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Eicher J.D.,Yale University | Powers N.R.,Yale University | Miller L.L.,University of Bristol | Akshoomoff N.,Center for Human Development | And 32 more authors.
Genes, Brain and Behavior | Year: 2013

Written and verbal languages are neurobehavioral traits vital to the development of communication skills. Unfortunately, disorders involving these traits-specifically reading disability (RD) and language impairment (LI)-are common and prevent affected individuals from developing adequate communication skills, leaving them at risk for adverse academic, socioeconomic and psychiatric outcomes. Both RD and LI are complex traits that frequently co-occur, leading us to hypothesize that these disorders share genetic etiologies. To test this, we performed a genome-wide association study on individuals affected with both RD and LI in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. The strongest associations were seen with markers in ZNF385D (OR=1.81, P=5.45×10-7) and COL4A2 (OR=1.71, P=7.59×10-7). Markers within NDST4 showed the strongest associations with LI individually (OR=1.827, P=1.40×10-7). We replicated association of ZNF385D using receptive vocabulary measures in the Pediatric Imaging Neurocognitive Genetics study (P=0.00245). We then used diffusion tensor imaging fiber tract volume data on 16 fiber tracts to examine the implications of replicated markers. ZNF385D was a predictor of overall fiber tract volumes in both hemispheres, as well as global brain volume. Here, we present evidence for ZNF385D as a candidate gene for RD and LI. The implication of transcription factor ZNF385D in RD and LI underscores the importance of transcriptional regulation in the development of higher order neurocognitive traits. Further study is necessary to discern target genes of ZNF385D and how it functions within neural development of fluent language. © 2013 The Authors. Genes, Brain and Behavior published by International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Colby J.B.,University of California at Los Angeles | Colby J.B.,Developmental Cognitive Neuroimaging Laboratory | Smith L.,University of California at Los Angeles | O'Connor M.J.,University of California at Los Angeles | And 4 more authors.
Psychiatry Research - Neuroimaging | Year: 2012

Little is known about the effects of prenatal methamphetamine exposure on white matter microstructure, and the impact of concomitant alcohol exposure. Diffusion tensor imaging and neurocognitive testing were performed on 21 children with prenatal methamphetamine exposure (age 9.8±1.8 years; 17 also exposed to alcohol), 19 children with prenatal alcohol but not methamphetamine exposure (age 10.8±2.3 years) and 27 typically developing children (age 10.3±3.3 years). Whole-brain maps of fractional anisotropy (FA) were evaluated using tract-based spatial statistics. Relative to unexposed controls, children with prenatal methamphetamine exposure demonstrated higher FA mainly in left-sided regions, including the left anterior corona radiata (LCR) and corticospinal tract Post-hoc analyses of these FA differences showed they likely result more from lower radial diffusivity (RD) than higher axial diffusivity (AD). Relative to the methamphetamine-exposed group, children with prenatal alcohol exposure showed lower FA in frontotemporal regions-particularly, the right external capsule. We failed to find any group-performance interaction (on tests of executive functioning and visuomotor integration) in predicting FA; however, FA in the right external capsule was significantly associated with performance on a test of visuomotor integration across groups. This report demonstrates unique diffusion abnormalities in children with prenatal methamphetamine/polydrug exposure that are distinct from those associated with alcohol exposure alone, and illustrates that these abnormalities in brain microstructure are persistent into childhood and adolescence - long after the polydrug exposure in utero. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Bramen J.E.,Developmental Cognitive Neuroimaging Laboratory | Bramen J.E.,University of California at Los Angeles | Hranilovich J.A.,Developmental Cognitive Neuroimaging Laboratory | Dahl R.E.,University of California at Berkeley | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Age-related changes in cortical thickness have been observed during adolescence, including thinning in frontal and parietal cortices, and thickening in the lateral temporal lobes. Studies have shown sex differences in hormone-related brain maturation when boys and girls are age-matched, however, because girls mature 1-2 years earlier than boys, these sex differences could be confounded by pubertal maturation. To address puberty effects directly, this study assessed sex differences in testosterone-related cortical maturation by studying 85 boys and girls in a narrow age range and matched on sexual maturity. We expected that testosterone-by-sex interactions on cortical thickness would be observed in brain regions known from the animal literature to be high in androgen receptors. We found sex differences in associations between circulating testosterone and thickness in left inferior parietal lobule, middle temporal gyrus, calcarine sulcus, and right lingual gyrus, all regions known to be high in androgen receptors. Visual areas increased with testosterone in boys, but decreased in girls. All other regions were more impacted by testosterone levels in girls than boys. The regional pattern of sex-by-testosterone interactions may have implications for understanding sex differences in behavior and adolescent-onset neuropsychiatric disorders. © 2012 Bramen et al.


Gautam P.,Developmental Cognitive Neuroimaging Laboratory | Lebel C.,University of Calgary | Narr K.L.,University of California at Los Angeles | Mattson S.N.,San Diego State University | And 6 more authors.
Human Brain Mapping | Year: 2015

Children with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) may have cognitive, behavioral and brain abnormalities. Here, we compare rates of white matter and subcortical gray matter volume change in PAE and control children, and examine relationships between annual volume change and arithmetic ability, behavior, and executive function. Participants (n=75 PAE/64 control; age: 7.1-15.9 years) each received two structural magnetic resonance scans, ∼2 years apart. Assessments included Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV), the Child Behavior Checklist and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function. Subcortical white and gray volumes were extracted for each hemisphere. Group volume differences were tested using false discovery rate (q<0.05). Analyses examined group-by-age interactions and group-score interactions for correlations between change in volume and raw behavioral scores. Results showed that subjects with PAE had smaller volumes than control subjects across the brain. Significant group-score interactions were found in temporal and parietal regions for WISC arithmetic scores and in frontal and parietal regions for behavioral measures. Poorer cognitive/ behavioral outcomes were associated with larger volume increases in PAE, while control subjects generally showed no significant correlations. In contrast with previous results demonstrating different trajectories of cortical volume change in PAE, our results show similar rates of subcortical volume growth in subjects with PAE and control subjects. We also demonstrate abnormal brain-behavior relationships in subjects with PAE, suggesting different use of brain resources. Our results are encouraging in that, due to the stable volume differences, there may be an extended window of opportunity for intervention in children with PAE. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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