Default mode network maturation and psychopathology in children and adolescents

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Sato, Joao Ricardo [UNIFESP]
Salum, Giovanni Abrahao
Gadelha, Ary| [UNIFESP]
Vieira, Gilson
Manfro, Gisele Gus
Zugman, Andre [UNIFESP]
Picon, Felipe Almeida
Pan, Pedro Mario [UNIFESP]
Hoexter, Marcelo Queiroz [UNIFESP]
Anes, Mauricio
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BackgroundThe human default mode (DMN) is involved in a wide array of mental disorders. Current knowledge suggests that mental health disorders may reflect deviant trajectories of brain maturation. MethodWe studied 654 children using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans under a resting-state protocol. A machine-learning method was used to obtain age predictions of children based on the average coefficient of fractional amplitude of low frequency fluctuations (fALFFs) of the DMN, a measure of spontaneous local activity. The chronological ages of the children and fALFF measures from regions of this network, the response and predictor variables were considered respectively in a Gaussian Process Regression. Subsequently, we computed a network maturation status index for each subject (actual age minus predicted). We then evaluated the association between this maturation index and psychopathology scores on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). ResultsOur hypothesis was that the maturation status of the DMN would be negatively associated with psychopathology. Consistent with previous studies, fALFF significantly predicted the age of participants (p<.001). Furthermore, as expected, we found an association between the DMN maturation status (precocious vs. delayed) and general psychopathology scores (p=.011). ConclusionsOur findings suggest that child psychopathology seems to be associated with delayed maturation of the DMN. This delay in the neurodevelopmental trajectory may offer interesting insights into the pathophysiology of mental health disorders.
Journal Of Child Psychology And Psychiatry. Hoboken, v. 57, n. 1, p. 55-64, 2016.