Displaying 1 - 100 of 431
  • Engelen, M. M., Franken, M.-C.-J., Stipdonk, L. W., Horton, S. E., Jackson, V. E., Reilly, S., Morgan, A. T., Fisher, S. E., Van Dulmen, S., & Eising, E. (in press). The association between stuttering burden and psychosocial aspects of life in adults. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.
  • Bignardi, G., Smit, D. J. A., Vessel, E. A., Trupp, M. D., Ticini, L. F., Fisher, S. E., & Polderman, T. J. C. (2024). Genetic effects on variability in visual aesthetic evaluations are partially shared across visual domains. Communications Biology, 7: 55. doi:10.1038/s42003-023-05710-4.

    Abstract

    The aesthetic values that individuals place on visual images are formed and shaped over a lifetime. However, whether the formation of visual aesthetic value is solely influenced by environmental exposure is still a matter of debate. Here, we considered differences in aesthetic value emerging across three visual domains: abstract images, scenes, and faces. We examined variability in two major dimensions of ordinary aesthetic experiences: taste-typicality and evaluation-bias. We build on two samples from the Australian Twin Registry where 1547 and 1231 monozygotic and dizygotic twins originally rated visual images belonging to the three domains. Genetic influences explained 26% to 41% of the variance in taste-typicality and evaluation-bias. Multivariate analyses showed that genetic effects were partially shared across visual domains. Results indicate that the heritability of major dimensions of aesthetic evaluations is comparable to that of other complex social traits, albeit lower than for other complex cognitive traits. The exception was taste-typicality for abstract images, for which we found only shared and unique environmental influences. Our study reveals that diverse sources of genetic and environmental variation influence the formation of aesthetic value across distinct visual domains and provides improved metrics to assess inter-individual differences in aesthetic value.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Boen, R., Kaufmann, T., Van der Meer, D., Frei, O., Agartz, I., Ames, D., Andersson, M., Armstrong, N. J., Artiges, E., Atkins, J. R., Bauer, J., Benedetti, F., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brosch, K., Buckner, R. L., Cairns, M. J., Calhoun, V., Caspers, S., Cichon, S. and 96 moreBoen, R., Kaufmann, T., Van der Meer, D., Frei, O., Agartz, I., Ames, D., Andersson, M., Armstrong, N. J., Artiges, E., Atkins, J. R., Bauer, J., Benedetti, F., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brosch, K., Buckner, R. L., Cairns, M. J., Calhoun, V., Caspers, S., Cichon, S., Corvin, A. P., Crespo Facorro, B., Dannlowski, U., David, F. S., De Geus, E. J., De Zubicaray, G. I., Desrivières, S., Doherty, J. L., Donohoe, G., Ehrlich, S., Eising, E., Espeseth, T., Fisher, S. E., Forstner, A. J., Fortaner Uyà, L., Frouin, V., Fukunaga, M., Ge, T., Glahn, D. C., Goltermann, J., Grabe, H. J., Green, M. J., Groenewold, N. A., Grotegerd, D., Hahn, T., Hashimoto, R., Hehir-Kwa, J. Y., Henskens, F. A., Holmes, A. J., Haberg, A. K., Haavik, J., Jacquemont, S., Jansen, A., Jockwitz, C., Jonsson, E. G., Kikuchi, M., Kircher, T., Kumar, K., Le Hellard, S., Leu, C., Linden, D. E., Liu, J., Loughnan, R., Mather, K. A., McMahon, K. L., McRae, A. F., Medland, S. E., Meinert, S., Moreau, C. A., Morris, D. W., Mowry, B. J., Muhleisen, T. W., Nenadić, I., Nöthen, M. M., Nyberg, L., Owen, M. J., Paolini, M., Paus, T., Pausova, Z., Persson, K., Quidé, Y., Reis Marques, T., Sachdev, P. S., Sando, S. B., Schall, U., Scott, R. J., Selbæk, G., Shumskaya, E., Silva, A. I., Sisodiya, S. M., Stein, F., Stein, D. J., Straube, B., Streit, F., Strike, L. T., Teumer, A., Teutenberg, L., Thalamuthu, A., Tooney, P. A., Tordesillas-Gutierrez, D., Trollor, J. N., Van 't Ent, D., Van den Bree, M. B. M., Van Haren, N. E. M., Vazquez-Bourgon, J., Volzke, H., Wen, W., Wittfeld, K., Ching, C. R., Westlye, L. T., Thompson, P. M., Bearden, C. E., Selmer, K. K., Alnæs, D., Andreassen, O. A., & Sonderby, I. E. (2024). Beyond the global brain differences: Intra-individual variability differences in 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion carriers. Biological Psychiatry, 95(2), 147-160. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2023.08.018.

    Abstract

    Background

    The 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNVs exhibit regional and global brain differences compared to non-carriers. However, interpreting regional differences is challenging if a global difference drives the regional brain differences. Intra-individual variability measures can be used to test for regional differences beyond global differences in brain structure.

    Methods

    Magnetic resonance imaging data were used to obtain regional brain values for 1q21.1 distal deletion (n=30) and duplication (n=27), and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion (n=170) and duplication (n=243) carriers and matched non-carriers (n=2,350). Regional intra-deviation (RID) scores i.e., the standardized difference between an individual’s regional difference and global difference, were used to test for regional differences that diverge from the global difference.

    Results

    For the 1q21.1 distal deletion carriers, cortical surface area for regions in the medial visual cortex, posterior cingulate and temporal pole differed less, and regions in the prefrontal and superior temporal cortex differed more than the global difference in cortical surface area. For the 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 deletion carriers, cortical thickness in regions in the medial visual cortex, auditory cortex and temporal pole differed less, and the prefrontal and somatosensory cortex differed more than the global difference in cortical thickness.

    Conclusion

    We find evidence for regional effects beyond differences in global brain measures in 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNVs. The results provide new insight into brain profiling of the 1q21.1 distal and 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNVs, with the potential to increase our understanding of mechanisms involved in altered neurodevelopment.

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Eising, E., Vino, A., Mabie, H. L., Campbell, T. F., Shriberg, L. D., & Fisher, S. E. (2024). Genome sequencing of idiopathic speech delay. Human Mutation, 2024: 9692863. doi:10.1155/2024/9692863.

    Abstract

    Genetic investigations of people with speech and language disorders can provide windows into key aspects of human biology. Most genomic research into impaired speech development has so far focused on childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), a rare neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties with coordinating rapid fine motor sequences that underlie proficient speech. In 2001, pathogenic variants of FOXP2 provided the first molecular genetic accounts of CAS aetiology. Since then, disruptions in several other genes have been implicated in CAS, with a substantial proportion of cases being explained by high-penetrance variants. However, the genetic architecture underlying other speech-related disorders remains less well understood. Thus, in the present study, we used systematic DNA sequencing methods to investigate idiopathic speech delay, as characterized by delayed speech development in the absence of a motor speech diagnosis (such as CAS), a language/reading disorder, or intellectual disability. We performed genome sequencing in a cohort of 23 children with a rigorous diagnosis of idiopathic speech delay. For roughly half of the sample (ten probands), sufficient DNA was also available for genome sequencing in both parents, allowing discovery of de novo variants. In the thirteen singleton probands, we focused on identifying loss-of-function and likely damaging missense variants in genes intolerant to such mutations. We found that one speech delay proband carried a pathogenic frameshift deletion in SETD1A, a gene previously implicated in a broader variable monogenic syndrome characterized by global developmental problems including delayed speech and/or language development, mild intellectual disability, facial dysmorphisms, and behavioural and psychiatric symptoms. Of note, pathogenic SETD1A variants have been independently reported in children with CAS in two separate studies. In other probands in our speech delay cohort, likely pathogenic missense variants were identified affecting highly conserved amino acids in key functional domains of SPTBN1 and ARF3. Overall, this study expands the phenotype spectrum associated with pathogenic SETD1A variants, to also include idiopathic speech delay without CAS or intellectual disability, and suggests additional novel potential candidate genes that may harbour high-penetrance variants that can disrupt speech development.

