Behavioral disorders among young people, lawless and aggressive behavior towards others print some footprints that mark the brain map. For example, compared to typically developing adolescents, those who display such problems have less gray matter in certain areas of your brain.
According to the research authors from the University of Birmingham, to date, “the meetings of gray matter abnormalities in the profile of young people have been inconclusive, and few they have been able to replicate”. Therefore, this expert team decided to make the “first meta-analysis of voxel-based morphology”, which is a neuroimaging analysis technique that allows detailed research in brain anatomy. The aim was to identify the differences between adolescents with and without conduct disorder.
The researchers analyzed 13 studies included in this method. In total, they could examine the data of 394 affected and 350 people with normal development. It is the most comprehensive research in this direction. After studying all the brain imaging, the researchers found that people with antisocial and aggressive behavior have less gray matter in the amygdala, insula and prefrontal cortex.
Precisely these areas are important for things like decision making, empathic responses, reading facial expressions and emotional regulation.
The scientists found out that serious behavioral problems in youth are not only predictive of antisocial and aggressive behavior in adulthood, but also of substance abuse, mental health problems and even physical health problems. For that reason, behavior problems are a key target for prevention efforts, and the study helps to understand and learn more about the brain regions associated with aggressive and antisocial behavior in young people.
However, even the degree to which these structural differences are related to environmental factors, such as smoking during pregnancy or childhood abuse is unknown. There are a lot of outstanding issues. For example, prospective longitudinal studies are also needed to assess whether these brain differences are present early in life and persist for a long period of time.
The experts agree that future research will also be important to examine whether these brain differences may be modified by therapeutic interventions. The answers to these questions will possibly be achieved in the near multicenter work. This is new research that will focus on children and adolescents in seven countries. Scientist will examine environmental and neurobiological factors in behavioral problems of young people.
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