Fundamental Research Division
The DRF at the CEA assemble approximately 6,000 scientists since January 2016.
Découvertes et avancées | Scientific result | Brain | Diseases
Using data from the Healthy Brain Network cohort, a team from the CEA-Joliot (NeuroSpin) has discovered a correlation between certain symptoms, which may be precursors of mood disorders in adulthood, and structural changes in the developing brain in more than 650 young people.
During adolescence, many psychiatric disorder diagnoses (mood disorders, schizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorders) are made. However, the reasons for this vulnerability in adolescents remain poorly understood.
Recent brain imaging studies have shown that the brain continues to mature and develop past childhood and into the 20s and 30s. These changes – which are greater in some brain regions than in others, particularly those that house higher cognitive functions such as language or consciousness – are directly related to mental health development.
To learn more, Joliot researchers used data from an open-access developmental cohort (Healthy Brain Network, HBN) to analyze associations between cortical surface markers and irritability and anxiety scores as measured by parents and self-reports – irritability and anxiety being associated with an elevated risk of mood disorders in adulthood.
They isolated a sample of 718 subjects with good quality MRI data acquired as part of the HBN. Then, for each subject they measured the cortical thickness and surface area as well as the "local gyrification index", characterizing the formation of the characteristic folds of the cerebral cortex.
Next, these three brain maturation markers were compared with parental reports of irritability and anxiety in 658 youths with a mean age of 11.6 years.
These results are consistent with current models of emotion regulation network maturation. They thus reveal anatomical changes in dysfunctional regions in children at risk for mood disorders.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.