    Additional information

    supplemental table
  • Ge, R., Yu, Y., Qi, Y. X., Fan, Y.-n., Chen, S., Gao, C., Haas, S. S., New, F., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brouwer, R. M., Buckner, R., Caseras, X., Crivello, F., Crone, E. A., Erk, S., Fisher, S. E., Franke, B., Glahn, D. C., Dannlowski, U. Ge, R., Yu, Y., Qi, Y. X., Fan, Y.-n., Chen, S., Gao, C., Haas, S. S., New, F., Boomsma, D. I., Brodaty, H., Brouwer, R. M., Buckner, R., Caseras, X., Crivello, F., Crone, E. A., Erk, S., Fisher, S. E., Franke, B., Glahn, D. C., Dannlowski, U., Grotegerd, D., Gruber, O., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Schumann, G., Tamnes, C. K., Walter, H., Wierenga, L. M., Jahanshad, N., Thompson, P. M., Frangou, S., & ENIGMA Lifespan Working Group (2024). Normative modelling of brain morphometry across the lifespan with CentileBrain: Algorithm benchmarking and model optimisation. The Lancet Digital Health, 6(3), e211-e221. doi:10.1016/S2589-7500(23)00250-9.

    Abstract

    The value of normative models in research and clinical practice relies on their robustness and a systematic comparison of different modelling algorithms and parameters; however, this has not been done to date. We aimed to identify the optimal approach for normative modelling of brain morphometric data through systematic empirical benchmarking, by quantifying the accuracy of different algorithms and identifying parameters that optimised model performance. We developed this framework with regional morphometric data from 37 407 healthy individuals (53% female and 47% male; aged 3–90 years) from 87 datasets from Europe, Australia, the USA, South Africa, and east Asia following a comparative evaluation of eight algorithms and multiple covariate combinations pertaining to image acquisition and quality, parcellation software versions, global neuroimaging measures, and longitudinal stability. The multivariate fractional polynomial regression (MFPR) emerged as the preferred algorithm, optimised with non-linear polynomials for age and linear effects of global measures as covariates. The MFPR models showed excellent accuracy across the lifespan and within distinct age-bins and longitudinal stability over a 2-year period. The performance of all MFPR models plateaued at sample sizes exceeding 3000 study participants. This model can inform about the biological and behavioural implications of deviations from typical age-related neuroanatomical changes and support future study designs. The model and scripts described here are freely available through CentileBrain.
  • Goltermann*, O., Alagöz*, G., Molz, B., & Fisher, S. E. (2024). Neuroimaging genomics as a window into the evolution of human sulcal organization. Cerebral Cortex, 34(3): bhae078. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhae078.

    Abstract

    * Ole Goltermann and Gökberk Alagöz contributed equally.
    Primate brain evolution has involved prominent expansions of the cerebral cortex, with largest effects observed in the human lineage. Such expansions were accompanied by fine-grained anatomical alterations, including increased cortical folding. However, the molecular bases of evolutionary alterations in human sulcal organization are not yet well understood. Here, we integrated data from recently completed large-scale neuroimaging genetic analyses with annotations of the human genome relevant to various periods and events in our evolutionary history. These analyses identified single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) heritability enrichments in fetal brain human-gained enhancer (HGE) elements for a number of sulcal structures, including the central sulcus, which is implicated in human hand dexterity. We zeroed in on a genomic region that harbors DNA variants associated with left central sulcus shape, an HGE element, and genetic loci involved in neurogenesis including ZIC4, to illustrate the value of this approach for probing the complex factors contributing to human sulcal evolution.

    Additional information

    supplementary data link to preprint
  • De Hoyos, L., Barendse, M. T., Schlag, F., Van Donkelaar, M. M. J., Verhoef, E., Shapland, C. Y., Klassmann, A., Buitelaar, J., Verhulst, B., Fisher, S. E., Rai, D., & St Pourcain, B. (2024). Structural models of genome-wide covariance identify multiple common dimensions in autism. Nature Communications, 15: 1770. doi:10.1038/s41467-024-46128-8.

    Abstract

    Common genetic variation has been associated with multiple symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, our knowledge of shared genetic factor structures contributing to this highly heterogeneous neurodevelopmental condition is limited. Here, we developed a structural equation modelling framework to directly model genome-wide covariance across core and non-core ASD phenotypes, studying autistic individuals of European descent using a case-only design. We identified three independent genetic factors most strongly linked to language/cognition, behaviour and motor development, respectively, when studying a population-representative sample (N=5,331). These analyses revealed novel associations. For example, developmental delay in acquiring personal-social skills was inversely related to language, while developmental motor delay was linked to self-injurious behaviour. We largely confirmed the three-factorial structure in independent ASD-simplex families (N=1,946), but uncovered simplex-specific genetic overlap between behaviour and language phenotypes. Thus, the common genetic architecture in ASD is multi-dimensional and contributes, in combination with ascertainment-specific patterns, to phenotypic heterogeneity.
  • Oblong, L. M., Soheili-Nezhad, S., Trevisan, N., Shi, Y., Beckmann, C. F., & Sprooten, E. (2024). Principal and independent genomic components of brain structure and function. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 23(1): e12876. doi:10.1111/gbb.12876.

    Abstract

    The highly polygenic and pleiotropic nature of behavioural traits, psychiatric disorders and structural and functional brain phenotypes complicate mechanistic interpretation of related genome-wide association study (GWAS) signals, thereby obscuring underlying causal biological processes. We propose genomic principal and independent component analysis (PCA, ICA) to decompose a large set of univariate GWAS statistics of multimodal brain traits into more interpretable latent genomic components. Here we introduce and evaluate this novel methods various analytic parameters and reproducibility across independent samples. Two UK Biobank GWAS summary statistic releases of 2240 imaging-derived phenotypes (IDPs) were retrieved. Genome-wide beta-values and their corresponding standard-error scaled z-values were decomposed using genomic PCA/ICA. We evaluated variance explained at multiple dimensions up to 200. We tested the inter-sample reproducibility of output of dimensions 5, 10, 25 and 50. Reproducibility statistics of the respective univariate GWAS served as benchmarks. Reproducibility of 10-dimensional PCs and ICs showed the best trade-off between model complexity and robustness and variance explained (PCs: |rz − max| = 0.33, |rraw − max| = 0.30; ICs: |rz − max| = 0.23, |rraw − max| = 0.19). Genomic PC and IC reproducibility improved substantially relative to mean univariate GWAS reproducibility up to dimension 10. Genomic components clustered along neuroimaging modalities. Our results indicate that genomic PCA and ICA decompose genetic effects on IDPs from GWAS statistics with high reproducibility by taking advantage of the inherent pleiotropic patterns. These findings encourage further applications of genomic PCA and ICA as fully data-driven methods to effectively reduce the dimensionality, enhance the signal to noise ratio and improve interpretability of high-dimensional multitrait genome-wide analyses.
  • Schijven, D., Soheili-Nezhad, S., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2024). Exome-wide analysis implicates rare protein-altering variants in human handedness. Nature Communications, 15: 2632. doi:10.1038/s41467-024-46277-w.

    Abstract

    Handedness is a manifestation of brain hemispheric specialization. Left-handedness occurs at increased rates in neurodevelopmental disorders. Genome-wide association studies have identified common genetic effects on handedness or brain asymmetry, which mostly involve variants outside protein-coding regions and may affect gene expression. Implicated genes include several that encode tubulins (microtubule components) or microtubule-associated proteins. Here we examine whether left-handedness is also influenced by rare coding variants (frequencies ≤ 1%), using exome data from 38,043 left-handed and 313,271 right-handed individuals from the UK Biobank. The beta-tubulin gene TUBB4B shows exome-wide significant association, with a rate of rare coding variants 2.7 times higher in left-handers than right-handers. The TUBB4B variants are mostly heterozygous missense changes, but include two frameshifts found only in left-handers. Other TUBB4B variants have been linked to sensorineural and/or ciliopathic disorders, but not the variants found here. Among genes previously implicated in autism or schizophrenia by exome screening, DSCAM and FOXP1 show evidence for rare coding variant association with left-handedness. The exome-wide heritability of left-handedness due to rare coding variants was 0.91%. This study reveals a role for rare, protein-altering variants in left-handedness, providing further evidence for the involvement of microtubules and disorder-relevant genes.
  • Soheili-Nezhad, S., Ibáñez-Solé, O., Izeta, A., Hoeijmakers, J. H. J., & Stoeger, T. (2024). Time is ticking faster for long genes in aging. Trends in Genetics. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.tig.2024.01.009.

