Check out some of the papers that were published by DMCBH members in the past few weeks:


Luke Clark: The gamblers of the future? Migration from loot boxes to gambling in a longitudinal study of young adults

Journal: Computers in Human Behavior

This study sought to explore the longitudinal relationship between loot box use and gambling behaviour, among young adult video gamers who were stratified into subgroups of gamblers and non-gamblers at the baseline assessment. In cross-sectional comparisons at baseline, gamblers were more likely than non-gamblers to endorse buying and selling loot box items, and to have greater past year expenditure across both loot boxes and direct purchase microtransactions.


Sophia Frangou and Lakshmi Yatham: Neuroimaging profiling identifies distinct brain maturational subtypes of youth with mood and anxiety disorders

Journal: Molecular Psychiatry

Using the power of machine learning combined with the unique resources of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study, this study tested for the presence of neuroimaging-defined subtypes in a cross-sectional sample of youth with juvenile mood and anxiety disorders. Three transdiagnostic subtypes were identified that evidenced greater exposure to parental psychopathology, family conflict, and adverse experiences including bullying, compared to the typically developing group. Beyond these similarities, the three subtypes had distinct neuroimaging profiles potentially implicating different developmental mechanisms.


Joanne Matsubara and Ghassan Hamarneh: SPECHT: Self-tuning Plausibility based object detection Enables quantification of Conflict in Heterogeneous multi-scale microscopy

Journal: PLOS One

The research team introduced a novel adaptive self-tuning method for object detection in 2D microscopy images of fluorescent labelled proteins that enables consistent results across channels, and a novel method to assign each object a belief that expresses numerically the evidence encoded. They validated their method on superresolution data of CAV1 deposits, where they showed agreement with related work and biological ground truth. They showed we are able to identify and characterize CAV1-labeled caveolae and scaffolds by STED superresolution microscopy, setting the stage for robust, reproducible temporal live cell analysis where consistency across images and channels is essential for scientific discovery. They applied their method on an Alzheimer pilot study, illustrating the multiscale applicability. They illustrated with a closed form expression the capability to formulate a joint model spanning heterogeneous datasets while recording the conflict of evidence between the separate models as a reliability measure.


Sophia Frangou: Neurocognitive Endophenotypes for Eating Disorders: A Preliminary High-Risk Family Study

Journal: Brain Sciences

Eating disorders (EDs) are psychiatric disorders with a neurobiological basis. ED-specific neuropsychological and brain characteristics have been identified, but often in individuals in the acute phase or recovered from EDs, precluding an understanding of whether they are correlates and scars of EDs vs. predisposing factors. Although familial high-risk (FHR) studies are available across other disorders, this study design has not been used in EDs. This was the first FMH study in EDs, investigating healthy offspring of women with EDs and controls. The team preliminarily aimed to investigate ED-related neurocognitive and brain markers that could point to predisposing factors for ED.


Jehannine Austin: Relationships Between Maternal Perinatal Mood, Sex of Infant, and Disappointment with Sex of Infant in a North American Sample

Journal: Maternal and Child Health

This is the first study to explore relationships between sex of infant, maternal preference for sex of infant, and maternal depressive symptoms in a North American sample where there is an overall “balanced” preference for infant sex. It was found that mothers of male infants may have slightly more depressive symptoms than mothers of female infants regardless of maternal preference for, or disappointment in sex of infant; therefore sex-specific biological risk factors for postpartum depression should be explored.


Cheryl Wellington and Brian Kwon: Association of CSF and Serum Neurofilament Light and Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein, Injury Severity, and Outcome in Spinal Cord Injury

Journal: Neurology

Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is highly heterogenous and tools to better delineate pathophysiology and recovery are needed. The objective of this study was to profile the response of two biomarkers, neurofilament light (NF-L) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), in the serum and CSF of acute SCI patients to evaluate their ability to objectively characterize injury severity and predict neurologic recovery.


Luke Clark: Serotonergic and dopaminergic control of impulsivity in gambling disorder

Journal: Addiction Biology

Gambling disorder (GD) is a major public health issue. The disorder is often characterized by elevated impulsivity with evidence from analogous substance use disorders underlining prominent roles of brain monoamines in addiction susceptibility and outcome. Critically, GD allows the study of addiction mechanisms without the confounder of the effects of chronic substances. This study assessed the roles of striatal dopamine transporter binding and extrastriatal serotonin transporter binding in GD as a function of impulsivity using FP-CIT SPECT imaging in 20 older adults with GD and 40 non-GD age- and sex-matched controls.


