Brain Mechanisms of Attention Orienting Following Frustration: Associations With Irritability and Age in Youths.
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE:Childhood irritability is a common, impairing problem with changing age-related manifestations that predict long-term adverse outcomes. However, more investigation of overall and age-specific neural correlates is needed. Because youths with irritability exhibit exaggerated responses to frustrating stimuli, the authors used a frustration functional MRI (fMRI) paradigm to examine associations between irritability and neural activation and tested the moderating effect of age. METHOD:The authors studied a transdiagnostic sample of 195 youths with varying levels of irritability (disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, N=52; anxiety disorder, N=42; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, N=40; and healthy volunteers, N=61). Irritability was measured by parent and child reports on the Affective Reactivity Index. The fMRI paradigm was a cued-attention task differentiating neural activity in response to frustration (rigged feedback) from activity during attention orienting in the trial following frustration. RESULTS:Whole-brain activation analyses revealed associations with irritability during attention orienting following frustration. Irritability was positively associated with frontal-striatal activation, specifically in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, inferior frontal gyrus, and caudate. Age moderated the association between irritability and activation in some frontal and posterior regions (the anterior cingulate cortex, medial frontal gyrus, cuneus, precuneus, and superior parietal lobule [F=19.04-28.51, df=1, 189, partial eta squared=0.09-0.13]). Specifically, higher irritability was more strongly related to increased activation in younger youths compared with older youths. CONCLUSIONS:Following frustration, levels of irritability correlated with activity in neural systems mediating attention orienting, top-down regulation of emotions, and motor execution. Although most associations were independent of age, dysfunction in the anterior cingulate cortex and posterior regions was more pronounced in young children with irritability.
Project description:Importance:Psychiatric comorbidity complicates clinical care and confounds efforts to elucidate the pathophysiology of commonly occurring symptoms in youths. To our knowledge, few studies have simultaneously assessed the effect of 2 continuously distributed traits on brain-behavior relationships in children with psychopathology. Objective:To determine shared and unique effects of 2 major dimensions of child psychopathology, irritability and anxiety, on neural responses to facial emotions during functional magnetic resonance imaging. Design, Setting, and Participants:Cross-sectional functional magnetic resonance imaging study in a large, well-characterized clinical sample at a research clinic at the National Institute of Mental Health. The referred sample included youths ages 8 to 17 years, 93 youths with anxiety, disruptive mood dysregulation, and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders and 22 healthy youths. Main Outcomes and Measures:The child's irritability and anxiety were rated by both parent and child on the Affective Reactivity Index and Screen for Child Anxiety Related Disorders, respectively. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, neural response was measured across the brain during gender labeling of varying intensities of angry, happy, or fearful face emotions. In mixed-effects analyses, the shared and unique effects of irritability and anxiety were tested on amygdala functional connectivity and activation to face emotions. Results:The mean (SD) age of participants was 13.2 (2.6) years; of the 115 included, 64 were male. Irritability and/or anxiety influenced amygdala connectivity to the prefrontal and temporal cortex. Specifically, irritability and anxiety jointly influenced left amygdala to left medial prefrontal cortex connectivity during face emotion viewing (F4,888?=?9.20; P?<?.001 for mixed model term). During viewing of intensely angry faces, decreased connectivity was associated with high levels of both anxiety and irritability, whereas increased connectivity was associated with high levels of anxiety but low levels of irritability (Wald ?21?=?21.3; P?<?.001 for contrast). Irritability was associated with differences in neural response to face emotions in several areas (F2, 888???13.45; all P < .001). This primarily occurred in the ventral visual areas, with a positive association to angry and happy faces relative to fearful faces. Conclusions and Relevance:These data extend prior work conducted in youths with irritability or anxiety alone and suggest that research may miss important findings if the pathophysiology of irritability and anxiety are studied in isolation. Decreased amygdala-medial prefrontal cortex connectivity may mediate emotion dysregulation when very anxious and irritable youth process threat-related faces. Activation in the ventral visual circuitry suggests a mechanism through which signals of social approach (ie, happy and angry expressions) may capture attention in irritable youth.
