Brain connectivity after 30 may predict psychological problems

July 17, 2017, Society for Neuroscience
brain
Credit: public domain

Underdevelopment of the brain network underlying inhibition—the ability to concentrate on a particular stimulus and tune out competing stimuli—after 30 years of age is associated with self-reported psychological problems, according to a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Raluca Petrican and Cheryl Grady analyzed imaging (fMRI) data from 359 adults (ages 22 to 36) participating in the Human Connectome Project to determine whether the patterns of connectivity associated with inhibition remain stable over time and across different contexts. They identify patterns that differ between early and middle adulthood as well as between a working memory task and one that required them to process social and financial rewards. This finding suggests that the neural basis of inhibition varies as a result of age and circumstance.

The authors also found that people over age 30 who did not show a strong later adulthood —which utilizes fewer specialized brain regions than the earlier adulthood pattern and may enable more efficient information processing—were more likely to report such as anxiety and depression, attention and aggression. Together, these findings indicate that inhibition is a late-developing ability important for healthy psychological functioning in mid-adulthood.

Explore further: Poor adolescent diet may influence brain and behavior in adulthood

More information: Contextual and Developmental Differences in the Neural Architecture of Cognitive Control, Journal of Neuroscience (2017). DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0667-17.2017

Related Stories

Poor adolescent diet may influence brain and behavior in adulthood

June 19, 2017
Adolescent male mice fed a diet lacking omega-3 fatty acids show increased anxiety-like behavior and worse performance on a memory task in adulthood, according to new research published in The Journal of Neuroscience. The ...

Similar brain connectivity during rest and tasks linked to better mental performance

August 16, 2016
A brain on task differs from a brain at rest. But, how much it differs could depend on the cognitive ability of the person whose brain is being studied. New research published August 17 in The Journal of Neuroscience suggests ...

Brain development and aging

June 5, 2017
The brain is a complex organ—a network of nerve cells, or neurons, producing thought, memory, action, and feeling. How does this complex system change from childhood to adulthood to late life in order to maintain optimal ...

New study finds link between depression and abnormal brain response to visceral pain in patients with IBS

October 2, 2014
High rates of anxiety and depression amongst patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have led many researchers to believe there could be a causal relationship between psychological factors and IBS symptoms. Now, scientists ...

Too much activity in certain areas of the brain is bad for memory and attention

August 23, 2016
Neurons in the brain interact by sending each other chemical messages, so-called neurotransmitters. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the most common inhibitory neurotransmitter, which is important to restrain neural activity, ...

Self-control saps memory, study says

August 26, 2015
You're driving on a busy road and you intend to switch lanes when you suddenly realize that there's a car in your blind spot. You have to put a stop to your lane change—and quickly.

Recommended for you

Silence is golden when it comes to how our brains work

June 18, 2018
It's the comparative silence between the firing spikes of neurons that tells what they are really up to, scientists report.

Observing brain plasticity during cello training

June 15, 2018
Music acquisition provides an excellent model of neural plasticity, and has become a hot research subject in neurology. Music performance provides an unmatched array of neural complexities revealing how neural networks are ...

New discovery about the brain's water system may prove beneficial in stroke

June 15, 2018
Water is transported from the blood into the brain via an ion transporter, according to a new study on mice conducted at the University of Copenhagen. If the mechanism can be targeted with medicine, it may prove relevant ...

Study shows how intensive instruction changes brain circuitry in struggling readers

June 14, 2018
The early years are when the brain develops the most, forming neural connections that pave the way for how a child—and the eventual adult—will express feelings, embark on a task, and learn new skills and concepts.

When emotional memories intrude, focusing on context could help, study finds

June 14, 2018
When negative memories intrude, focusing on the contextual details of the incident rather than the emotional fallout could help minimize cognitive disruption and redirect the brain's resources to the task at hand, suggests ...

The neurons that rewrite traumatic memories

June 14, 2018
Memories of traumatic experiences can lead to mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can destroy a person's life. It is currently estimated that almost a third of all people will suffer ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.