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News Article | April 21, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

A collaborative study between researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) has found evidence implying that alcoholism may have different effects on the reward system in the brains of women than it does in men. In their paper published in Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging, the team reports that reward system structures are larger in alcoholic women than in nonalcoholic women, and their report confirmed earlier studies that found the same structures were smaller in alcoholic men than in nonalcoholic men. The study, which enrolled currently abstinent individuals with a history of long-term alcohol use disorder, also found a negative association between the length of sobriety and the size of the fluid-filled ventricles in the center of the brain, suggesting possible recovery of the overall brain from the effects of alcoholism "Until now, little has been known about the volume of the reward regions in alcoholic women, since all previous studies have been done in men," says co-author Gordon Harris, of the 3-D Imaging Service and the Center for Morphometric Analysis in the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH. "Our findings suggest that it might be helpful to consider gender-specific approaches to treatment for alcoholism." The brain's reward system is a group of structures - including the amygdala and the hippocampus - that reinforce beneficial experiences, are involved in memory and complex decision-making and have been implicated in the development of substance use disorders. Since there are known difference between the psychological and behavioral profiles of women and men with alcoholism - women tend toward having higher levels of anxiety, while men are more likely to exhibit anti-social characteristics - the current study was designed to investigate whether the alcoholism-associated reward system differences previously observed in men would also be seen in women. The study enrolled 60 participants with histories of long-term alcoholism - 30 women and 30 men - and an equivalent group of nonalcoholic volunteers. The alcoholic participants had been abstinent for time periods ranging from four weeks to 38 years. Participants completed detailed medical histories and neuropsychological assessments with the BUSM researchers before having MRI brain scans at the Martinos Center that were analyzed both in terms of the total brain and of the structures in the reward network. Replicating the results of earlier studies, the average sizes of reward region structures of alcoholic men were 4.1 percent smaller than those of nonalcoholic men, but the average sizes of the same structures were 4.4 percent larger in alcoholic than in nonalcoholic women. While factors such as the duration and intensity of heavy drinking appeared to reinforce these gender-specific effects, the research team notes that the current study cannot determine whether these differences preceded or resulted from the development of alcoholism. Among participants with alcoholism - both women and men - each year of sobriety was associated with a 1.8 percent decrease in the size of the ventricles, suggesting recovery from the damaging effects of alcoholism on the brain. "We're planning to take a more detailed look at the impact of factors such as the severity of drinking and the length of sobriety on specific brain structure, and hope to investigate whether the imaging differences seen in this and previous studies are associated with gender-based differences in motivational and emotional functions," says co-author Marlene Oscar-Berman, a professor of psychiatry, neurology, and anatomy & neurobiology at BUSM.