    Abstract

    Recent studies of aging organisms have identified a systematic phenomenon, characterized by a negative correlation between gene length and their expression in various cell types, species, and diseases. We term this phenomenon gene-length-dependent transcription decline (GLTD) and suggest that it may represent a bottleneck in the transcription machinery and thereby significantly contribute to aging as an etiological factor. We review potential links between GLTD and key aging processes such as DNA damage and explore their potential in identifying disease modification targets. Notably, in Alzheimer’s disease, GLTD spotlights extremely long synaptic genes at chromosomal fragile sites (CFSs) and their vulnerability to postmitotic DNA damage. We suggest that GLTD is an integral element of biological aging.
  • Wesseldijk, L. W., Henechowicz, T. L., Baker, D. J., Bignardi, G., Karlsson, R., Gordon, R. L., Mosing, M. A., Ullén, F., & Fisher, S. E. (2024). Notes from Beethoven’s genome. Current Biology, 34(6), R233-R234. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2024.01.025.

    Abstract

    Rapid advances over the last decade in DNA sequencing and statistical genetics enable us to investigate the genomic makeup of individuals throughout history. In a recent notable study, Begg et al.1 used Ludwig van Beethoven’s hair strands for genome sequencing and explored genetic predispositions for some of his documented medical issues. Given that it was arguably Beethoven’s skills as a musician and composer that made him an iconic figure in Western culture, we here extend the approach and apply it to musicality. We use this as an example to illustrate the broader challenges of individual-level genetic predictions.

    Additional information

    supplemental information
  • Abbondanza, F., Dale, P. S., Wang, C. A., Hayiou‐Thomas, M. E., Toseeb, U., Koomar, T. S., Wigg, K. G., Feng, Y., Price, K. M., Kerr, E. N., Guger, S. L., Lovett, M. W., Strug, L. J., Van Bergen, E., Dolan, C. V., Tomblin, J. B., Moll, K., Schulte‐Körne, G., Neuhoff, N., Warnke, A. and 13 moreAbbondanza, F., Dale, P. S., Wang, C. A., Hayiou‐Thomas, M. E., Toseeb, U., Koomar, T. S., Wigg, K. G., Feng, Y., Price, K. M., Kerr, E. N., Guger, S. L., Lovett, M. W., Strug, L. J., Van Bergen, E., Dolan, C. V., Tomblin, J. B., Moll, K., Schulte‐Körne, G., Neuhoff, N., Warnke, A., Fisher, S. E., Barr, C. L., Michaelson, J. J., Boomsma, D. I., Snowling, M. J., Hulme, C., Whitehouse, A. J. O., Pennell, C. E., Newbury, D. F., Stein, J., Talcott, J. B., Bishop, D. V. M., & Paracchini, S. (2023). Language and reading impairments are associated with increased prevalence of non‐right‐handedness. Child Development, 94(4), 970-984. doi:10.1111/cdev.13914.

    Abstract

    Handedness has been studied for association with language-related disorders because of its link with language hemispheric dominance. No clear pattern has emerged, possibly because of small samples, publication bias, and heterogeneous criteria across studies. Non-right-handedness (NRH) frequency was assessed in N = 2503 cases with reading and/or language impairment and N = 4316 sex-matched controls identified from 10 distinct cohorts (age range 6–19 years old; European ethnicity) using a priori set criteria. A meta-analysis (Ncases = 1994) showed elevated NRH % in individuals with language/reading impairment compared with controls (OR = 1.21, CI = 1.06–1.39, p = .01). The association between reading/language impairments and NRH could result from shared pathways underlying brain lateralization, handedness, and cognitive functions.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Barendse, M. T., & Rosseel, Y. (2023). Multilevel SEM with random slopes in discrete data using the pairwise maximum likelihood. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, 76(2), 327-352. doi:10.1111/bmsp.12294.

    Abstract

    Pairwise maximum likelihood (PML) estimation is a promising method for multilevel models with discrete responses. Multilevel models take into account that units within a cluster tend to be more alike than units from different clusters. The pairwise likelihood is then obtained as the product of bivariate likelihoods for all within-cluster pairs of units and items. In this study, we investigate the PML estimation method with computationally intensive multilevel random intercept and random slope structural equation models (SEM) in discrete data. In pursuing this, we first reconsidered the general ‘wide format’ (WF) approach for SEM models and then extend the WF approach with random slopes. In a small simulation study we the determine accuracy and efficiency of the PML estimation method by varying the sample size (250, 500, 1000, 2000), response scales (two-point, four-point), and data-generating model (mediation model with three random slopes, factor model with one and two random slopes). Overall, results show that the PML estimation method is capable of estimating computationally intensive random intercept and random slopes multilevel models in the SEM framework with discrete data and many (six or more) latent variables with satisfactory accuracy and efficiency. However, the condition with 250 clusters combined with a two-point response scale shows more bias.

    Additional information

    figures
  • Corradi, Z., Khan, M., Hitti-Malin, R., Mishra, K., Whelan, L., Cornelis, S. S., ABCA4-Study Group, Hoyng, C. B., Kämpjärvi, K., Klaver, C. C. W., Liskova, P., Stohr, H., Weber, B. H. F., Banfi, S., Farrar, G. J., Sharon, D., Zernant, J., Allikmets, R., Dhaenens, C.-M., & Cremers, F. P. M. (2023). Targeted sequencing and in vitro splice assays shed light on ABCA4-associated retinopathies missing heritability. Human Genetics and Genomics Advances, 4(4): 100237. doi:10.1016/j.xhgg.2023.100237.

    Abstract

    The ABCA4 gene is the most frequently mutated Mendelian retinopathy-associated gene. Biallelic variants lead to a variety of phenotypes, however, for thousands of cases the underlying variants remain unknown. Here, we aim to shed further light on the missing heritability of ABCA4-associated retinopathy by analyzing a large cohort of macular dystrophy probands. A total of 858 probands were collected from 26 centers, of whom 722 carried no or one pathogenic ABCA4 variant while 136 cases carried two ABCA4 alleles, one of which was a frequent mild variant, suggesting that deep-intronic variants (DIVs) or other cis-modifiers might have been missed. After single molecule molecular inversion probes (smMIPs)-based sequencing of the complete 128-kb ABCA4 locus, the effect of putative splice variants was assessed in vitro by midigene splice assays in HEK293T cells. The breakpoints of copy number variants (CNVs) were determined by junction PCR and Sanger sequencing. ABCA4 sequence analysis solved 207/520 (39.8%) naïve or unsolved cases and 70/202 (34.7%) monoallelic cases, while additional causal variants were identified in 54/136 (39.7%) of probands carrying two variants. Seven novel DIVs and six novel non-canonical splice site variants were detected in a total of 35 alleles and characterized, including the c.6283-321C>G variant leading to a complex splicing defect. Additionally, four novel CNVs were identified and characterized in five alleles. These results confirm that smMIPs-based sequencing of the complete ABCA4 gene provides a cost-effective method to genetically solve retinopathy cases and that several rare structural and splice altering defects remain undiscovered in STGD1 cases.
  • Dingemans, A. J. M., Hinne, M., Truijen, K. M. G., Goltstein, L., Van Reeuwijk, J., De Leeuw, N., Schuurs-Hoeijmakers, J., Pfundt, R., Diets, I. J., Den Hoed, J., De Boer, E., Coenen-Van der Spek, J., Jansen, S., Van Bon, B. W., Jonis, N., Ockeloen, C. W., Vulto-van Silfhout, A. T., Kleefstra, T., Koolen, D. A., Campeau, P. M. and 13 moreDingemans, A. J. M., Hinne, M., Truijen, K. M. G., Goltstein, L., Van Reeuwijk, J., De Leeuw, N., Schuurs-Hoeijmakers, J., Pfundt, R., Diets, I. J., Den Hoed, J., De Boer, E., Coenen-Van der Spek, J., Jansen, S., Van Bon, B. W., Jonis, N., Ockeloen, C. W., Vulto-van Silfhout, A. T., Kleefstra, T., Koolen, D. A., Campeau, P. M., Palmer, E. E., Van Esch, H., Lyon, G. J., Alkuraya, F. S., Rauch, A., Marom, R., Baralle, D., Van der Sluijs, P. J., Santen, G. W. E., Kooy, R. F., Van Gerven, M. A. J., Vissers, L. E. L. M., & De Vries, B. B. A. (2023). PhenoScore quantifies phenotypic variation for rare genetic diseases by combining facial analysis with other clinical features using a machine-learning framework. Nature Genetics, 55, 1598-1607. doi:10.1038/s41588-023-01469-w.