Project description:Irritability is an aspect of the negative affectivity domain of temperament, but in severe and dysregulated forms is a symptom of a range of psychopathologies. Better understanding of the neural underpinnings of irritability, outside the context of specific disorders, can help to understand normative variation but also characterize its clinical salience in psychopathology diagnosis. This study assessed brain activation during reward and frustration, domains of behavioral deficits in childhood irritability. Children (age 6-9) presenting in mental health clinics for extreme and impairing irritability (n = 26) were compared to healthy children (n = 28). Using developmentally sensitive methods, neural activation was measured via a negative mood induction paradigm during fMRI scanning. The clinical group displayed more activation of the anterior cingulate and middle frontal gyrus during reward, but less activation during frustration, than healthy comparison children. The opposite pattern was found in the posterior cingulate. Further, in clinical subjects, parent report of irritability was dimensionally related to decreased activation of the anterior cingulate and striatum during frustration. The results of this study indicate neural dysfunction within brain regions related to reward processing, error monitoring, and emotion regulation underlying clinically impairing irritability. Results are discussed in the context of a growing field of neuroimaging research investigating irritable children.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Irritability is common in children and adolescents and is the cardinal symptom of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, a new DSM-5 disorder, yet its neural correlates remain largely unexplored. The authors conducted a functional MRI study to examine neural responses to frustration in children with severe mood dysregulation. METHOD:The authors compared emotional responses, behavior, and neural activity between 19 severely irritable children (operationalized using criteria for severe mood dysregulation) and 23 healthy comparison children during a cued-attention task completed under nonfrustrating and frustrating conditions. RESULTS:Children in both the severe mood dysregulation and the healthy comparison groups reported increased frustration and exhibited decreased ability to shift spatial attention during the frustration condition relative to the nonfrustration condition. However, these effects of frustration were more marked in the severe mood dysregulation group than in the comparison group. During the frustration condition, participants in the severe mood dysregulation group exhibited deactivation of the left amygdala, the left and right striatum, the parietal cortex, and the posterior cingulate on negative feedback trials, relative to the comparison group (i.e., between-group effect) and to the severe mood dysregulation group's responses on positive feedback trials (i.e., within-group effect). In contrast, neural response to positive feedback during the frustration condition did not differ between groups. CONCLUSIONS:In response to negative feedback received in the context of frustration, children with severe, chronic irritability showed abnormally reduced activation in regions implicated in emotion, attention, and reward processing. Frustration appears to reduce attention flexibility, particularly in severely irritable children, which may contribute to emotion regulation deficits in this population. Further research is needed to relate these findings to irritability specifically, rather than to other clinical features of severe mood dysregulation.
Project description:Importance:Comorbidity is ubiquitous in psychiatry, but it is unclear how to differentiate neural mechanisms of co-occurring symptoms. Pediatric irritability and anxiety symptoms are prevalent and frequently co-occur. Threat orienting is pertinent to both phenotypes and is an ideal context in which to examine their unique and common neural mechanisms. Objectives:To decompose the unique and shared variances of pediatric irritability and anxiety symptoms and to determine neural correlates of these differentiated phenotypes during threat orienting. Design, Setting, and Participants:This investigation was a cross-sectional functional magnetic resonance imaging study. The setting was a research clinic at the National Institute of Mental Health. Participants were youth aged 8 to 18 years spanning multiple diagnostic categories (141 youth with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, anxiety disorder, and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and 56 healthy youth). This combination provided wide variation in levels of irritability and anxiety symptoms. Data were acquired between June 30, 2012, and June 28, 2016. Main Outcomes and Measures:Participants and parents rated youth's irritability on the Affective Reactivity Index and anxiety on the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders. Bifactor analysis decomposed the unique and shared variances. A functional magnetic resonance imaging dot-probe task assessed attention orienting to angry (ie, threat) vs neutral faces. Whole-brain analyses examined associations between the bifactor-derived phenotypes and both neural activity and amygdala functional connectivity. Results:Among 197 participants included in the final analysis, the mean (SD) age was 13.1 (2.7) years, and 91 (46.2%) were female. The best-fit bifactor model (Comparative Fit Index, 0.959; Root Mean Square Error of Approximation, 0.066) included unique factors of parent-reported irritability, youth-reported irritability, and anxiety, as well as a common factor of negative affectivity. When the task required attention away from threat, higher parent-reported irritability was associated with increased activity in the insula, caudate, dorsolateral and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, and inferior parietal lobule (t189≥4.15 for all, P < .001 for all). In contrast, higher anxiety was associated with decreased amygdala connectivity to the cingulate, thalamus, and precentral gyrus (t189≤-4.19 for all, P < .001 for all). These distinctive neural correlates did not emerge using a diagnostic approach. Conclusions and Relevance:A latent variable approach to parsing co-occurring symptom dimensions revealed a novel double dissociation. During orientation away from threat, only irritability was associated with neural activity, whereas only anxiety was associated with amygdala connectivity. Despite the challenges of symptom co-occurrence for clinical neuroscience, data-driven phenotyping may facilitate a path forward.
Project description:Irritability refers to a proneness for anger, and is a symptom of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. Since irritability is associated with significant cross-sectional and longitudinal impairments, research on the behavioral and neural correlates of pediatric irritability in populations at risk for significant irritability is of paramount importance. Irritability can be assessed in the laboratory using behavioral paradigms that elicit frustration. Few behavioral frustration paradigms have been designed to measure the effects of frustration on cognitive control. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to validate a behavioral frustration paradigm for use in school-age children which addressed some of the limitations of prior research. Participants included children, ages 8-12 years, who were either typically developing (TD; n = 38) or diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; n = 67), which provided a sample of children with a range of baseline irritability. All participants completed the Frustration Go/No-Go (GNG) task, and self-reported irritability was assessed using the Affective Reactivity Index. Results showed that across participants, self-reported frustration, commission error rate, and tau all increased with the addition of frustration, with similar effect sizes in ADHD and TD groups. Further, self-reported irritability, moreso than ADHD symptoms, predicted changes in self-reported frustration during the task. Together, these results support the construct validity of the Frustration GNG task as a means of assessing the effect of frustration on cognitive control. Clinical applications and future directions are discussed.