A collaborative study between researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) has found evidence implying that alcoholism may have different effects on the reward system in the brains of women than it does in men. In their paper published in Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging, the team reports that reward system structures are larger in alcoholic women than in nonalcoholic women, and their report confirmed earlier studies that found the same structures were smaller in alcoholic men than in nonalcoholic men. The study, which enrolled currently abstinent individuals with a history of long-term alcohol use disorder, also found a negative association between the length of sobriety and the size of the fluid-filled ventricles in the center of the brain, suggesting possible recovery of the overall brain from the effects of alcoholism "Until now, little has been known about the volume of the reward regions in alcoholic women, since all previous studies have been done in men," says co-author Gordon Harris, PhD, of the 3D Imaging Service and the Center for Morphometric Analysis in the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH. "Our findings suggest that it might be helpful to consider gender-specific approaches to treatment for alcoholism." The brain's reward system is a group of structures - including the amygdala and the hippocampus - that reinforce beneficial experiences, are involved in memory and complex decision-making and have been implicated in the development of substance use disorders. Since there are known difference between the psychological and behavioral profiles of women and men with alcoholism - women tend toward having higher levels of anxiety, while men are more likely to exhibit anti-social characteristics - the current study was designed to investigate whether the alcoholism-associated reward system differences previously observed in men would also be seen in women. The study enrolled 60 participants with histories of long-term alcoholism - 30 women and 30 men - and an equivalent group of nonalcoholic volunteers. The alcoholic participants had been abstinent for time periods ranging from four weeks to 38 years. Participants completed detailed medical histories and neuropsychological assessments with the BUSM researchers before having MRI brain scans at the Martinos Center that were analyzed both in terms of the total brain and of the structures in the reward network. Replicating the results of earlier studies, the average sizes of reward region structures of alcoholic men were 4.1 percent smaller than those of nonalcoholic men, but the average sizes of the same structures were 4.4 percent larger in alcoholic than in nonalcoholic women. While factors such as the duration and intensity of heavy drinking appeared to reinforce these gender-specific effects, the research team notes that the current study cannot determine whether these differences preceded or resulted from the development of alcoholism. Among participants with alcoholism - both women and men - each year of sobriety was associated with a 1.8 percent decrease in the size of the ventricles, suggesting recovery from the damaging effects of alcoholism on the brain. "We're planning to take a more detailed look at the impact of factors such as the severity of drinking and the length of sobriety on specific brain structure, and hope to investigate whether the imaging differences seen in this and previous studies are associated with gender-based differences in motivational and emotional functions," says co-author Marlene Oscar-Berman, PhD, a professor of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Anatomy & Neurobiology at BUSM. Harris is a professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School. Kayle Sawyer of Oscar-Berman's BUSM team is lead and corresponding author of the Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging paper. Additional co-authors are Olivier Barthelemy, BUSM, and George Papadimitriou and Nikos Makris, MD, Martinos Center. Support for the study includes National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grants R01-AA07112 and K05-AA00219, Department of Veterans Affairs grant I01-CX000326 , National Institute on Aging/National Institute of Mental Health grant R01-AG042512, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health grant R21-AT008865; and National Center for Research Resources grant P41RR14075. Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH Research Institute conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the nation, with an annual research budget of more than $800 million and major research centers in HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, reproductive biology, systems biology, photomedicine and transplantation biology. The MGH topped the 2015 Nature Index list of health care organizations publishing in leading scientific journals and earned the prestigious 2015 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service. In August 2016 the MGH was once again named to the Honor Roll in the U.S. News & World Report list of "America's Best Hospitals."


Huang M.-X.,Research and Psychiatry Services | Huang M.-X.,University of California at San Diego | Nichols S.,University of California at San Diego | Baker D.G.,Research and Psychiatry Services | And 25 more authors.
NeuroImage: Clinical | Year: 2014

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of sustained impairment in military and civilian populations. However, mild TBI (mTBI) can be difficult to detect using conventional MRI or CT. Injured brain tissues in mTBI patients generate abnormal slow-waves (1-4 Hz) that can be measured and localized by resting-state magnetoencephalography (MEG). In this study, we develop a voxel-based whole-brain MEG slow-wave imaging approach for detecting abnormality in patients with mTBI on a single-subject basis. A normative database of resting-state MEG source magnitude images (1-4 Hz) from 79 healthy control subjects was established for all brain voxels. The high-resolution MEG source magnitude images were obtained by our recent Fast-VESTAL method. In 84 mTBI patients with persistent post-concussive symptoms (36 from blasts, and 48 from non-blast causes), our method detected abnormalities at the positive detection rates of 84.5%, 86.1%, and 83.3% for the combined (blast-induced plus with non-blast causes), blast, and non-blast mTBI groups, respectively. We found that prefrontal, posterior parietal, inferior temporal, hippocampus, and cerebella areas were particularly vulnerable to head trauma. The result also showed that MEG slow-wave generation in prefrontal areas positively correlated with personality change, trouble concentrating, affective lability, and depression symptoms. Discussion is provided regarding the neuronal mechanisms of MEG slow-wave generation due to deafferentation caused by axonal injury and/or blockages/limitations of cholinergic transmission in TBI. This study provides an effective way for using MEG slow-wave source imaging to localize affected areas and supports MEG as a tool for assisting the diagnosis of mTBI.