    Abstract

    Several molecular and phenotypic algorithms exist that establish genotype–phenotype correlations, including facial recognition tools. However, no unified framework that investigates both facial data and other phenotypic data directly from individuals exists. We developed PhenoScore: an open-source, artificial intelligence-based phenomics framework, combining facial recognition technology with Human Phenotype Ontology data analysis to quantify phenotypic similarity. Here we show PhenoScore’s ability to recognize distinct phenotypic entities by establishing recognizable phenotypes for 37 of 40 investigated syndromes against clinical features observed in individuals with other neurodevelopmental disorders and show it is an improvement on existing approaches. PhenoScore provides predictions for individuals with variants of unknown significance and enables sophisticated genotype–phenotype studies by testing hypotheses on possible phenotypic (sub)groups. PhenoScore confirmed previously known phenotypic subgroups caused by variants in the same gene for SATB1, SETBP1 and DEAF1 and provides objective clinical evidence for two distinct ADNP-related phenotypes, already established functionally.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Galke, L., Vagliano, I., Franke, B., Zielke, T., & Scherp, A. (2023). Lifelong learning on evolving graphs under the constraints of imbalanced classes and new classes. Neural networks, 164, 156-176. doi:10.1016/j.neunet.2023.04.022.

    Abstract

    Lifelong graph learning deals with the problem of continually adapting graph neural network (GNN) models to changes in evolving graphs. We address two critical challenges of lifelong graph learning in this work: dealing with new classes and tackling imbalanced class distributions. The combination of these two challenges is particularly relevant since newly emerging classes typically resemble only a tiny fraction of the data, adding to the already skewed class distribution. We make several contributions: First, we show that the amount of unlabeled data does not influence the results, which is an essential prerequisite for lifelong learning on a sequence of tasks. Second, we experiment with different label rates and show that our methods can perform well with only a tiny fraction of annotated nodes. Third, we propose the gDOC method to detect new classes under the constraint of having an imbalanced class distribution. The critical ingredient is a weighted binary cross-entropy loss function to account for the class imbalance. Moreover, we demonstrate combinations of gDOC with various base GNN models such as GraphSAGE, Simplified Graph Convolution, and Graph Attention Networks. Lastly, our k-neighborhood time difference measure provably normalizes the temporal changes across different graph datasets. With extensive experimentation, we find that the proposed gDOC method is consistently better than a naive adaption of DOC to graphs. Specifically, in experiments using the smallest history size, the out-of-distribution detection score of gDOC is 0.09 compared to 0.01 for DOC. Furthermore, gDOC achieves an Open-F1 score, a combined measure of in-distribution classification and out-of-distribution detection, of 0.33 compared to 0.25 of DOC (32% increase).

    Additional information

    Link to preprint version code datasets
  • González-Peñas, J., De Hoyos, L., Díaz-Caneja, C. M., Andreu-Bernabeu, Á., Stella, C., Gurriarán, X., Fañanás, L., Bobes, J., González-Pinto, A., Crespo-Facorro, B., Martorell, L., Vilella, E., Muntané, G., Molto, M. D., Gonzalez-Piqueras, J. C., Parellada, M., Arango, C., & Costas, J. (2023). Recent natural selection conferred protection against schizophrenia by non-antagonistic pleiotropy. Scientific Reports, 13: 15500. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-42578-0.

    Abstract

    Schizophrenia is a debilitating psychiatric disorder associated with a reduced fertility and decreased life expectancy, yet common predisposing variation substantially contributes to the onset of the disorder, which poses an evolutionary paradox. Previous research has suggested balanced selection, a mechanism by which schizophrenia risk alleles could also provide advantages under certain environments, as a reliable explanation. However, recent studies have shown strong evidence against a positive selection of predisposing loci. Furthermore, evolutionary pressures on schizophrenia risk alleles could have changed throughout human history as new environments emerged. Here in this study, we used 1000 Genomes Project data to explore the relationship between schizophrenia predisposing loci and recent natural selection (RNS) signatures after the human diaspora out of Africa around 100,000 years ago on a genome-wide scale. We found evidence for significant enrichment of RNS markers in derived alleles arisen during human evolution conferring protection to schizophrenia. Moreover, both partitioned heritability and gene set enrichment analyses of mapped genes from schizophrenia predisposing loci subject to RNS revealed a lower involvement in brain and neuronal related functions compared to those not subject to RNS. Taken together, our results suggest non-antagonistic pleiotropy as a likely mechanism behind RNS that could explain the persistence of schizophrenia common predisposing variation in human populations due to its association to other non-psychiatric phenotypes.
  • Heim, F., Fisher, S. E., Scharff, C., Ten Cate, C., & Riebel, K. (2023). Effects of cortical FoxP1 knockdowns on learned song preference in female zebra finches. eNeuro, 10(3): ENEURO.0328-22.2023. doi:10.1523/ENEURO.0328-22.2023.

    Abstract

    The search for molecular underpinnings of human vocal communication has focused on genes encoding forkhead-box transcription factors, as rare disruptions of FOXP1, FOXP2, and FOXP4 have been linked to disorders involving speech and language deficits. In male songbirds, an animal model for vocal learning, experimentally altered expression levels of these transcription factors impair song production learning. The relative contributions of auditory processing, motor function or auditory-motor integration to the deficits observed after different FoxP manipulations in songbirds are unknown. To examine the potential effects on auditory learning and development, we focused on female zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) that do not sing but develop song memories, which can be assayed in operant preference tests. We tested whether the relatively high levels of FoxP1 expression in forebrain areas implicated in female song preference learning are crucial for the development and/or maintenance of this behavior. Juvenile and adult female zebra finches received FoxP1 knockdowns targeted to HVC (proper name) or to the caudomedial mesopallium (CMM). Irrespective of target site and whether the knockdown took place before (juveniles) or after (adults) the sensitive phase for song memorization, all groups preferred their tutor’s song. However, adult females with FoxP1 knockdowns targeted at HVC showed weaker motivation to hear song and weaker song preferences than sham-treated controls, while no such differences were observed after knockdowns in CMM or in juveniles. In summary, FoxP1 knockdowns in the cortical song nucleus HVC were not associated with impaired tutor song memory but reduced motivation to actively request tutor songs.
  • Horton, S., Jackson, V., Boyce, J., Franken, M.-C., Siemers, S., St John, M., Hearps, S., Van Reyk, O., Braden, R., Parker, R., Vogel, A. P., Eising, E., Amor, D. J., Irvine, J., Fisher, S. E., Martin, N. G., Reilly, S., Bahlo, M., Scheffer, I., & Morgan, A. (2023). Self-reported stuttering severity is accurate: Informing methods for large-scale data collection in stuttering. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication. doi:10.1044/2023_JSLHR-23-00081.

