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1.  Mood Disorders in Mothers of Children on the Autism Spectrum Are Associated with Higher Functioning Autism 
Autism Research and Treatment  2012;2012:435646.
Mood disorders occur more frequently in family members of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) than in the general population. There may be associations between maternal mood disorder history patterns and specific ASD phenotypes. We therefore examined the relationship between maternal mood disorders and child autism spectrum disorders in 998 mother-child dyads enrolled in a national online autism registry and database. Mothers of children with ASD completed online questionnaires addressing their child's ASD as well as their own mood disorder history. In multivariate logistic regression models of ASD diagnoses, the odds of an Asperger disorder versus autistic disorder diagnosis were higher among those children whose mothers had a lifetime history of bipolar disorder (OR 2.11, CI 1.20, 3.69) or depression (OR 1.62, CI 1.19, 2.19). Further, maternal mood disorder onset before first pregnancy was associated with higher odds (OR 2.35, CI 1.48, 3.73) of an Asperger versus autism diagnosis among this sample of children with ASD. These data suggest that differences in maternal mood disorder history may be associated with ASD phenotype in offspring.
doi:10.1155/2012/435646
PMCID: PMC3426171  PMID: 22934172
2.  Enhanced Right Amygdala Activity in Adolescents during Encoding of Positively-Valenced Pictures 
While studies among adults implicate the amygdala and interconnecting brain regions in encoding emotional stimuli, few studies have examined whether developmental changes occur within this emotional-memory network during adolescence. The present study examined whether adolescents and adults differentially engaged the amygdala and hippocampus during successful encoding of emotional pictures, with either positive or negative valence. Eighteen adults and twelve adolescents underwent event-related fMRI while encoding emotional pictures. Approximately 30 minutes later, outside the scanner, subjects were asked to recall the pictures seen during the scan. Age group differences in brain activity in the amygdala and hippocampus during encoding of the pictures that were later successfully and unsuccessfully recalled were separately compared for the positive and negative pictures. Adolescents, relative to adults, demonstrated enhanced activity in the right amygdala during encoding of positive pictures that were later recalled compared to not recalled. There were no age group differences in amygdala or hippocampal activity during successful encoding of negative pictures. The findings of preferential activity within the adolescent right amygdala during successful encoding of positive pictures may have implications for the increased reward and novelty seeking behavior, as well as elevated rates of psychopathology, observed during this distinct developmental period.
doi:10.1016/j.dcn.2010.08.004
PMCID: PMC2993431  PMID: 21127721
adolescents; adults; encoding; positive stimuli; amygdala; hippocampus
3.  Severity of Hypoperfusion in Distinct Brain Regions Predicts Severity of Hemispatial Neglect in Different Reference Frames 
Background and Purpose
Hemispatial neglect is among the most common and disabling consequences of right hemisphere stroke. A variety of variables have been associated with the presence or severity of neglect, but have not evaluated the independent effects of location, severity, and volume of ischemia. Few have determined areas involved in different types of neglect. We identified the contributions of these variables to severity of viewer-centered versus stimulus-centered neglect in acute ischemic right hemisphere stroke.
Methods
We studied 137 patients within 24 hours of stroke onset with MR diffusionand perfusion-weighted imaging and a test of hemispatial neglect that distinguishes between viewer-centered and stimulus-centered neglect. Using multivariable linear regression, we identified the independent contributions of severity of ischemia in specific locations, volume of ischemia, and age in accounting for severity of each neglect type.
Results
Severity of hypoperfusion in angular gyrus was the only variable that significantly and independently contributed to severity of viewer-centered neglect. Volume of dysfunctional tissue and hypoperfusion in posterior frontal cortex also accounted for some variability in severity of viewer-centered neglect. Severity of hypoperfusion of superior temporal cortex was the only variable that independently and significantly contributed to severity of stimulus-centered neglect.
Conclusions/Relevance
Location, severity, and volume of ischemia together determine the type and severity of neglect after right hemisphere stroke. Results also show that perfusion-weighted MRI can be used as a semi-quantitative measure of tissue dysfunction in acute stroke and can account for substantial proportion of the variability in functional deficits in the acute stage.
doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.109.561969
PMCID: PMC2790042  PMID: 19762699

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