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Child maltreatment and brain development in adolescents and young adults: longitudinal study of structural magnetic resonance

Grant number: 21/02451-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2021
Effective date (End): December 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine - Psychiatry
Principal Investigator:Eurípedes Constantino Miguel Filho
Grantee:Victoria Fogaça Doretto
Host Institution: Instituto de Psiquiatria Doutor Antonio Carlos Pacheco e Silva (IPq). Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da USP (HCFMUSP). Secretaria da Saúde (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Child maltreatment has been consistently associated with an increased risk of a range of psychiatric disorders. Previous neuroimaging studies have shown that exposure to child maltreatment affects brain development over time, leading to changes in the structure of some brain regions sensible to stress, such as areas of the prefrontal cortex, amygdala and hippocampus. Although some of these associations have been well replicated, most studies are cross-sectional and the understanding of how neural changes evolve over time is limited. Previous longitudinal studies of neuroimaging and childhood maltreatment present important methodologies limitations. First, most studies have small sample size and the study with the largest sample and range of variables evaluated evaluated only individuals without current or previous psychiatric comorbidities. Second, none of them explored the impact of maltreatment on children from developing countries. Finally, there are more accurate technologies for measuring structural changes in cortical brain regions than those previously used in part of the studies. Thus, this project aims to assess the impact of child maltreatment on the total brain gray matter and on the orbitofrontal cortex, hippocampus and amygdala at two different times in time (pre-adolescence and adolescence) in desire for a high-risk sample for the community. The project hypothesis is that maltreatment will be associated with changes in the development of gray matter in brain structures at the baseline and a 3-year follow-up, with attenuated developmental trajectories of the volumes of the left hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex. (AU)

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