    Abstract

    Purpose:
    To our knowledge, there are no data examining the agreement between self-reported and clinician-rated stuttering severity. In the era of big data, self-reported ratings have great potential utility for large-scale data collection, where cost and time preclude in-depth assessment by a clinician. Equally, there is increasing emphasis on the need to recognize an individual's experience of their own condition. Here, we examined the agreement between self-reported stuttering severity compared to clinician ratings during a speech assessment. As a secondary objective, we determined whether self-reported stuttering severity correlated with an individual's subjective impact of stuttering.

    Method:
    Speech-language pathologists conducted face-to-face speech assessments with 195 participants (137 males) aged 5–84 years, recruited from a cohort of people with self-reported stuttering. Stuttering severity was rated on a 10-point scale by the participant and by two speech-language pathologists. Participants also completed the Overall Assessment of the Subjective Experience of Stuttering (OASES). Clinician and participant ratings were compared. The association between stuttering severity and the OASES scores was examined.

    Results:
    There was a strong positive correlation between speech-language pathologist and participant-reported ratings of stuttering severity. Participant-reported stuttering severity correlated weakly with the four OASES domains and with the OASES overall impact score.

    Conclusions:
    Participants were able to accurately rate their stuttering severity during a speech assessment using a simple one-item question. This finding indicates that self-report stuttering severity is a suitable method for large-scale data collection. Findings also support the collection of self-report subjective experience data using questionnaires, such as the OASES, which add vital information about the participants' experience of stuttering that is not captured by overt speech severity ratings alone.
  • Kaspi, A., Hildebrand, M. S., Jackson, V. E., Braden, R., Van Reyk, O., Howell, T., Debono, S., Lauretta, M., Morison, L., Coleman, M. J., Webster, R., Coman, D., Goel, H., Wallis, M., Dabscheck, G., Downie, L., Baker, E. K., Parry-Fielder, B., Ballard, K., Harrold, E. and 10 moreKaspi, A., Hildebrand, M. S., Jackson, V. E., Braden, R., Van Reyk, O., Howell, T., Debono, S., Lauretta, M., Morison, L., Coleman, M. J., Webster, R., Coman, D., Goel, H., Wallis, M., Dabscheck, G., Downie, L., Baker, E. K., Parry-Fielder, B., Ballard, K., Harrold, E., Ziegenfusz, S., Bennett, M. F., Robertson, E., Wang, L., Boys, A., Fisher, S. E., Amor, D. J., Scheffer, I. E., Bahlo, M., & Morgan, A. T. (2023). Genetic aetiologies for childhood speech disorder: Novel pathways co-expressed during brain development. Molecular Psychiatry, 28, 1647-1663. doi:10.1038/s41380-022-01764-8.

    Abstract

    Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), the prototypic severe childhood speech disorder, is characterized by motor programming and planning deficits. Genetic factors make substantive contributions to CAS aetiology, with a monogenic pathogenic variant identified in a third of cases, implicating around 20 single genes to date. Here we aimed to identify molecular causation in 70 unrelated probands ascertained with CAS. We performed trio genome sequencing. Our bioinformatic analysis examined single nucleotide, indel, copy number, structural and short tandem repeat variants. We prioritised appropriate variants arising de novo or inherited that were expected to be damaging based on in silico predictions. We identified high confidence variants in 18/70 (26%) probands, almost doubling the current number of candidate genes for CAS. Three of the 18 variants affected SETBP1, SETD1A and DDX3X, thus confirming their roles in CAS, while the remaining 15 occurred in genes not previously associated with this disorder. Fifteen variants arose de novo and three were inherited. We provide further novel insights into the biology of child speech disorder, highlighting the roles of chromatin organization and gene regulation in CAS, and confirm that genes involved in CAS are co-expressed during brain development. Our findings confirm a diagnostic yield comparable to, or even higher, than other neurodevelopmental disorders with substantial de novo variant burden. Data also support the increasingly recognised overlaps between genes conferring risk for a range of neurodevelopmental disorders. Understanding the aetiological basis of CAS is critical to end the diagnostic odyssey and ensure affected individuals are poised for precision medicine trials.
  • Lemaitre, H., Le Guen, Y., Tilot, A. K., Stein, J. L., Philippe, C., Mangin, J.-F., Fisher, S. E., & Frouin, V. (2023). Genetic variations within human gained enhancer elements affect human brain sulcal morphology. NeuroImage, 265: 119773. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.119773.

    Abstract

    The expansion of the cerebral cortex is one of the most distinctive changes in the evolution of the human brain. Cortical expansion and related increases in cortical folding may have contributed to emergence of our capacities for high-order cognitive abilities. Molecular analysis of humans, archaic hominins, and non-human primates has allowed identification of chromosomal regions showing evolutionary changes at different points of our phylogenetic history. In this study, we assessed the contributions of genomic annotations spanning 30 million years to human sulcal morphology measured via MRI in more than 18,000 participants from the UK Biobank. We found that variation within brain-expressed human gained enhancers, regulatory genetic elements that emerged since our last common ancestor with Old World monkeys, explained more trait heritability than expected for the left and right calloso-marginal posterior fissures and the right central sulcus. Intriguingly, these are sulci that have been previously linked to the evolution of locomotion in primates and later on bipedalism in our hominin ancestors.

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    tables
  • Melnychuk, T., Galke, L., Seidlmayer, E., Bröring, S., Förstner, K. U., Tochtermann, K., & Schultz, C. (2023). Development of similarity measures from graph-structured bibliographic metadata: An application to identify scientific convergence. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management. Advance online publication. doi:10.1109/TEM.2023.3308008.

    Abstract

    Scientific convergence is a phenomenon where the distance between hitherto distinct scientific fields narrows and the fields gradually overlap over time. It is creating important potential for research, development, and innovation. Although scientific convergence is crucial for the development of radically new technology, the identification of emerging scientific convergence is particularly difficult since the underlying knowledge flows are rather fuzzy and unstable in the early convergence stage. Nevertheless, novel scientific publications emerging at the intersection of different knowledge fields may reflect convergence processes. Thus, in this article, we exploit the growing number of research and digital libraries providing bibliographic metadata to propose an automated analysis of science dynamics. We utilize and adapt machine-learning methods (DeepWalk) to automatically learn a similarity measure between scientific fields from graphs constructed on bibliographic metadata. With a time-based perspective, we apply our approach to analyze the trajectories of evolving similarities between scientific fields. We validate the learned similarity measure by evaluating it within the well-explored case of cholesterol-lowering ingredients in which scientific convergence between the distinct scientific fields of nutrition and pharmaceuticals has partially taken place. Our results confirm that the similarity trajectories learned by our approach resemble the expected behavior, indicating that our approach may allow researchers and practitioners to detect and predict scientific convergence early.
  • Morison, L., Meffert, E., Stampfer, M., Steiner-Wilke, I., Vollmer, B., Schulze, K., Briggs, T., Braden, R., Vogel, A. P., Thompson-Lake, D., Patel, C., Blair, E., Goel, H., Turner, S., Moog, U., Riess, A., Liegeois, F., Koolen, D. A., Amor, D. J., Kleefstra, T. and 3 moreMorison, L., Meffert, E., Stampfer, M., Steiner-Wilke, I., Vollmer, B., Schulze, K., Briggs, T., Braden, R., Vogel, A. P., Thompson-Lake, D., Patel, C., Blair, E., Goel, H., Turner, S., Moog, U., Riess, A., Liegeois, F., Koolen, D. A., Amor, D. J., Kleefstra, T., Fisher, S. E., Zweier, C., & Morgan, A. T. (2023). In-depth characterisation of a cohort of individuals with missense and loss-of-function variants disrupting FOXP2. Journal of Medical Genetics, 60(6), 597-607. doi:10.1136/jmg-2022-108734.

    Abstract

    Background
    Heterozygous disruptions of FOXP2 were the first identified molecular cause for severe speech disorder; childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), yet few cases have been reported, limiting knowledge of the condition.