Edgar J.C.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Hunter M.A.,University of New Mexico | Hunter M.A.,Psychiatry Research | Huang M.,San Diego VA Healthcare System | And 11 more authors.
Schizophrenia Research | Year: 2012

Background: Although gray matter (GM) abnormalities are frequently observed in individuals with schizophrenia (SCZ), the functional consequences of these structural abnormalities are not yet understood. The present study sought to better understand GM abnormalities in SCZ by examining associations between GM and two putative functional SCZ biomarkers: weak 100. ms (M100) auditory responses and impairment on tests of attention. Methods: Data were available from 103 subjects (healthy controls. =. 52, SCZ. =. 51). GM cortical thickness measures were obtained for superior temporal gyrus (STG) and prefrontal cortex (PFC). Magnetoencephalography (MEG) provided measures of left and right STG M100 source strength. Subjects were administered the Trail Making Test A and the Connors' Continuous Performance Test to assess attention. Results: A strong trend indicated less GM cortical thickness in SCZ than controls in both regions and in both hemispheres (. p=. 0.06). Individuals with SCZ had weaker M100 responses than controls bilaterally, and individuals with SCZ performed more poorly than controls on tests of attention. Across groups, left STG GM was positively associated with left M00 source strength. In SCZ only, less left and right STG and PFC GM predicted poorer performance on tests of attention. After removing variance in attention associated with age, associations between GM and attention remained significant only in left and right STG. Conclusions: Reduced GM cortical thickness may serve as a common substrate for multiple functional abnormalities in SCZ, with structural-functional abnormalities in STG GM especially prominent. As suggested by others, functional abnormalities in SCZ may be a consequence of elimination of the neuropil (dendritic arbors and associated synaptic infrastructure) between neuron bodies. © 2012 Elsevier B.V..


News Article | January 25, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

The practice of mindfulness meditation has become increasingly popular in treating anxiety, and a new clinical trial backed by the National Institutes of Health offers new evidence that it can indeed offer benefits to anxiety disorder patients. Working with 89 patients of anxiety disorders, researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center found that those who took the meditation classes sharply reduced their stress hormone and inflammatory responses to stressful situations, compared to those who took a non-meditation course who had worsened responses. "[These] findings strengthen the case that it can improve resilience to stress," said lead author and associate professor Dr. Elizabeth A. Hoge in a statement, touting mindfulness meditation training as a relatively inexpensive, low-stigma therapy. Hoge pointed to “some real skepticism” in the medical community about the meditation practice, so her team sought to find out if it merely made people feel better or are there real and measurable changes in stress markers in the body. The team randomly divided the patients into two: one group that took eight weeks of mindfulness training to reduce stress, and a control group that took stress management education for the same time period. The two courses had similar format, but only the first one promoted meditative methods, and the participants had “little or no expectancy bias” since they weren’t told which treatment was of interest to the researchers. The patient then underwent the Trier Social Stress Test, where the team tracked blood-based stress response markers, specifically levels of the stress hormone ACTH and inflammatory proteins IL-6 and TNF-α. The meditation patients demonstrated “big drops” in stress markers, while those from the other group showed modest increases that suggested a worsening of their anxiety due to having to endure tests for the second time. The first group also fared better in self-reported stress measures after the course. The team, discussing their findings in the journal Psychiatry Research, hopes to expand the research to other psychiatric disorders. Other studies have discovered the potential benefits of meditation. Meditation as well as simply listening to music programs could benefit older adults suffering from preclinical memory loss. The Jan. 18 research, conducted on adults experiencing subjective cognitive decline (a preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s), results in marked and important improvements in subjective memory function in the participants. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) neuroscientists also found that a three-month yoga and meditation course can help reduce the emotional and cognitive issues preceding Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Mind-based therapies, mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in particular, may be more effective in easing chronic back pain than usual treatments, according to researchers writing in JAMA. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) integrates various elements of mindfulness, yoga, and meditation, while CBT is a psychotherapeutic method that encourages modifying certain thoughts and behaviors. Anxiety disorder, the area of interest of the new study, is marked by chronic and excess worrying and afflicts almost 7 million in the United States at any given year. Disorders from the anxiety spectrum have also been found to be commonly linked to skin diseases. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


