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1.  Assessing the Molecular Genetics of the Development of Executive Attention in Children: Focus on Genetic Pathways Related to the Anterior Cingulate Cortex and Dopamine 
Neuroscience  2009;164(1):241-246.
It is well-known that children show gradual and protracted improvement in an array of behaviors involved in the conscious control of thought and emotion. Non-invasive neuroimaging in developing populations has revealed many neural correlates of behavior, particularly in the developing cingulate cortex and fronto-striatal circuits. These brain regions, themselves, undergo protracted molecular and cellular change in the first two decades of human development and, as such, are ideal regions of interest for cognitive- and imaging-genetic studies that seek to link processes at the biochemical and synaptic levels to brain activity and behavior. We review our research to-date that employs both adult and child-friendly versions of the Attention Network Task (ANT) in an effort to begin to describe the role of specific genes in the assembly of a functional attention system. Presently, we constrain our predictions for genetic association studies by focusing on the role of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and of dopamine in the development of executive attention.
PMCID: PMC2792745  PMID: 19344637
2.  Provisional hypotheses for the molecular genetics of cognitive development: Imaging genetic pathways in the anterior cingulate cortex 
Biological psychology  2007;79(1):23-29.
Brain imaging genetic research involves a multitude of methods and spans many traditional levels of analysis. Given the vast permutations among several million common genetic variants with thousands of brain tissue voxels and a wide array of cognitive tasks that activate specific brain systems, we are prompted to develop specific hypotheses that synthesize converging evidence and state clear predictions about the anatomical sources, magnitude and direction (increases vs. decreases) of allele- and task-specific brain activity associations. To begin to develop a framework for shaping our imaging genetic hypotheses, we focus on previous results and the wider imaging genetic literature. Particular emphasis is placed on converging evidence that links system-level and biochemical studies with models of synaptic function. In shaping our own imaging genetic hypotheses on the development of Attention Networks, we review relevant literature on core models of synaptic physiology and development in the anterior cingulate cortex.
PMCID: PMC2570040  PMID: 18261834
3.  Placing Neuroanatomical Models of Executive Function in a Developmental Context Imaging and Imaging–Genetic Strategies 
Children show gradual and protracted improvement in an array of behaviors involved in the conscious control of thought and emotion. Behavioral research has shown that these abilities, collectively referred to as executive functions (EF), can be dissociated into separable processes, such as inhibition and working memory. Furthermore, noninvasive neuroimaging shows that these component processes often rely on separable neural circuits involving areas of the frontal cortex and nuclei of the basal ganglia. As additional noninvasive methodologies become available, it is increasingly possible to continue to dissect and dissociate components of EF and also test predictions made by a number of theoretical neuroanatomical models. One method of late is genetics, which is noninvasive and readily used in concert with neuroimaging. The biological data obtained with neuroimaging and genetics is particularly able to inform neuroanatomical models that link specific brain systems with higher more abstract process models derived from purely behavioral work. As much progress in this area continues to occur, we seek to evaluate the age dependency and manner in which certain aspects of EF and certain anatomical circuits show changes and interactions as children develop. Some examples are taken from research on children with the developmental disability attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A review of selected developmental research shows that current cognitive and neuroanatomical models of EF offer a great many system- and synaptic-level hypotheses that can be tested using imaging and imaging genetics in longitudinal and cross-sectional study designs. Here, we focus on age-related changes in inhibition and working memory.
PMCID: PMC2669085  PMID: 18591485
imaging-genetic strategies; executive function; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Results 1-3 (3)