Navigation Links
NIH awards UCI $10 million to study early-life origins of adolescent mental disorders
Date:6/11/2013

Irvine, Calif., June 11, 2013 With $10 million in new federal funding, UC Irvine researchers will study how maternal signals and care before and after birth may increase an infant's vulnerability to adolescent cognitive and emotional problems, such as risky behaviors, addiction and depression.

Led by child neurologist and neuroscientist Dr. Tallie Z. Baram, the UC Irvine team has received a five-year Silvio O. Conte Center grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. The funding program brings together researchers with diverse expertise to gain new knowledge and improve the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders.

The grant will support the creation of the Conte Center on Brain Programming in Mental Disorders at UC Irvine.

"We appreciate that the National Institute of Mental Health strategic plan recognizes that most neuropsychiatric disorders have origins early in life," said Baram, the Danette "Dee Dee" Shepard Chair in Neurological Studies. "This complex problem requires a multidisciplinary approach that involves both animal and human research. Investigators at UC Irvine have distinguished themselves in this area, and we believe that with the Conte Center funding, we can make major contributions to our understanding of this issue."

A large body of work has suggested that signals conveyed by a mother during fetal growth and the first few years after birth influence a baby's development and cognitive and emotional functioning. The UC Irvine team suspects that the patterns or rhythms of maternal signals, rather than their general quantity or quality, are key.

In neurobiology, it's well known that patterns of signals influence the function of single neurons. Recent research at UC Irvine suggests that patterns also matter on a "macro" scale of the entire brain. Specifically, animal studies have shown that consistent and predictable maternal signals enhance cognitive and emotional development. In contrast, fragmented and unpredictable maternal care might have the opposite effect. Additionally, a study that tracked a cohort of mothers during pregnancy and then with their babies for a few years seemed to confirm this idea.

To connect these discoveries and their impact on adolescent cognitive behaviors, UC Irvine's Conte Center on Brain Programming in Mental Disorders will combine neurobiological and molecular research with animals, behavioral research with children, and neuroimaging and computational statistical analyses. Its goal is to create a comprehensive picture of maternal influences, childhood cognitive and emotional development, and brain structure to help identify children who may be vulnerable to adolescent mental health disorders and to help establish more effective treatments.

Center collaborators include the following:

  • Baram will investigate in rodent models how brain cells recognize patterns of maternal signals and how this influences the cellular machinery to change the expression of important genes throughout life.

  • Dr. Curt Sandman, professor emeritus of psychiatry & human behavior, and Elysia Poggi Davis, associate professor of psychiatry & human behavior, will examine the effect of frequent changes in maternal mood, including anxiety and depression, on the fetus during pregnancy. They will also track mothers and their infants after birth to determine whether inconsistency between fetal and neonatal maternal signals contributes significantly to later emotional and cognitive development. Davis will gauge stability in the patterns and sequences of maternal care in infancy and childhood and the impact of these patterns on brain structure and cognitive and emotional vulnerabilities during adolescence.

  • Steven Small, professor and chair of neurology, and Ana Solodkin, associate professor of anatomy & neurobiology, will use sophisticated imaging methods to reveal changes in brain structure, connectivity and function caused by patterns of maternal signals. This imaging will be conducted in parallel in children and rodent models, bridging the associational studies possible in humans and direct causal studies in rats and mice.

  • Hal Stern, dean of the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences, will direct approaches for creating mathematical cross-species models of fragmented and unpredictable maternal signals. He will explore the relationship between early development and subsequent vulnerabilities. His group also will provide statistical support for each of the projects, with an emphasis on integrating results of different data types (imaging, genetic and behavioral) at different ages to enhance the understanding of how adolescent mental health disorders develop.


'/>"/>

Contact: Tom Vasich
tmvasich@uci.edu
949-824-6455
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. U-M Water Center awards $570K in Great Lakes restoration grants
2. MARC Travel Awards announced for the ENDO 2013 95th Annual Meeting
3. MARC Travel Awards announced for the SDB 2013 72nd Annual Meeting
4. Center for Clinical and Translational Science awards new pilot grants
5. MARC travel awards announced for the 2013 60th Annual ACSM Meeting & 4th World Congress
6. Penn State Hass avocado research poster wins American Society For Nutrition Annual Awards
7. MARC travel awards announced for EB 2013
8. MARC travel awards announced for 2013 GSA Drosophila Research Conference
9. Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awards nearly $4 million in new NARSAD grants
10. The 2013 HFSP postdoctoral fellowship awards
11. AAOS awards recognize innovative orthopaedic research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/9/2016)... leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint attendance ... the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control the opening of ... ... ... Photo - ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... The Department of Transport Management (DOTM) of ... Dollar project, for the , Supply and Delivery ... IT Infrastructure , to Decatur ... Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors participated in the ... was selected for the most compliant and innovative solution. The ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... , May 24, 2016 Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing ...  3D medical LCD display is the latest premium product recently added to the range ... ... ... Sony 3d Imaging- LCD Medical Display- Ampronix News ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled a ... susceptible to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination ... The new test has already been incorporated into ... cancer types. Over 230 clinical trials ... pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston ... of novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness ... has been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the ... treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) ... inhibitor designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 new Young ... cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a pool of ... More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case ... Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer ... could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer ...
Breaking Biology Technology: