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1.  Grey matter volume correlates with virtual water maze task performance in boys with androgen excess 
Neuroscience  2011;197:225-232.
Major questions remain about the specific role of testosterone in human spatial navigation. We tested 10 boys (mean age 11.65 years) with an extremely rare disorder of androgen excess (Familial Male Precocious Puberty, FMPP) and 40 healthy boys (mean age 12.81 years) on a virtual version of the Morris Water Maze task. In addition, anatomical magnetic resonance images were collected for all patients and a subsample of the controls (n=21) after task completion. Behaviourally, no significant differences were found between both groups. However, in the MRI analyses, grey matter volume (GMV) was correlated with performance using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). Group differences in correlations of performance with GMV were apparent in medial regions of the prefrontal cortex as well as the middle occipital gyrus and the cuneus. By comparison, similar correlations for both groups were found in the inferior parietal lobule. These data provide novel insight into the relation between testosterone and brain development and suggest that morphological differences in a spatial navigation network covary with performance in spatial ability.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.09.022
PMCID: PMC3210397  PMID: 21964472
testosterone; spatial navigation; development; familial male precocious puberty; VBM; virtual water maze
2.  Iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Final Assessment 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2012;18(6):901-907.
The book on iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans is almost closed. This form of CJD transmission via medical misadventures was first detected in 1974. Today, only occasional CJD cases with exceptionally long incubation periods still appear. The main sources of the largest outbreaks were tissues from human cadavers with unsuspected CJD that were used for dura mater grafts and growth hormone extracts. A few additional cases resulted from neurosurgical instrument contamination, corneal grafts, gonadotrophic hormone, and secondary infections from blood transfusions. Although the final solution to the problem of iatrogenic CJD is still not available (a laboratory test to identify potential donors who harbor the infectious agent), certain other measures have worked well: applying special sterilization of penetrating surgical instruments, reducing the infectious potential of donor blood and tissue, and excluding donors known to have higher than normal risk for CJD.
doi:10.3201/eid1806.120116
PMCID: PMC3358170  PMID: 22607808
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; dura mater; human growth hormone; iatrogenic disease; PRNP codon 129; variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; prions and related diseases
3.  Early hyperandrogenism affects the development of hippocampal function: preliminary evidence from a fMRI study of boys with Familial Male Precocious Puberty 
The way in which sex hormones influence cognitive and affective brain development is poorly understood. Despite increasing knowledge in the area of pediatric mood disorders, little is known about the influence of sex hormones on emotion regulation. Animal studies and preliminary human studies suggest a strong impact of testosterone on limbic structures such as the hippocampus and amygdala. We used fMRI to examine emotional processing in Familial Male-Precocious Puberty (FMPP), an extremely rare gonadotropin-independent form of precocious puberty characterized by early excess testosterone secretion (Leschek 2004). We compared this group (N = 7, mean age = 13 ± 3.3 years) to healthy age and sex-matched controls (N = 14, mean age = 13 ± 2.3 years). Participants were presented with emotional and neutral face stimuli and were required to either judge the hostility of the presented face, their subjective level of anxiety or the width of the nose of the presented faces (non-emotional condition). In a fourth, passive viewing condition, no responses were required. Boys with FMPP responded faster to fearful faces during perception of threat compared to unaffected controls. Concurrently, fMRI data revealed significant differences in hippocampus activation in response to fearful faces relative to baseline while controls showed no differences. In contrast, no significant activation of the amygdala was found. This data is consistent with previous studies of the effects of sex hormones on brain function and support the role of testosterone on emotional development.
doi:10.1089/cap.2008.031
PMCID: PMC2792914  PMID: 19232022
FMPP; testotoxicosis; adolescence; hippocampus; fMRI; emotion
4.  Early Hyperandrogenism Affects the Development of Hippocampal Function: Preliminary Evidence from a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of Boys with Familial Male Precocious Puberty 
Abstract
The way in which sex hormones influence cognitive and affective brain development is poorly understood. Despite increasing knowledge in the area of pediatric mood disorders, little is known about the influence of sex hormones on the regulation of emotion. Animal studies and preliminary human studies suggest a strong impact of testosterone on limbic structures such as the hippocampus and amygdala. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine emotional processing in familial male-precocious puberty (FMPP), an extremely rare gonadotropin-independent form of precocious puberty characterized by early excess testosterone secretion. We compared this group (n = 7, mean age = 13 ± 3.3 years) to healthy age and sex-matched controls (n = 14, mean age = 13 ± 2.3 years). Participants were presented with emotional and neutral face stimuli and were required either to judge the hostility of the presented face, their subjective level of anxiety, or the width of the nose of the presented faces (nonemotional condition). In a fourth, passive viewing condition, no responses were required. Boys with FMPP responded faster to fearful faces during perception of threat compared to unaffected controls. Concurrently, fMRI data revealed significant differences in hippocampus activation in response to fearful faces relative to baseline whereas controls showed no differences. In contrast, no significant activation of the amygdala was found. These data are consistent with previous studies of the effects of sex hormones on brain function and support the role of testosterone on emotional development.
doi:10.1089/cap.2008.031
PMCID: PMC2792914  PMID: 19232022

Results 1-4 (4)