    Methods
    Here we phenotyped 29 individuals from 18 families with pathogenic FOXP2-only variants (13 loss-of-function, 5 missense variants; 14 males; aged 2 years to 62 years). Health and development (cognitive, motor, social domains) was examined, including speech and language outcomes with the first cross-linguistic analysis of English and German.

    Results
    Speech disorders were prevalent (24/26, 92%) and CAS was most common (23/26, 89%), with similar speech presentations across English and German. Speech was still impaired in adulthood and some speech sounds (e.g. ‘th’, ‘r’, ‘ch’, ‘j’) were never acquired. Language impairments (22/26, 85%) ranged from mild to severe. Comorbidities included feeding difficulties in infancy (10/27, 37%), fine (14/27, 52%) and gross (14/27, 52%) motor impairment, anxiety (6/28, 21%), depression (7/28, 25%), and sleep disturbance (11/15, 44%). Physical features were common (23/28, 82%) but with no consistent pattern. Cognition ranged from average to mildly impaired, and was incongruent with language ability; for example, seven participants with severe language disorder had average non-verbal cognition.

    Conclusions
    Although we identify increased prevalence of conditions like anxiety, depression and sleep disturbance, we confirm that the consequences of FOXP2 dysfunction remain relatively specific to speech disorder, as compared to other recently identified monogenic conditions associated with CAS. Thus, our findings reinforce that FOXP2 provides a valuable entrypoint for examining the neurobiological bases of speech disorder.
  • Oliveira‑Stahl, G., Farboud, S., Sterling, M. L., Heckman, J. J., Van Raalte, B., Lenferink, D., Van der Stam, A., Smeets, C. J. L. M., Fisher, S. E., & Englitz, B. (2023). High-precision spatial analysis of mouse courtship vocalization behavior reveals sex and strain differences. Scientific Reports, 13: 5219. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-31554-3.

    Abstract

    Mice display a wide repertoire of vocalizations that varies with sex, strain, and context. Especially during social interaction, including sexually motivated dyadic interaction, mice emit sequences of ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) of high complexity. As animals of both sexes vocalize, a reliable attribution of USVs to their emitter is essential. The state-of-the-art in sound localization for USVs in 2D allows spatial localization at a resolution of multiple centimeters. However, animals interact at closer ranges, e.g. snout-to-snout. Hence, improved algorithms are required to reliably assign USVs. We present a novel algorithm, SLIM (Sound Localization via Intersecting Manifolds), that achieves a 2–3-fold improvement in accuracy (13.1–14.3 mm) using only 4 microphones and extends to many microphones and localization in 3D. This accuracy allows reliable assignment of 84.3% of all USVs in our dataset. We apply SLIM to courtship interactions between adult C57Bl/6J wildtype mice and those carrying a heterozygous Foxp2 variant (R552H). The improved spatial accuracy reveals that vocalization behavior is dependent on the spatial relation between the interacting mice. Female mice vocalized more in close snout-to-snout interaction while male mice vocalized more when the male snout was in close proximity to the female's ano-genital region. Further, we find that the acoustic properties of the ultrasonic vocalizations (duration, Wiener Entropy, and sound level) are dependent on the spatial relation between the interacting mice as well as on the genotype. In conclusion, the improved attribution of vocalizations to their emitters provides a foundation for better understanding social vocal behaviors.

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  • Pender, R., Fearon, P., St Pourcain, B., Heron, J., & Mandy, W. (2023). Developmental trajectories of autistic social traits in the general population. Psychological Medicine, 53(3), 814-822. doi:10.1017/S0033291721002166.

    Abstract

    Background

    Autistic people show diverse trajectories of autistic traits over time, a phenomenon labelled ‘chronogeneity’. For example, some show a decrease in symptoms, whilst others experience an intensification of difficulties. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a dimensional condition, representing one end of a trait continuum that extends throughout the population. To date, no studies have investigated chronogeneity across the full range of autistic traits. We investigated the nature and clinical significance of autism trait chronogeneity in a large, general population sample.
    Methods

    Autistic social/communication traits (ASTs) were measured in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children using the Social and Communication Disorders Checklist (SCDC) at ages 7, 10, 13 and 16 (N = 9744). We used Growth Mixture Modelling (GMM) to identify groups defined by their AST trajectories. Measures of ASD diagnosis, sex, IQ and mental health (internalising and externalising) were used to investigate external validity of the derived trajectory groups.
    Results

    The selected GMM model identified four AST trajectory groups: (i) Persistent High (2.3% of sample), (ii) Persistent Low (83.5%), (iii) Increasing (7.3%) and (iv) Decreasing (6.9%) trajectories. The Increasing group, in which females were a slight majority (53.2%), showed dramatic increases in SCDC scores during adolescence, accompanied by escalating internalising and externalising difficulties. Two-thirds (63.6%) of the Decreasing group were male.
    Conclusions

    Clinicians should note that for some young people autism-trait-like social difficulties first emerge during adolescence accompanied by problems with mood, anxiety, conduct and attention. A converse, majority-male group shows decreasing social difficulties during adolescence.
  • Raghavan, R., Raviv, L., & Peeters, D. (2023). What's your point? Insights from virtual reality on the relation between intention and action in the production of pointing gestures. Cognition, 240: 105581. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2023.105581.

    Abstract

    Human communication involves the process of translating intentions into communicative actions. But how exactly do our intentions surface in the visible communicative behavior we display? Here we focus on pointing gestures, a fundamental building block of everyday communication, and investigate whether and how different types of underlying intent modulate the kinematics of the pointing hand and the brain activity preceding the gestural movement. In a dynamic virtual reality environment, participants pointed at a referent to either share attention with their addressee, inform their addressee, or get their addressee to perform an action. Behaviorally, it was observed that these different underlying intentions modulated how long participants kept their arm and finger still, both prior to starting the movement and when keeping their pointing hand in apex position. In early planning stages, a neurophysiological distinction was observed between a gesture that is used to share attitudes and knowledge with another person versus a gesture that mainly uses that person as a means to perform an action. Together, these findings suggest that our intentions influence our actions from the earliest neurophysiological planning stages to the kinematic endpoint of the movement itself.
  • Raviv, L., & Kirby, S. (2023). Self domestication and the cultural evolution of language. In J. J. Tehrani, J. Kendal, & R. Kendal (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Cultural Evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198869252.013.60.

    Abstract

    The structural design features of human language emerge in the process of cultural evolution, shaping languages over the course of communication, learning, and transmission. What role does this leave biological evolution? This chapter highlights the biological bases and preconditions that underlie the particular type of prosocial behaviours and cognitive inference abilities that are required for languages to emerge via cultural evolution to begin with.
  • Raviv, L., Jacobson, S. L., Plotnik, J. M., Bowman, J., Lynch, V., & Benítez-Burraco, A. (2023). Elephants as an animal model for self-domestication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(15): e2208607120. doi:10.1073/pnas.2208607120.

    Abstract

    Humans are unique in their sophisticated culture and societal structures, their complex languages, and their extensive tool use. According to the human self-domestication hypothesis, this unique set of traits may be the result of an evolutionary process of self-induced domestication, in which humans evolved to be less aggressive and more cooperative. However, the only other species that has been argued to be self-domesticated besides humans so far is bonobos, resulting in a narrow scope for investigating this theory limited to the primate order. Here, we propose an animal model for studying self-domestication: the elephant. First, we support our hypothesis with an extensive cross-species comparison, which suggests that elephants indeed exhibit many of the features associated with self-domestication (e.g., reduced aggression, increased prosociality, extended juvenile period, increased playfulness, socially regulated cortisol levels, and complex vocal behavior). Next, we present genetic evidence to reinforce our proposal, showing that genes positively selected in elephants are enriched in pathways associated with domestication traits and include several candidate genes previously associated with domestication. We also discuss several explanations for what may have triggered a self-domestication process in the elephant lineage. Our findings support the idea that elephants, like humans and bonobos, may be self-domesticated. Since the most recent common ancestor of humans and elephants is likely the most recent common ancestor of all placental mammals, our findings have important implications for convergent evolution beyond the primate taxa, and constitute an important advance toward understanding how and why self-domestication shaped humans’ unique cultural niche.

