Hyperactivation in Cognitive Control and Visual Attention Brain Regions During Emotional Interference in Adolescent Depression. Biological psychiatry. Cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging Colich, N. L., Ho, T. C., Foland-Ross, L. C., Eggleston, C. n., Ordaz, S. J., Singh, M. K., Gotlib, I. H. 2017; 2 (5): 388–95

Abstract

Individuals with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) are characterized by biases in attention to negative emotional material. While there is evidence that anomalous functioning in frontocingulate regions may underlie these biases, we know little about the neural correlates of negative emotional biases in depressed adolescents.Eighteen adolescents diagnosed with MDD and 21 matched healthy control (CTL) adolescents underwent fMRI while performing an emotional distractor task. On each trial participants were presented with task-relevant house pairs and task-irrelevant face pairs. Participants indicated whether the house pairs were identical while ignoring the face pairs, which were either fearful, sad, or neutral.Despite equivalent behavioral performance (response time and accuracy) between groups, adolescents with MDD exhibited greater activation in frontocingulate regions, including dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and inferior frontal gyrus/middle frontal gyrus (IFG/MFG), and occipitoparietal regions, including lateral occipital cortex and superior parietal lobule when ignoring fearful versus neutral faces. Response times to these trial conditions also correlated negatively with activation in IFG/MFG and lateral occipital cortex suggesting these regions are recruited in order to effectively ignore emotional distractors. Groups did not differ when ignoring sad versus neutral faces or fearful versus sad faces.Adolescents with MDD recruit both cognitive control and visual attention regions to a greater degree than do CTL adolescents, reflecting greater cognitive demand when downregulating threat-related stimuli.

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