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Methamphetamine and/or tobacco use by pregnant women is prevalent, but little is known about their effects on human fetal brain development. Chang and colleagues studied 139 neonates (36 methamphetamine/tobacco exposed, 32 tobacco exposed, and 71 unexposed control neonates) using diffusion tensor imaging performed 1 to 3 times before age 4 months and identified temporally and regionally specific white matter abnormalities in methamphetamine/tobacco- and tobacco-exposed infants. These findings suggest that prenatal methamphetamine/tobacco or tobacco exposure leads to abnormal white matter maturation. In an Invited Commentary, Roos discusses the implications of prenatal exposures for brain development.
Loneliness has been associated with cognitive decline and an increased risk of Alzheimer disease. Donovan and colleagues studied cortical amyloid burden in 79 community-dwelling older adults with normal cognition using Pittsburgh Compound B-positron emission tomography. Compared with individuals in the amyloid-negative group, those in the amyloid-positive group were 7.5-fold more likely to be classified as lonely. In an Invited Commentary, Rosenberg discusses loneliness as a marker of preclinical Alzheimer disease.
Patients with schizophrenia can show different neurocognitive functioning profiles but it is not known whether these profiles define subgroups with different brain phenotypes. Weinberg and colleagues examined structural magnetic resonance imaging data from IQ-based subgroups of 96 patients with schizophrenia and found significant differences between groups; in particular, a severely deteriorated subgroup had extensive reduction of grey matter not seen in other subgroups. These results suggest cognitively defined subgroups may have differential brain phenotypes in schizophrenia.
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Differences in resting heart rate and blood pressure have been observed in individuals with psychiatric disorders. Latvala and colleagues analyzed psychiatric diagnoses in more than 1 million Swedish men whose resting heart rate and blood pressure was measured at military conscription. Men with higher resting heart rate and higher blood pressure had increased risk for obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders. In contrast, lower resting heart rate and blood pressure was associated with substance use disorders and violent criminality.
Approximately 15% of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder continue to meet clinical criteria in adulthood. Riglin and colleagues used the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children to study genetic risk variant load, indexed by polygenic risk scores, and symptom trajectories for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. They identified 4 symptom trajectories: low, intermediate, childhood-limited, and persistent. Mean polygenic risk scores for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, but not other psychiatric disorders, were higher in children with persistent trajectory. The proportion of children with multimorbidity was also highest in the persistent trajectory group.
In This Issue. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(12):1209. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.1666
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