Cognitive functioning affects health. This study assessed cognitive functioning among participants in the Northwestern Juvenile Project, a stratified random sample of 1,829 newly detained juveniles (10 to 18 years old) from Cook County, Illinois. The study examined receptive vocabulary, oral reading, arithmetic computation skills, and general intellectual abilities. The sample exhibited impaired overall intellectual functioning and deficits in all areas. Males performed more poorly than females. More than three quarters of males showed below average overall intellectual functioning, and 9 in 10 had below average receptive vocabulary skills. Hispanic and African American males performed more poorly than non-Hispanic White males. The multiple systems that serve delinquent youth--correctional, health, legal, and rehabilitative--must collaborate to tailor needed services to the cognitive level of youth in the juvenile justice system.
We evaluated the preliminary effectiveness of a novel intervention that was developed to address combat stress injuries in active-duty military personnel. Adaptive disclosure (AD) is relatively brief to accommodate the busy schedules of active-duty service members while training for future deployments. Further, AD takes into account unique aspects of the phenomenology of military service in war in order to address difficulties such as moral injury and traumatic loss that may not receive adequate and explicit attention by conventional treatments that primarily address fear-inducing life-threatening experiences and sequelae. In this program development and evaluation open trial, 44 marines received AD while in garrison. It was well tolerated and, despite the brief treatment duration, promoted significant reductions in PTSD, depression, negative posttraumatic appraisals, and was also associated with increases in posttraumatic growth.
Functional neuroimaging studies have led to a significantly deeper understanding of the underlying neural correlates and the development of several mature models of depression in adults. In contrast, our current understanding of the underlying neural substrates of adolescent depression is very limited. Although numerous studies have consistently demonstrated a hyperactive amygdala in depressed adults, the few published pediatric studies have reported opposite results in the amygdala. Thus, the main purpose of this study was to further our knowledge of the underlying neural substrates of adolescent depression by examining the bilateral amygdala specifically and the whole brain in depressed adolescents compared to healthy controls.
This cross-sectional study examined the development of set-shifting ability from childhood into early adulthood. Six hundred and forty-nine participants (aged 8-30) were assessed on the verbal fluency, design fluency, trail making, color-word interference, and card sorting subtests of the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS). Multiple regression analyses revealed modest effects of age and gender on set-shifting tasks, after controlling for IQ and component skills. The current study provides evidence for generally increased performance of set-shifting abilities through adolescence. Women overall had statistically better performance than men on all executive functioning tasks. There were significant age by gender interactions suggesting differential age-related improvements between men and women. On color-word interference and verbal fluency switching tasks, men tended to show larger improvements than women, whereas on a design fluency switching task, women showed larger improvements than men.
Calibrated functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) provides a noninvasive technique to assess functional metabolic changes associated with normal aging. We simultaneously measured both the magnitude of the blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) and cerebral blood flow (CBF) responses in the visual cortex for separate conditions of mild hypercapnia (5% CO(2)) and a simple checkerboard stimulus in healthy younger (n = 10, mean: 28-years-old) and older (n = 10, mean: 53-years-old) adults. From these data we derived baseline CBF, the BOLD scaling parameter M, the fractional change in the cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen consumption (CMRO(2)) with activation, and the coupling ratio n of the fractional changes in CBF and CMRO(2). For the functional activation paradigm, the magnitude of the BOLD response was significantly lower for the older group (0.57 +/- 0.07%) compared to the younger group (0.95 +/- 0.14%), despite the finding that the fractional CBF and CMRO(2) changes were similar for both groups. The weaker BOLD response for the older group was due to a reduction in the parameter M, which was significantly lower for older (4.6 +/- 0.4%) than younger subjects (6.5 +/- 0.8%), most likely reflecting a reduction in baseline CBF for older (41.7 +/- 4.8 mL/100 mL/min) compared to younger (59.6 +/- 9.1 mL/100 mL/min) subjects. In addition to these primary responses, for both groups the BOLD response exhibited a post-stimulus undershoot with no significant difference in this magnitude. However, the post-undershoot period of the CBF response was significantly greater for older compared to younger subjects. We conclude that when comparing two populations, the BOLD response can provide misleading reflections of underlying physiological changes. A calibrated approach provides a more quantitative reflection of underlying metabolic changes than the BOLD response alone.
Recent adult studies suggest that the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) is involved in fundamental mental operations such as affective processing and inhibitory control. However, little is known about inhibition-associated sgACC function in adolescents, and there are no published data regarding whether personality characteristics are related to inhibition-associated sgACC brain activity in adolescents. This study examined the relationship between personality and inhibition-associated sgACC response in healthy adolescents. Seventeen adolescents of 13-17 years of age underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing a parametric stop-signal task. Greater harm avoidance levels were significantly associated with increased inhibition-related sgACC activity. These results establish, for the first time, a link between personality and differential sgACC activation in adolescents.
Neuroimaging studies implicate the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) as a critical brain region in adult depression. However, unlike adult depression, little is known about the underlying neural substrates of adolescent depression, and there are no published data examining differences in sgACC activation between depressed and healthy adolescents. This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine sgACC activity in 26 depressed and normal 13-17-year olds during the performance of a stop-signal task. Significantly greater sgACC activation was found in the depressed adolescents relative to controls. These results establish for the first time abnormal functioning of the sgACC in depressed adolescents and have important implications for understanding the underlying neural correlates and potential treatments of adolescent depression.
This study evaluated a community-based correctional program in California, in which parolees tested positive on illicit drugs were given the option of going into a treatment program or having their parole revoked and returned to prison in California. Two comparison groups were constructed to assess the treatment effect-a propensity-based comparison group extracted from the general parolee population and program dropouts. Although implicitly coercive, some parolees who finished the program were less likely to be reincarcerated 12 months following release than both comparison groups. However, the observed treatment advantage quickly eroded in the second observation year. Savings realized from the incarcerations avoided were more than enough to pay for the program. Findings from this study suggest that boosting participation in reentry services through coercive measures may yield currently unrealized individual and societal benefits. However, systemic efforts are needed to extend the short-term treatment effects. Design and data limitations in the study weaken the persuasiveness of these findings. Methodological implications and policy issues about coerced treatment are discussed.
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