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  • Roe, J. M., Vidal-Piñeiro, D., Amlien, I. K., Pan, M., Sneve, M. H., Thiebaut de Schotten, M., Friedrich, P., Sha, Z., Francks, C., Eilertsen, E. M., Wang, Y., Walhovd, K. B., Fjell, A. M., & Westerhausen, R. (2023). Tracing the development and lifespan change of population-level structural asymmetry in the cerebral cortex. eLife, 12: e84685. doi:10.7554/eLife.84685.

    Abstract

    Cortical asymmetry is a ubiquitous feature of brain organization that is altered in neurodevelopmental disorders and aging. Achieving consensus on cortical asymmetries in humans is necessary to uncover the genetic-developmental mechanisms that shape them and factors moderating cortical lateralization. Here, we delineate population-level asymmetry in cortical thickness and surface area vertex-wise in 7 datasets and chart asymmetry trajectories across life (4-89 years; observations = 3937; 70% longitudinal). We reveal asymmetry interrelationships, heritability, and test associations in UK Biobank (N=∼37,500). Cortical asymmetry was robust across datasets. Whereas areal asymmetry is predominantly stable across life, thickness asymmetry grows in development and declines in aging. Areal asymmetry correlates in specific regions, whereas thickness asymmetry is globally interrelated across cortex and suggests high directional variability in global thickness lateralization. Areal asymmetry is moderately heritable (max h2SNP ∼19%), and phenotypic correlations are reflected by high genetic correlations, whereas heritability of thickness asymmetry is low. Finally, we detected an asymmetry association with cognition and confirm recently-reported handedness links. Results suggest areal asymmetry is developmentally stable and arises in early life, whereas developmental changes in thickness asymmetry may lead to directional variability of global thickness lateralization. Our results bear enough reproducibility to serve as a standard for future brain asymmetry studies.

    Additional information

    link to preprint supplementary files
  • Sajovic, J., Meglič, A., Corradi, Z., Khan, M., Maver, A., Vidmar, M. J., Hawlina, M., Cremers, F. P. M., & Fakin, A. (2023). ABCA4Variant c.5714+5G> A in trans with null alleles results in primary RPE damage. Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science, 64(12): 33. doi:10.1167/iovs.64.12.33.

    Abstract

    Purpose: To determine the disease pathogenesis associated with the frequent ABCA4 variant c.5714+5G>A (p.[=,Glu1863Leufs*33]).

    Methods: Patient-derived photoreceptor precursor cells were generated to analyze the effect of c.5714+5G>A on splicing and perform a quantitative analysis of c.5714+5G>A products. Patients with c.5714+5G>A in trans with a null allele (i.e., c.5714+5G>A patients; n = 7) were compared with patients with two null alleles (i.e., double null patients; n = 11); with a special attention to the degree of RPE atrophy (area of definitely decreased autofluorescence and the degree of photoreceptor impairment (outer nuclear layer thickness and pattern electroretinography amplitude).

    Results: RT-PCR of mRNA from patient-derived photoreceptor precursor cells showed exon 40 and exon 39/40 deletion products, as well as the normal transcript. Quantification of products showed 52.4% normal and 47.6% mutant ABCA4 mRNA. Clinically, c.5714+5G>A patients displayed significantly better structural and functional preservation of photoreceptors (thicker outer nuclear layer, presence of tubulations, higher pattern electroretinography amplitude) than double null patients with similar degrees of RPE loss, whereas double null patients exhibited signs of extensive photoreceptor ,damage even in the areas with preserved RPE.

    Conclusions: The prototypical STGD1 sequence of events of primary RPE and secondary photoreceptor damage is congruous with c.5714+5G>A, but not the double null genotype, which implies different and genotype-dependent disease mechanisms. We hypothesize that the relative photoreceptor sparing in c.5714+5G>A patients results from the remaining function of the ABCA4 transporter originating from the normally spliced product, possibly by decreasing the direct bisretinoid toxicity on photoreceptor membranes.
  • Schijven, D., Postema, M., Fukunaga, M., Matsumoto, J., Miura, K., De Zwarte, S. M., Van Haren, N. E. M., Cahn, W., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Kahn, R. S., Ayesa-Arriola, R., Ortiz-García de la Foz, V., Tordesillas-Gutierrez, D., Vázquez-Bourgon, J., Crespo-Facorro, B., Alnæs, D., Dahl, A., Westlye, L. T., Agartz, I., Andreassen, O. A. and 129 moreSchijven, D., Postema, M., Fukunaga, M., Matsumoto, J., Miura, K., De Zwarte, S. M., Van Haren, N. E. M., Cahn, W., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Kahn, R. S., Ayesa-Arriola, R., Ortiz-García de la Foz, V., Tordesillas-Gutierrez, D., Vázquez-Bourgon, J., Crespo-Facorro, B., Alnæs, D., Dahl, A., Westlye, L. T., Agartz, I., Andreassen, O. A., Jönsson, E. G., Kochunov, P., Bruggemann, J. M., Catts, S. V., Michie, P. T., Mowry, B. J., Quidé, Y., Rasser, P. E., Schall, U., Scott, R. J., Carr, V. J., Green, M. J., Henskens, F. A., Loughland, C. M., Pantelis, C., Weickert, C. S., Weickert, T. W., De Haan, L., Brosch, K., Pfarr, J.-K., Ringwald, K. G., Stein, F., Jansen, A., Kircher, T. T., Nenadić, I., Krämer, B., Gruber, O., Satterthwaite, T. D., Bustillo, J., Mathalon, D. H., Preda, A., Calhoun, V. D., Ford, J. M., Potkin, S. G., Chen, J., Tan, Y., Wang, Z., Xiang, H., Fan, F., Bernardoni, F., Ehrlich, S., Fuentes-Claramonte, P., Garcia-Leon, M. A., Guerrero-Pedraza, A., Salvador, R., Sarró, S., Pomarol-Clotet, E., Ciullo, V., Piras, F., Vecchio, D., Banaj, N., Spalletta, G., Michielse, S., Van Amelsvoort, T., Dickie, E. W., Voineskos, A. N., Sim, K., Ciufolini, S., Dazzan, P., Murray, R. M., Kim, W.-S., Chung, Y.-C., Andreou, C., Schmidt, A., Borgwardt, S., McIntosh, A. M., Whalley, H. C., Lawrie, S. M., Du Plessis, S., Luckhoff, H. K., Scheffler, F., Emsley, R., Grotegerd, D., Lencer, R., Dannlowski, U., Edmond, J. T., Rootes-Murdy, K., Stephen, J. M., Mayer, A. R., Antonucci, L. A., Fazio, L., Pergola, G., Bertolino, A., Díaz-Caneja, C. M., Janssen, J., Lois, N. G., Arango, C., Tomyshev, A. S., Lebedeva, I., Cervenka, S., Sellgren, C. M., Georgiadis, F., Kirschner, M., Kaiser, S., Hajek, T., Skoch, A., Spaniel, F., Kim, M., Kwak, Y. B., Oh, S., Kwon, J. S., James, A., Bakker, G., Knöchel, C., Stäblein, M., Oertel, V., Uhlmann, A., Howells, F. M., Stein, D. J., Temmingh, H. S., Diaz-Zuluaga, A. M., Pineda-Zapata, J. A., López-Jaramillo, C., Homan, S., Ji, E., Surbeck, W., Homan, P., Fisher, S. E., Franke, B., Glahn, D. C., Gur, R. C., Hashimoto, R., Jahanshad, N., Luders, E., Medland, S. E., Thompson, P. M., Turner, J. A., Van Erp, T. G., & Francks, C. (2023). Large-scale analysis of structural brain asymmetries in schizophrenia via the ENIGMA consortium. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(14): e2213880120. doi:10.1073/pnas.2213880120.