Project description:Controversy exists about whether non-episodic irritability (operationalized as severe mood dysregulation, SMD) should be considered a developmental presentation of pediatric bipolar disorder (BD). While assessments of brain function may address this controversy, only one fMRI study has compared BD versus SMD. We compared neural activation in BD, SMD, and controls during a motor inhibition task, since motor disinhibition is an important clinical feature in both BD and SMD. During failed inhibition, BD youths exhibited less activation in the right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and right nucleus accumbens relative to both SMD and healthy youths. Exploratory analyses indicate that, in BD youths, reduced activation in the right ACC may be independent of comorbid ADHD. These findings highlight neural distinctions between the phenotypically related BD and SMD populations.
Project description:Antisocial behavior and aggression are prominent symptoms in several psychiatric disorders including antisocial personality disorder. An established precursor to aggression is a frustrating event, which can elicit anger or exasperation, thereby prompting aggressive responses. While some studies have investigated the neural correlates of frustration and aggression, examination of their relation to trait aggression in healthy populations are rare. Based on a screening of 550 males, we formed two extreme groups, one including individuals reporting high (n=21) and one reporting low (n=18) trait aggression. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 3T, all participants were put through a frustration task comprising unsolvable anagrams of German nouns. Despite similar behavioral performance, males with high trait aggression reported higher ratings of negative affect and anger after the frustration task. Moreover, they showed relatively decreased activation in the frontal brain regions and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) as well as relatively less amygdala activation in response to frustration. Our findings indicate distinct frontal and limbic processing mechanisms following frustration modulated by trait aggression. In response to a frustrating event, HA individuals show some of the personality characteristics and neural processing patterns observed in abnormally aggressive populations. Highlighting the impact of aggressive traits on the behavioral and neural responses to frustration in non-psychiatric extreme groups can facilitate further characterization of neural dysfunctions underlying psychiatric disorders that involve abnormal frustration processing and aggression.
Project description:Deficits in inhibitory control and visual processing are common in youths with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but little is known about endophenotypes for unaffected siblings of youths with ADHD. This study aimed to investigate the potential endophenotypes of brain activation and performance in inhibitory control and visual processing among ADHD probands, their unaffected siblings, and neurotypical youths. We assessed 27 ADHD probands, 27 unaffected siblings, and 27 age-, gender-, and IQ-matched neurotypical youths using the counting Stroop functional magnetic resonance imaging and two tasks of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB): rapid visual information processing (RVP) for inhibitory control and spatial span (SSP) for visual processing. ADHD probands showed greater activation than their unaffected siblings and neurotypical youths in the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and anterior cingulate cortex. Increased activation in the right IFG was positively correlated with the mean latency of the RVP in ADHD probands. Moreover, ADHD probands and their unaffected siblings showed less activation in the left superior parietal lobule (SPL) than neurotypical youths. Increased activation in the left SPL was positively correlated with the spatial length of the SSP in neurotypical youths. Our findings suggest that less activation in the left SPL might be considered as a candidate imaging endophenotype for visual processing in ADHD.
Project description:Visuospatial attention depends on the integration of multiple processes, and people with right hemisphere lesions after a stroke may exhibit severe or no visuospatial deficits. The anatomy of core components of visuospatial attention is an area of intense interest. Here we examine the relationship between the disruption of core components of attention and lesion distribution in a heterogeneous group (N = 70) of patients with right hemisphere strokes regardless of the presence of clinical neglect. Deficits of lateralized spatial orienting, measured as the difference in reaction times for responding to visual targets in the contralesional or ipsilesional visual field, and deficits in re-orienting attention, as measured by the difference in reaction times for invalidly versus validly cued targets, were measured using a computerized spatial orienting task. Both measures were related through logistic regression and a novel ridge regression method to anatomical damage measured with magnetic resonance imaging. While many regions were common to both deficit maps, a deficit in lateralized spatial orienting was more associated with lesions in the white matter underlying the posterior parietal cortex, and middle and inferior frontal gyri. A deficit in re-orienting of attention toward unattended locations was associated with lesions in the white matter of the posterior parietal cortex, insular cortex and less so with white matter involvement of the anterior frontal lobe. An hodological analysis also supports this partial dissociation between the white matter tracts that are damaged in lateralized spatial biases versus impaired re-orienting. Our results underscore that the integrity of fronto-parietal white matter tracts is crucial for visuospatial attention and that different attention components are mediated by partially distinct neuronal substrates.