Small-world network properties in prefrontal cortex correlate with predictors of psychopathology risk in young children: a NIRS study

Neuroimage. 2014 Jan 15;85 Pt 1:345-53. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.07.022. Epub 2013 Jul 14.

Abstract

Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is an emerging imaging technique that is relatively inexpensive, portable, and particularly well suited for collecting data in ecological settings. Therefore, it holds promise as a potential neurodiagnostic for young children. We set out to explore whether NIRS could be utilized in assessing the risk of developmental psychopathology in young children. A growing body of work indicates that temperament at young age is associated with vulnerability to psychopathology later on in life. In particular, it has been shown that low effortful control (EC), which includes the focusing and shifting of attention, inhibitory control, perceptual sensitivity, and a low threshold for pleasure, is linked to conditions such as anxiety, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Physiologically, EC has been linked to a control network spanning among other sites the prefrontal cortex. Several psychopathologies, such as depression and ADHD, have been shown to result in compromised small-world network properties. Therefore we set out to explore the relationship between EC and the small-world properties of PFC using NIRS. NIRS data were collected from 44 toddlers, ages 3-5, while watching naturalistic stimuli (movie clips). Derived complex network measures were then correlated to EC as derived from the Children's Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ). We found that reduced levels of EC were associated with compromised small-world properties of the prefrontal network. Our results suggest that the longitudinal NIRS studies of complex network properties in young children hold promise in furthering our understanding of developmental psychopathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Child Behavior
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emotions
  • Eye Movements
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology
  • Functional Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Motion Pictures
  • Nerve Net / pathology
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Prefrontal Cortex / pathology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Psychopathology / methods*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared / methods*
  • Temperament