Chen Y.-H.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Stone-Howell B.,Psychiatry Research | Stone-Howell B.,University of New Mexico | Edgar J.C.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | And 11 more authors.
British Journal of Psychiatry | Year: 2016

Background Increased temporal and frontal slow-wave delta (1-4 Hz) and theta (4-7 Hz) activities are the most consistent resting-state neural abnormalities reported in schizophrenia. The frontal lobe is associated with negative symptoms and cognitive abilities such as attention, with negative symptoms and impaired attention associated with poor functional capacity. Aims To establish whether frontal dysfunction, as indexed by slowing, would be associated with functional impairments. Method Eyes-closed magnetoencephalography data were collected in 41 participants with schizophrenia and 37 healthy controls, and frequency-domain source imaging localised delta and theta activity. Results Elevated delta and theta activity in right frontal and right temporoparietal regions was observed in the schizophrenia v. control group. In schizophrenia, right-frontal delta activity was uniquely associated with negative but not positive symptoms. In the full sample, increased right-frontal delta activity predicted poorer attention and functional capacity. Conclusions Our findings suggest that treatment-associated decreases in slow-wave activity could be accompanied by improved functional outcome and thus better prognosis. © The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2016.


Arnold J.G.,University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio | Miller A.L.,University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio | Canive J.M.,Psychiatry Research | Canive J.M.,University of New Mexico | And 3 more authors.
Psychiatric Services | Year: 2013

Objective: Medication outcome literature in schizophrenia across racialethnic groups is sparse, with inconsistent findings. The Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) study provided an opportunity for exploratory analyses of racial-ethnic outcomes. The study objective was to examine race-ethnicity outcomes for CATIE's main outcome (study discontinuation) and secondary outcomes. Methods: CATIE participants included whites (non-Hispanic) (N5722), African Americans (N5506), and Hispanics (N5170). Survival analyses and mixed-effects regression modeling were conducted, with adjustment for baseline sociodemographic differences and baseline scores of the secondary outcomes. Results: Racial-ethnic groups had unique patterns of outcomes. Hispanics were much more likely to discontinue for lack of efficacy from perphenazine (64%versus 42%non-Hispanic whites and 24%African Americans) and ziprasidone (71%versus 40%non-Hispanic whites and 24%African Americans); Hispanics' quality of life also declined on these medications. Non-Hispanic whites were more likely to discontinue for lack of efficacy in general (averaging olanzapine, quetiapine, and risperidone discontinuation rates). African Americans were less likely to continue after the first phase (32%continuing versus 40%for non-Hispanic whites and 41%Hispanics). Discontinuations were driven by research burden, personal issues, and unspecified loss to follow-up. Non-Hispanic whites had higher depression scores during the follow-up period. African Americans had fewer side effects. Conclusions: CATIE results did not show disparities favoring non- Hispanic whites. CATIE may have provided state-of-the-art treatment and thus reduced disparate treatments observed in community clinics. African Americans discontinued even after consideration of socioeconomic differences. Why perphenazine and ziprasidone may be less effective with Hispanics should be explored.


Edgar J.C.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Chen Y.-H.,University of New Mexico | Chen Y.-H.,Psychiatry Research | Lanza M.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | And 14 more authors.
NeuroImage: Clinical | Year: 2014

