Objective We examined whether depression and anxiety disorders in early childhood were associated with changes in resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) of the ventral attention network (VAN), and whether RSFC in the VAN was associated with alterations in attention specific to these disorders. Important clinical features of these illnesses, including changes in attention toward novel stimuli and changes in attention to stimuli of negative valence (threat/sad bias), indirectly implicate the VAN. Method We collected resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging data in children aged 8 to 12 years. Data were volume censored to reduce artifact from submillimeter movement, resulting in analyzable data from 30 children with a history of depression and/or anxiety and 42 children with no psychiatric history. We compared pairwise RSFC among the following VAN regions: right ventro-lateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), right posterior superior temporal gyrus (pSTG), and right ventral supramarginal gyrus (vSMG). We also collected measures of threat bias and current clinical symptoms. Results Children with a history of depression and/or anxiety had reduced RSFC among the regions of the VAN compared to children with no psychiatric history. The magnitude of VAN RSFC was correlated with measures of attention bias toward threat but not with current depressive, internalizing, or externalizing symptoms. No RSFC changes were detected between groups among homotopic left hemisphere regions. Conclusions Disruption in the VAN may be an early feature of depression and anxiety disorders. VAN changes were associated with attention bias and clinical history but not with current symptoms of depression and anxiety.
|Journal||Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry|
|State||Published - Dec 2013|
- attention bias
- functional connectivity
- ventral attention network