D Calhoun, Dara M Cannon, Anna Cattrell, Yuqi Cheng, Patricia J Conrod, Annette Conzelmann, Aiden Corvin, Benedicto Crespo-Facorro, Fabrice Crivello, Udo Dannlowski, Greig I de Zubicaray, Sonja M C de Zwarte, Ian J Deary, Sylvane Desrivières, Nhat Trung Doan, Gary Donohoe, Erlend S Dørum, Stefan Ehrlich, Thomas Espeseth, Guillén Fernández, Herta Flor, Jean-Paul Fouche, Vincent Frouin, Masaki Fukunaga, Jürgen Gallinat, Hugh Garavan, Michael Gill, Andrea Gonzalez Suarez, Penny Gowland, Hans J Grabe, Dominik Grotegerd, Oliver Gruber, Saskia Hagenaars, Ryota Hashimoto, Tobias U Hauser, Andreas Heinz, Derrek P Hibar, Pieter J Hoekstra, Martine Hoogman, Fleur M Howells, Hao Hu, Hilleke E Hulshoff Pol, Chaim Huyser, Bernd Ittermann, Neda Jahanshad, Erik G Jönsson, Sarah Jurk, Rene S Kahn, Sinead Kelly, Bernd Kraemer, Harald Kugel, Jun Soo Kwon, Herve Lemaitre, Klaus-Peter Lesch, Christine Lochner, Michelle Luciano, Andre F Marquand, Nicholas G Martin, Ignacio Martínez-Zalacaín, Jean-Luc Martinot, David Mataix-Cols, Karen Mather, Colm McDonald, Katie L McMahon, Sarah E Medland, José M Menchón, Derek W Morris, Omar Mothersill, Susana Munoz Maniega, Benson Mwangi, Takashi Nakamae, Tomohiro Nakao, Janardhanan C Narayanaswaamy, Frauke Nees, Jan E Nordvik, A Marten H Onnink, Nils Opel, Roel Ophoff, Marie-Laure Paillère Martinot, Dimitri Papadopoulos Orfanos, Paul Pauli, Tomáš Paus, Luise Poustka, Janardhan Yc Reddy, Miguel E Renteria, Roberto Roiz-Santiáñez, Annerine Roos, Natalie A Royle, Perminder Sachdev, Pascual Sánchez-Juan, Lianne Schmaal, Gunter Schumann, Elena Shumskaya, Michael N Smolka, Jair C Soares, Carles Soriano-Mas, Dan J Stein, Lachlan T Strike, Roberto Toro, Jessica A Turner, Nathalie Tzourio-Mazoyer, Anne Uhlmann, Maria Valdés Hernández, Odile A van den Heuvel, Dennis van der Meer, Neeltje E M van Haren, Dick J Veltman, Ganesan Venkatasubramanian, Nora C Vetter, Daniella Vuletic, Susanne Walitza, Henrik Walter, Esther Walton, Zhen Wang, Joanna Wardlaw, Wei Wen, Lars T Westlye, Robert Whelan, Katharina Wittfeld, Thomas Wolfers, Margaret J Wright, Jian Xu, Xiufeng Xu, Je-Yeon Yun, JingJing Zhao, Barbara Franke, Paul M Thompson, David C Glahn, Bernard Mazoyer, Simon E Fisher, Clyde Francks
The two hemispheres of the human brain differ functionally and structurally. Despite over a century of research, the extent to which brain asymmetry is influenced by sex, handedness, age, and genetic factors is still controversial. Here we present the largest ever analysis of subcortical brain asymmetries, in a harmonized multi-site study using meta-analysis methods.

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Dec
1969

Negative life events (NLE) contribute to anxiety and depression disorders, but their relationship with brain functioning in adolescence has rarely been studied. We hypothesized that neural response to social threat would relate to NLE in the frontal-limbic emotional regions. Participants (N = 685) were drawn from the Imagen database of 14-year-old community adolescents recruited in schools.

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Oct
2016

Exaggerated conditioned fear responses and impaired extinction along with amygdala overactivation have been observed in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These fear responses might be triggered by cues related to the trauma through higher-order conditioning, where reminders of the trauma may serve as unconditioned stimuli (US) and could maintain the fear response. We compared arousal, valence, and US expectancy ratings and BOLD brain responses using fMRI in 14 traumatized persons with PTSD and 14 without PTSD (NPTSD) and 13 matched healthy controls (HC) in a differential aversive conditioning paradigm.