Introduction Although brain rhythms depend on brain structure (e.g., gray and white matter), to our knowledge associations between brain oscillations and structure have not been investigated in healthy controls (HC) or in individuals with schizophrenia (SZ). Observing function-structure relationships, for example establishing an association between brain oscillations (defined in terms of amplitude or phase) and cortical gray matter, might inform models on the origins of psychosis. Given evidence of functional and structural abnormalities in primary/secondary auditory regions in SZ, the present study examined how superior temporal gyrus (STG) structure relates to auditory STG low-frequency and 40 Hz steady-state activity. Given changes in brain activity as a function of age, age-related associations in STG oscillatory activity were also examined. Methods Thirty-nine individuals with SZ and 29 HC were recruited. 40 Hz amplitude-modulated tones of 1 s duration were presented. MEG and T1-weighted sMRI data were obtained. Using the sources localizing 40 Hz evoked steady-state activity (300 to 950 ms), left and right STG total power and inter-trial coherence were computed. Time-frequency group differences and associations with STG structure and age were also examined. Results Decreased total power and inter-trial coherence in SZ were observed in the left STG for initial post-stimulus low-frequency activity (~ 50 to 200 ms, ~ 4 to 16 Hz) as well as 40 Hz steady-state activity (~ 400 to 1000 ms). Left STG 40 Hz total power and inter-trial coherence were positively associated with left STG cortical thickness in HC, not in SZ. Left STG post-stimulus low-frequency and 40 Hz total power were positively associated with age, again only in controls. Discussion Left STG low-frequency and steady-state gamma abnormalities distinguish SZ and HC. Disease-associated damage to STG gray matter in schizophrenia may disrupt the age-related left STG gamma-band function-structure relationships observed in controls. © 2013 The Authors.


Foti D.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Olvet D.M.,Psychiatry Research | Olvet D.M.,Feinstein Institute for Medical Research | Klein D.N.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Hajcak G.,State University of New York at Stony Brook
Depression and Anxiety | Year: 2010

Background: There is growing support for the emotion context insensitivity hypothesis, which states that major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with a deficit in emotional reactivity. Under this hypothesis, depressed individuals exhibit reduced behavioral and physiological responses to both appetitive and aversive stimuli. We sought to examine this possibility using the late positive potential, a neural response sensitive to aversive and threatening stimuli. Methods: Forty-seven individuals participated in the study, 22 of whom met criteria for current MDD and 25 with no history of depression or other Axis I disorders. All individuals passively viewed emotional faces while event-related potentials were recorded. Results: The vertex positive potential was significantly increased in response to fearful and angry faces across the entire sample. The late positive potential was also increased in response to threatening faces, but only among never-depressed individuals. In the MDD group, this electrocortical response to emotional faces was absent. Conclusions: This study provides neural evidence in support of the view that MDD is associated with blunted emotional reactivity to negative stimuli, which until now has been examined primarily with measures of behavior, self-report, and peripheral physiology. These results are also consistent with two prior studies showing reduced amygdala activation in response to fearful faces among depressed individuals. It remains to be determined whether abnormal activity in response to emotional stimuli is associated with trait risk for MDD or results from MDD. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


Chen Y.-H.,University of New Mexico | Chen Y.-H.,Psychiatry Research | Edgar J.C.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Huang M.,University of California at San Diego | And 12 more authors.
NeuroImage: Clinical | Year: 2013

Background Although magnetoencephalography (MEG) studies show superior temporal gyrus (STG) auditory processing abnormalities in schizophrenia at 50 and 100 ms, EEG and corticography studies suggest involvement of additional brain areas (e.g., frontal areas) during this interval. Study goals were to identify 30 to 130 ms auditory encoding processes in schizophrenia (SZ) and healthy controls (HC) and group differences throughout the cortex. Methods The standard paired-click task was administered to 19 SZ and 21 HC subjects during MEG recording. Vector-based Spatial-temporal Analysis using L1-minimum-norm (VESTAL) provided 4D maps of activity from 30 to 130 ms. Within-group t-tests compared post-stimulus 50 ms and 100 ms activity to baseline. Between-group t-tests examined 50 and 100 ms group differences. Results Bilateral 50 and 100 ms STG activity was observed in both groups. HC had stronger bilateral 50 and 100 ms STG activity than SZ. In addition to the STG group difference, non-STG activity was also observed in both groups. For example, whereas HC had stronger left and right inferior frontal gyrus activity than SZ, SZ had stronger right superior frontal gyrus and left supramarginal gyrus activity than HC. Conclusions Less STG activity was observed in SZ than HC, indicating encoding problems in SZ. Yet auditory encoding abnormalities are not specific to STG, as group differences were observed in frontal and SMG areas. Thus, present findings indicate that individuals with SZ show abnormalities in multiple nodes of a concurrently activated auditory network. © 2013 The Authors.

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