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  1. Abstract

    Assessing brain connectivity during rest has become a widely used approach to identify changes in functional brain organization during development. Generally, previous works have demonstrated that brain activity shifts from more local to more distributed processing from childhood into adolescence. However, the majority of those works have been based on functional magnetic resonance imaging measures, whereas multispectral functional connectivity, as measured using magnetoencephalography (MEG), has been far less characterized. In our study, we examined spontaneous cortical activity during eyes-closed rest using MEG in 101 typically developing youth (9–15 years old; 51 females, 50 males). Multispectral MEG images were computed, and connectivity was estimated in the canonical delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma bands using the imaginary part of the phase coherence, which was computed between 200 brain regions defined by the Schaefer cortical atlas. Delta and alpha connectivity matrices formed more communities as a function of increasing age. Connectivity weights predominantly decreased with age in both frequency bands; delta-band differences largely implicated limbic cortical regions and alpha band differences in attention and cognitive networks. These results are consistent with previous work, indicating the functional organization of the brain becomes more segregated across development, and highlight spectral specificity across different canonical networks.

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  2. Abstract

    Neural oscillations may be sensitive to aspects of brain maturation such as myelination and synaptic density changes. Better characterization of developmental trajectories and reliability is necessary for understanding typical and atypical neurodevelopment. Here, we examined reliability in 110 typically developing children and adolescents (aged 9–17 years) across 2.25 years. From 10 min of magnetoencephalography resting-state data, normalized source spectral power and intraclass correlation coefficients were calculated. We found sex-specific differences in global normalized power, with males showing age-related decreases in delta and theta, along with age-related increases in beta and gamma. Females had fewer significant age-related changes. Structural magnetic resonance imaging revealed that males had more total gray, subcortical gray, and cortical white matter volume. There were significant age-related changes in total gray matter volume with sex-specific and frequency-specific correlations to normalized power. In males, increased total gray matter volume correlated with increased theta and alpha, along with decreased gamma. Split-half reliability was excellent in all frequency bands and source regions. Test–retest reliability ranged from good (alpha) to fair (theta) to poor (remaining bands). While resting-state neural oscillations can have fingerprint-like quality in adults, we show here that neural oscillations continue to evolve in children and adolescents due to brain maturation and neurodevelopmental change.

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  3. Abstract

    Brain networks extracted by independent component analysis (ICA) from magnitude‐only fMRI data are usually denoised using various amplitude‐based thresholds. By contrast, spatial source phase (SSP) or the phase information of ICA brain networks extracted from complex‐valued fMRI data, has provided a simple yet effective way to perform the denoising using a fixed phase change. In this work, we extend the approach to magnitude‐only fMRI data to avoid testing various amplitude thresholds for denoising magnitude maps extracted by ICA, as most studies do not save the complex‐valued data. The main idea is to generate a mathematical SSP map for a magnitude map using a mapping framework, and the mapping framework is built using complex‐valued fMRI data with a known SSP map. Here we leverage the fact that the phase map derived from phase fMRI data has similar phase information to the SSP map. After verifying the use of the magnitude data of complex‐valued fMRI, this framework is generalized to work with magnitude‐only data, allowing use of our approach even without the availability of the corresponding phase fMRI datasets. We test the proposed method using both simulated and experimental fMRI data including complex‐valued data from University of New Mexico and magnitude‐only data from Human Connectome Project. The results provide evidence that the mathematical SSP denoising with a fixed phase change is effective for denoising spatial maps from magnitude‐only fMRI data in terms of retaining more BOLD‐related activity and fewer unwanted voxels, compared with amplitude‐based thresholding. The proposed method provides a unified and efficient SSP approach to denoise ICA brain networks in fMRI data.

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  4. Abstract Working memory, the ability to hold items in memory stores for further manipulation, is a higher order cognitive process that supports many aspects of daily life. Childhood trauma has been associated with altered cognitive development including particular deficits in verbal working memory (VWM), but the neural underpinnings remain poorly understood. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) studies of VWM have reliably shown decreased alpha activity in left-lateralized language regions during encoding, and increased alpha activity in parieto-occipital cortices during the maintenance phase. In this study, we examined whether childhood trauma affects behavioral performance and the oscillatory dynamics serving VWM using MEG in a cohort of 9- to 15-year-old youth. All participants completed a modified version of the UCLA Trauma History Profile and then performed a VWM task during MEG. Our findings indicated a sex-by-age-by-trauma three-way interaction, whereby younger females experiencing higher levels of trauma had the lowest d’ accuracy scores and the strongest positive correlations with age (i.e. older performed better). Likewise, females with higher levels of childhood trauma exhibited altered age-related alpha changes during the maintenance phase within the right temporal and parietal cortices. These findings suggest that trauma exposure may alter the developmental trajectory of neural oscillations serving VWM processing in a sex-specific way. 
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  5. Abstract Introduction

    The anterior pituitary gland (PG) is a potential locus of hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis responsivity to early life stress, with documented associations between dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels and anterior PG volumes. In adults, elevated anxiety/depressive symptoms are related to diminished DHEA levels, and studies have shown a positive relationship between DHEA and anterior pituitary volumes. However, specific links between responses to stress, DHEA levels, and anterior pituitary volume have not been established in developmental samples.


    High‐resolution T1‐weighted MRI scans were collected from 137 healthy youth (9–17 years;Mage = 12.99 (SD = 1.87); 49% female; 85% White, 4% Indigenous, 1% Asian, 4% Black, 4% multiracial, 2% not reported). The anterior and posterior PGs were manually traced by trained raters. We examined the mediating effects of salivary DHEA on trauma‐related symptoms (i.e., anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic) and PG volumes as well as an alternative model examining mediating effects of PG volume on DHEA and trauma‐related symptoms.


    DHEA mediated the association between anxiety symptoms and anterior PG volume. Specifically, higher anxiety symptoms related to lower DHEA levels, which in turn were related to smaller anterior PG.


    These results shed light on the neurobiological sequelae of elevated anxiety in youth and are consistent with adult findings showing suppressed levels of DHEA in those with greater comorbid anxiety and depression. Specifically, adolescents with greater subclinical anxiety may exhibit diminished levels of DHEA during the pubertal window, which may be associated with disruptions in anterior PG growth.

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