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Aug
2016

Psychotic disorders are characterized by attenuated activity in the brain's valuation system in key reward processing areas, such as the ventral striatum (VS), as measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging.
To examine whether common risk variants for psychosis are associated with individual variation in the VS.
A cross-sectional study of a large cohort of adolescents from the IMAGEN study (a European multicenter study of reinforcement sensitivity in adolescents) was performed from March 1, 2008, through December 31, 2011.

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Dec
1969

Adolescence is a time that can set the course of alcohol abuse later in life. Sensitivity to reward on multiple levels is a major factor in this development. We examined 736 adolescents from the IMAGEN longitudinal study for alcohol drinking during early (mean age=14.

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Dec
1969

Substance misusers, including adolescent smokers, often have reduced reward system activity during processing of non-drug rewards. Using a psychophysiological interaction approach, we examined functional connectivity with the ventral striatum during reward anticipation in a large (N = 206) sample of adolescent smokers. Increased smoking frequency was associated with (1) increased connectivity with regions involved in saliency and valuation, including the orbitofrontal cortex and (2) reduced connectivity between the ventral striatum and regions associated with inhibition and risk aversion, including the right inferior frontal gyrus.

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Apr
2016

Dysfunctional reward processing is implicated in various mental disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and addictions. Such impairments might involve different components of the reward process, including brain activity during reward anticipation. We examined brain nodes engaged by reward anticipation in 1,544 adolescents and identified a network containing a core striatal node and cortical nodes facilitating outcome prediction and response preparation.

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Aug
2017

Individual differences in impulsivity and early adversity are known to be strong predictors of adolescent antisocial behavior. However, the neurobiological bases of impulsivity and their relation to antisocial behavior and adversity are poorly understood.
Impulsivity was estimated with a temporal discounting task.

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Dec
1969

The high frequency component of heart rate variability (HRV) has reliably been shown to serve as an index of autonomic inhibitory control and is increasingly considered as a biomarker of adaptability and health. While several functional neuroimaging studies identified associations between regional cerebral blood flow and HRV, studies on structural brain correlates of HRV are scarce. We investigated whether interindividual differences in HRV are related to brain morphology in healthy humans.

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Feb
2016

The results of research about the influences of impulsivity on decision-making in situations of risk have been inconsistent. In this study, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the neural correlates of decision-making under risk in 12 impulsive, as defined by the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11, and 13 normal men. Although both groups showed similar decision-making behavior, neural activation regarding decision-making processes differed significantly.

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Dec
1969

The incomplete-hippocampal-inversion (IHI), also known as malrotation, is an atypical anatomical pattern of the hippocampus, which has been reported in healthy subjects in different studies. However, extensive characterization of IHI in a large sample has not yet been performed. Furthermore, it is unclear whether IHI are restricted to the medial-temporal lobe or are associated with more extensive anatomical changes.

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Apr
2016

The mesolimbic dopamine system, composed primarily of dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area that project to striatal structures, is considered to be the key mediator of reinforcement-related mechanisms in the brain. Prompted by a genome-wide association meta-analysis implicating the Ras-specific guanine nucleotide-releasing factor 2 (RASGRF2) gene in the regulation of alcohol intake in men, we have recently shown that male Rasgrf2(-/-) mice exhibit reduced ethanol intake and preference accompanied by a perturbed mesolimbic dopamine system. We therefore propose that these mice represent a valid model to further elucidate the precise genes and mechanisms regulating mesolimbic dopamine functioning.

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Jan
2016

The processing of emotional faces is an important prerequisite for adequate social interactions in daily life, and might thus specifically be altered in adolescence, a period marked by significant changes in social emotional processing. Previous research has shown that the cannabinoid receptor CB1R is associated with longer gaze duration and increased brain responses in the striatum to happy faces in adults, yet, for adolescents, it is not clear whether an association between CBR1 and face processing exists. In the present study we investigated genetic effects of the two CB1R polymorphisms, rs1049353 and rs806377, on the processing of emotional faces in healthy adolescents.

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Nov
2015

The aim of the present longitudinal study was the psychometric evaluation of the Substance Use Risk Profile Scale (SURPS).
We analyzed data from N = 2,022 adolescents aged 13 to 15 at baseline assessment and 2 years later (mean interval 2.11 years).

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Oct
2015

Neuroimaging findings have been reported in regions of the brain associated with emotion in both adults and adolescents with depression, but few studies have investigated whether such brain alterations can be detected in adolescents with subthreshold depression, a condition at risk for major depressive disorder. In this study, we searched for differences in brain structure at age 14 years in adolescents with subthreshold depression and their relation to depression at age 16 years.
High-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging was used to assess adolescents with self-reported subthreshold depression (n = 119) and healthy control adolescents (n = 461), all recruited from a community-based sample.

