Research Digests

  • Identifying imaging biomarkers in the neonatal brain

    The past decade has seen great improvements in magnetic resonance imaging technologies, such that it is now possible to image the developing brain in utero. In 2018, Dafnis Batalle and colleagues compiled an Annual Research Review for the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, where they evaluated the current status of neuroimaging research in neonates and paediatrics to determine the origins of neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders.

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  • Neuroscientific insight can boost learning: neuro-fact or neuro-fiction?

    Earlier this year, Professor Michael Thomas and colleagues compiled an Annual Research Review for the JCPP, highlighting the contributions that neuroscience can make to understanding learning and classroom teaching. Here, we summarise their main findings, the current challenges to the field and the future of educational neuroscience.

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  • The association between anxiety and poor school attendance

    School plays a key role in children’s development, and frequent absence from school increases the likelihood of a range of adverse outcomes in childhood and later life. This includes poor academic performance, social isolation, economic deprivation and unemployment in adulthood. There are many risk factors for frequent school absence, including factors related to the child and their family, school and community.

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  • A theory of youth mental health recovery

    Mental health disorders have a negative impact on the individual, society and global economy. The prevalence of mental disorders is increasing in young people, and if unaddressed, research has shown that they may develop into severe and chronic illnesses. Despite this, research into youth mental health recovery is limited.

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  • The experiences of healthcare transitions between child and adult services for young people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a review of evidence

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterised by hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity. It affects around 5% of children, and can be a long term condition, with research showing that up to two thirds of young people with ADHD will continue to experience symptoms into adulthood. However, many young people with ongoing healthcare needs do not make the necessary transition from child to adult mental health services.

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  • Reporting of depression symptoms in children with ADHD: do parents know best?

    ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by hyperactive-impulsiveness and inattention. ADHD often co-occurs with emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety. Depression in particular is prominent amongst adolescents with ADHD, and can be difficult to identify as it can have similar features both to ADHD itself and to some of the side effects of ADHD medication.

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  • Working memory deficits may compromise cognitive flexibility in OCD

    Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterised by recurrent intrusive thoughts and/or behaviours. These traits imply deficits in cognitive flexibility in affected patients, but it is unclear at what stage of information processing these deficits might emerge. To address this question, Nicole Wolff and colleagues asked 25 adolescents with OCD and 25 matched healthy controls to complete a computer-based task switching paradigm.

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  • Cognitive flexibility in OCD: challenging the paradigm

    Data from a new study by Nicole Wolff and colleagues suggest that cognitive flexibility can be better in children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) than typically developing controls.

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  • Dysregulation profile risk may be identified in infancy

    The “dysregulation profile” (DP) describes a child psychopathology construct that measures broad-based, generalised emotional and behavioural dysregulation using the Child Behaviour Checklist

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  • Abnormal visual fixation does not mediate deficits in emotion recognition in conduct disorder

    Studies have shown that conduct disorder (CD) is associated with impaired recognition of facial emotions1, but whether the cause of this deficit is due to difficulties with attention, interpretation and/or appraisal is unclear. Now, researchers at the Universities of Southampton and Bath have addressed this question.

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