The brain’s response to reward anticipation and depression in adolescence: Dimensionality, specificity, and longitudinal predictions in a community-based sample
American Journal of Psychiatry, 172, 1215-1223, 2015
The authors examined whether alterations in the brain’s reward network operate as a mechanism across the spectrum of risk for depression. They then tested whether these alterations are specific to anhedonia as compared with low mood and whether they are predictive of depressive outcomes.
Functional MRI was used to collect blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) responses to anticipation of reward in the monetary incentive task in 1,576 adolescents in a community-based sample. Adolescents with current subthreshold depression and clinical depression were compared with matched healthy subjects. In addition, BOLD responses were compared across adolescents with anhedonia, low mood, or both symptoms, cross-sectionally and longitudinally.
Activity in the ventral striatum was reduced in participants with subthreshold and clinical depression relative to healthy comparison subjects. Low ventral striatum activation predicted transition to subthreshold or clinical depression in previously healthy adolescents at 2-year follow-up. Brain responses during reward anticipation decreased in a graded manner between healthy adolescents, adolescents with current or future subthreshold depression, and adolescents with current or future clinical depression. Low ventral striatum activity was associated with anhedonia but not low mood; however, the combined presence of both symptoms showed the strongest reductions in the ventral striatum in all analyses.
The findings suggest that reduced striatal activation operates as a mechanism across the risk spectrum for depression. It is associated with anhedonia in healthy adolescents and is a behavioral indicator of positive valence systems, consistent with predictions based on the Research Domain Criteria.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).