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Dec
1969

The apolipoprotein E (APOE) ɛ4 allele is the best established genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and has been previously associated with alterations in structural gray matter and changes in functional brain activity in healthy middle-aged individuals and older non-demented subjects. In order to determine the neural mechanism by which APOE polymorphisms affect white matter (WM) structure, we investigated the diffusion characteristics of WM tracts in carriers and non-carriers of the APOE ɛ4 and ɛ2 alleles using an unbiased whole brain analysis technique (Tract Based Spatial Statistics) in a healthy young adolescent (14 years) cohort. A large sample of healthy young adolescents (n = 575) were selected from the European neuroimaging-genetics IMAGEN study with available APOE status and accompanying diffusion imaging data.

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Dec
2015

Cannabis use in adolescence may be characterized by differences in the neural basis of affective processing. In this study, we used an fMRI affective face processing task to compare a large group (n=70) of 14-year olds with a history of cannabis use to a group (n=70) of never-using controls matched on numerous characteristics including IQ, SES, alcohol and cigarette use. The task contained short movies displaying angry and neutral faces.

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Oct
2015

Cannabis use during adolescence is known to increase the risk for schizophrenia in men. Sex differences in the dynamics of brain maturation during adolescence may be of particular importance with regard to vulnerability of the male brain to cannabis exposure.
To evaluate whether the association between cannabis use and cortical maturation in adolescents is moderated by a polygenic risk score for schizophrenia.

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Dec
2015

Patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) show persistent fear responses to trauma cues in contexts in which these cues no longer predict danger. This might be related to deficient context and enhanced cue conditioning. To test this hypothesis, we examined context conditioning directly followed by a cue conditioning phase against the background of the previously conditioned context in 12 patients with PTSD, 14 traumatized control subjects without PTSD and 11 matched never-traumatized controls.

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Dec
2015

The authors examined whether alterations in the brain's reward network operate as a mechanism across the spectrum of risk for depression. They then tested whether these alterations are specific to anhedonia as compared with low mood and whether they are predictive of depressive outcomes.
Functional MRI was used to collect blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) responses to anticipation of reward in the monetary incentive task in 1,576 adolescents in a community-based sample.

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Jun
2015

During rest, brain activity is synchronized between different regions widely distributed throughout the brain, forming functional networks. However, the molecular mechanisms supporting functional connectivity remain undefined. We show that functional brain networks defined with resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging can be recapitulated by using measures of correlated gene expression in a post mortem brain tissue data set.

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Dec
1969

To investigate the role of personality factors and attentional biases towards emotional faces, in establishing concurrent and prospective risk for mental disorder diagnosis in adolescence.
Data were obtained as part of the IMAGEN study, conducted across 8 European sites, with a community sample of 2257 adolescents. At 14 years, participants completed an emotional variant of the dot-probe task, as well two personality measures, namely the Substance Use Risk Profile Scale and the revised NEO Personality Inventory.

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Dec
2015

The main purpose of the present study was to analyse the internal structure and to test the measurement invariance of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), self-reported version, in five European countries. The sample consisted of 3012 adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years (M = 14.20; SD = 0.

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Jun
2015

The genetic component of alcohol use disorder is substantial, but monozygotic twin discordance indicates a role for nonheritable differences that could be mediated by epigenetics. Despite growing evidence associating epigenetics and psychiatric disorders, it is unclear how epigenetics, particularly DNA methylation, relate to brain function and behavior, including drinking behavior.
The authors carried out a genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation of 18 monozygotic twin pairs discordant for alcohol use disorder and validated differentially methylated regions.

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Nov
2015

The Research Domain Criteria Project suggests to base the classification of mental disorders on dimensions of observable behavior and neurobiological measures of these functions rather than on symptom-based descriptive categorical diagnoses. We suggest a mechanistic approach that focuses on the role of learning as a core mechanism that can be studied in animals and humans. We review human studies on neurobiological, psychophysiological, and behavioral correlates of Pavlovian associative learning and delineate commonalities and differences across disorders.

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Dec
1969

Transient global amnesia (TGA) is a disorder characterized by a sudden attack of severe anterograde memory disturbance that is frequently preceded by emotional or physical stress and resolves within 24 h. By using MRI following the acute episode in TGA patients, small lesions in the hippocampus have been observed. Hence, it has been hypothesized that the disorder is caused by a stress-related transient inhibition of memory formation in the hippocampus.

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