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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2016 Dec;55(12):1027-1037.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2016.08.008. Epub 2016 Sep 20.

Comparing Brain Morphometry Across Multiple Childhood Psychiatric Disorders.

Author information

1
Emotion and Development Branch, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD. Electronic address: andrea.gold@mail.nih.gov.
2
Emotion and Development Branch, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD.
3
Emotion and Development Branch, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD; Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.
4
Vantiv, Inc., Lowell, MA.
5
Ghent University, Belgium.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

In both children and adults, psychiatric illness is associated with structural brain alterations, particularly in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). However, most studies compare gray matter volume (GMV) in healthy volunteers (HVs) to one psychiatric group. We compared GMV among youth with anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder (BD), disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and HVs.

METHOD:

3-Tesla T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging scans were acquired in 184 youths (39 anxious, 20 BD, 52 DMDD, 20 ADHD, and 53 HV). Voxel-based morphometry analyses were conducted. One-way analysis of variance tested GMV differences with whole-brain familywise error (p < .05) correction; secondary, exploratory whole-brain analyses used a threshold of p < .001, ≥200 voxels. Given recent frameworks advocating dimensional approaches in psychopathology research, we also tested GMV associations with continuous anxiety, irritability, and inattention symptoms.

RESULTS:

Specificity emerged in the left dorsolateral PFC (dlPFC), which differed among youth with BD, anxiety, and HVs; GMV was increased in youth with anxiety, but decreased in BD, relative to HVs. Secondary analyses revealed BD-specific GMV decreases in the right lateral PFC, right dlPFC, and dorsomedial PFC, and also anxiety-specific GMV increases in the left dlPFC, right ventrolateral PFC, frontal pole, and right parahippocampal gyrus/lingual gyrus. Both BD and DMDD showed decreased GMV relative to HVs in the right dlPFC/superior frontal gyrus. GMV was not associated with dimensional measures of anxiety, irritability, or ADHD symptoms.

CONCLUSION:

Both disorder-specific and shared GMV differences manifest in pediatric psychopathology. Some differences were specific to anxiety disorders, others specific to BD, and others shared between BD and DMDD. Further developmental research might map commonalities and differences of structure and function in diverse pediatric psychopathologies.

KEYWORDS:

anxiety disorders; bipolar disorder; disruptive mood dysregulation disorder; prefrontal cortex; voxel-based morphometry

PMID:
27871637
DOI:
10.1016/j.jaac.2016.08.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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