Kota Mizumoto: Synaptogenesis: unmasking molecular mechanisms using Caenorhabditis elegans

Journal: Genetics

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a research model organism particularly suited to the mechanistic understanding of synapse genesis in the nervous system. Armed with powerful genetics, knowledge of complete connectomics, and modern genomics, studies using C. elegans have unveiled multiple key regulators in the formation of a functional synapse. Importantly, many signaling networks display remarkable conservation throughout animals, underscoring the contributions of C. elegans research to advance the understanding of our brain. This article reviews up-to-date information of the contribution of C. elegans to the understanding of chemical synapses, from structure to molecules and to synaptic remodeling.


Alexander Rauscher: Quantitative myelin imaging with MRI and PET: an overview of techniques and their validation status

Journal: Brain

Myelin is the protective sheath wrapped around axons, consisting of a phospholipid bilayer with water between the wraps. The measurement of damage to the myelin sheaths, the evaluation of the efficacy of therapies aiming to promote remyelination and monitoring the degree of brain maturation in children all require non-invasive quantitative myelin imaging methods. To date, various myelin imaging techniques have been developed. This review aims to give an overview of the various myelin imaging techniques, their biophysical principles, image acquisition, data analysis and their validation status.


Fidel Vila-Rodriguez: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation-induced Heart-Brain-Coupling: Implications for site selection and frontal thresholding – preliminary findings

Journal: Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science

Neuro-cardiac-guided transcranial magnetic stimulation (NCG-TMS) employs repetitive TMS (rTMS)-induced heart rate deceleration to confirm activation of the frontal-vagal pathway. This study tested a novel NCG-TMS method that utilizes Heart-Brain-Coupling (HBC) in order to quantify rTMS-induced entrainment of the inter-beat-interval as a function of TMS cycle-time. Since prior NCG-TMS studies indicated no association between motor and frontal excitability threshold, the research team also introduced the approach of using HBC to establish individualized frontal excitability thresholds for optimally dosing frontal TMS.


Tim Murphy and Lynn Raymond: Chronic multiscale resolution of mouse brain networks using combined mesoscale cortical imaging and subcortical fiber photometry

Journal: Neurophotonics

Genetically encoded optical probes to image calcium levels in neurons in vivo are used widely as a real-time measure of neuronal activity in the brain. Mesoscale calcium imaging through a cranial window provides a method of studying the interaction of circuit activity between cortical areas but lacks access to subcortical regions. The research team has developed an optical and surgical preparation that preserves wide-field imaging of the cortical surface while also permitting access to specific subcortical networks.


Jodie Gawryluk and Daniela Palombo: Brief diesel exhaust exposure acutely impairs functional brain connectivity in humans: a randomized controlled crossover study

Journal: Environmental Health

While it is known that exposure to traffic-related air pollution causes an enormous global toll on human health, neurobiological underpinnings therein remain elusive. This study found short-term pollution-attributable decrements in the brain’s default mode network functional connectivity. Decrements in brain connectivity causes many detrimental effects to the human body so this finding should guide policy change in air pollution exposure regulation.


Tim Murphy and Lynn Raymond: Water-Reaching Platform for Longitudinal Assessment of Cortical Activity and Fine Motor Coordination Defects in a Huntington Disease Mouse Model

Journal: eNeuro

Huntington disease (HD) is caused by dominantly inherited expansions of a CAG repeat results in characteristic motor dysfunction. Although gross motor defects have been extensively characterized in multiple HD mouse models using tasks such as rotarod and beam walking, less is known about forelimb deficits. The research team developed a high-throughput alternating reward/nonreward water-reaching task and training protocol conducted daily over approximately two months to simultaneously monitor forelimb impairment and mesoscale cortical changes in GCaMP activity, comparing female zQ175 (HD) and wild-type (WT) littermate mice, starting at ∼5.5 months. Behavioral analysis of the water-reaching task reveals that HD mice, despite learning the water-reaching task as proficiently as wild-type mice, take longer to learn the alternating event sequence as evident by impulsive (noncued) reaches and initially display reduced cortical activity associated with successful reaches.


Rebecca Todd, Stan Floresco, Trisha Chakrabarty and Luke Clark: Gender impacts the relationship between mood disorder symptoms and effortful avoidance performance

Journal: eNeuro

We must often take or withhold effortful action to avoid unpleasant outcomes or obtain rewards. Depression and anxiety can impact these behaviours’ effectiveness, but the roles of avoidance in depression and reward-seeking in anxiety are not fully understood. Gender differences in avoidance and reward-seeking have also not been examined. This study presented a task in which community participants with a range of anxiety and depression levels made or withheld button presses to avoid hearing an unpleasant sound or obtain a reward. Men deployed more effort than women in avoidance, and women with higher anxiety scores had lower avoidance performance than men. This study illuminates gender differences in how depressive and anxiety scores impact our ability to avoid threats and obtain rewards.