    Abstract

    Left–right asymmetry is an important organizing feature of the healthy brain that may be altered in schizophrenia, but most studies have used relatively small samples and heterogeneous approaches, resulting in equivocal findings. We carried out the largest case–control study of structural brain asymmetries in schizophrenia, with MRI data from 5,080 affected individuals and 6,015 controls across 46 datasets, using a single image analysis protocol. Asymmetry indexes were calculated for global and regional cortical thickness, surface area, and subcortical volume measures. Differences of asymmetry were calculated between affected individuals and controls per dataset, and effect sizes were meta-analyzed across datasets. Small average case–control differences were observed for thickness asymmetries of the rostral anterior cingulate and the middle temporal gyrus, both driven by thinner left-hemispheric cortices in schizophrenia. Analyses of these asymmetries with respect to the use of antipsychotic medication and other clinical variables did not show any significant associations. Assessment of age- and sex-specific effects revealed a stronger average leftward asymmetry of pallidum volume between older cases and controls. Case–control differences in a multivariate context were assessed in a subset of the data (N = 2,029), which revealed that 7% of the variance across all structural asymmetries was explained by case–control status. Subtle case–control differences of brain macrostructural asymmetry may reflect differences at the molecular, cytoarchitectonic, or circuit levels that have functional relevance for the disorder. Reduced left middle temporal cortical thickness is consistent with altered left-hemisphere language network organization in schizophrenia.

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  • Sha, Z., Schijven, D., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2023). Genetic architecture of the white matter connectome of the human brain. Science Advances, 9(7): eadd2870. doi:10.1126/sciadv.add2870.

    Abstract

    White matter tracts form the structural basis of large-scale brain networks. We applied brain-wide tractography to diffusion images from 30,810 adults (U.K. Biobank) and found significant heritability for 90 node-level and 851 edge-level network connectivity measures. Multivariate genome-wide association analyses identified 325 genetic loci, of which 80% had not been previously associated with brain metrics. Enrichment analyses implicated neurodevelopmental processes including neurogenesis, neural differentiation, neural migration, neural projection guidance, and axon development, as well as prenatal brain expression especially in stem cells, astrocytes, microglia, and neurons. The multivariate association profiles implicated 31 loci in connectivity between core regions of the left-hemisphere language network. Polygenic scores for psychiatric, neurological, and behavioral traits also showed significant multivariate associations with structural connectivity, each implicating distinct sets of brain regions with trait-relevant functional profiles. This large-scale mapping study revealed common genetic contributions to variation in the structural connectome of the human brain.
  • Snijders Blok, L., Verseput, J., Rots, D., Venselaar, H., Innes, A. M., Stumpel, C., Õunap, K., Reinson, K., Seaby, E. G., McKee, S., Burton, B., Kim, K., Van Hagen, J. M., Waisfisz, Q., Joset, P., Steindl, K., Rauch, A., Li, D., Zackai, E. H., Sheppard, S. E. and 29 moreSnijders Blok, L., Verseput, J., Rots, D., Venselaar, H., Innes, A. M., Stumpel, C., Õunap, K., Reinson, K., Seaby, E. G., McKee, S., Burton, B., Kim, K., Van Hagen, J. M., Waisfisz, Q., Joset, P., Steindl, K., Rauch, A., Li, D., Zackai, E. H., Sheppard, S. E., Keena, B., Hakonarson, H., Roos, A., Kohlschmidt, N., Cereda, A., Iascone, M., Rebessi, E., Kernohan, K. D., Campeau, P. M., Millan, F., Taylor, J. A., Lochmüller, H., Higgs, M. R., Goula, A., Bernhard, B., Velasco, D. J., Schmanski, A. A., Stark, Z., Gallacher, L., Pais, L., Marcogliese, P. C., Yamamoto, S., Raun, N., Jakub, T. E., Kramer, J. M., Den Hoed, J., Fisher, S. E., Brunner, H. G., & Kleefstra, T. (2023). A clustering of heterozygous missense variants in the crucial chromatin modifier WDR5 defines a new neurodevelopmental disorder. Human Genetics and Genomics Advances, 4(1): 100157. doi:10.1016/j.xhgg.2022.100157.

    Abstract

    WDR5 is a broadly studied, highly conserved key protein involved in a wide array of biological functions. Among these functions, WDR5 is a part of several protein complexes that affect gene regulation via post-translational modification of histones. We collected data from 11 unrelated individuals with six different rare de novo germline missense variants in WDR5; one identical variant was found in five individuals, and another variant in two individuals. All individuals had neurodevelopmental disorders including speech/language delays (N=11), intellectual disability (N=9), epilepsy (N=7) and autism spectrum disorder (N=4). Additional phenotypic features included abnormal growth parameters (N=7), heart anomalies (N=2) and hearing loss (N=2). Three-dimensional protein structures indicate that all the residues affected by these variants are located at the surface of one side of the WDR5 protein. It is predicted that five out of the six amino acid substitutions disrupt interactions of WDR5 with RbBP5 and/or KMT2A/C, as part of the COMPASS (complex proteins associated with Set1) family complexes. Our experimental approaches in Drosophila melanogaster and human cell lines show normal protein expression, localization and protein-protein interactions for all tested variants. These results, together with the clustering of variants in a specific region of WDR5 and the absence of truncating variants so far, suggest that dominant-negative or gain-of-function mechanisms might be at play. All in all, we define a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with missense variants in WDR5 and a broad range of features. This finding highlights the important role of genes encoding COMPASS family proteins in neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • Soheili-Nezhad, S., Sprooten, E., Tendolkar, I., & Medici, M. (2023). Exploring the genetic link between thyroid dysfunction and common psychiatric disorders: A specific hormonal or a general autoimmune comorbidity. Thyroid, 33(2), 159-168. doi:10.1089/thy.2022.0304.

    Abstract

    Background: The hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis coordinates brain development and postdevelopmental function. Thyroid hormone (TH) variations, even within the normal range, have been associated with the risk of developing common psychiatric disorders, although the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood.

    Methods: To get new insight into the potentially shared mechanisms underlying thyroid dysfunction and psychiatric disorders, we performed a comprehensive analysis of multiple phenotypic and genotypic databases. We investigated the relationship of thyroid disorders with depression, bipolar disorder (BIP), and anxiety disorders (ANXs) in 497,726 subjects from U.K. Biobank. We subsequently investigated genetic correlations between thyroid disorders, thyrotropin (TSH), and free thyroxine (fT4) levels, with the genome-wide factors that predispose to psychiatric disorders. Finally, the observed global genetic correlations were furthermore pinpointed to specific local genomic regions.

    Results: Hypothyroidism was positively associated with an increased risk of major depressive disorder (MDD; OR = 1.31, p = 5.29 × 10−89), BIP (OR = 1.55, p = 0.0038), and ANX (OR = 1.16, p = 6.22 × 10−8). Hyperthyroidism was associated with MDD (OR = 1.11, p = 0.0034) and ANX (OR = 1.34, p = 5.99 × 10−⁶). Genetically, strong coheritability was observed between thyroid disease and both major depressive (rg = 0.17, p = 2.7 × 10−⁴) and ANXs (rg = 0.17, p = 6.7 × 10−⁶). This genetic correlation was particularly strong at the major histocompatibility complex locus on chromosome 6 (p < 10−⁵), but further analysis showed that other parts of the genome also contributed to this global effect. Importantly, neither TSH nor fT4 levels were genetically correlated with mood disorders.

    Conclusions: Our findings highlight an underlying association between autoimmune hypothyroidism and mood disorders, which is not mediated through THs and in which autoimmunity plays a prominent role. While these findings could shed new light on the potential ineffectiveness of treating (minor) variations in thyroid function in psychiatric disorders, further research is needed to identify the exact underlying molecular mechanisms.

    Additional information

    supplementary table S1
  • Sollis, E., Den Hoed, J., Quevedo, M., Estruch, S. B., Vino, A., Dekkers, D. H. W., Demmers, J. A. A., Poot, R., Derizioti, P., & Fisher, S. E. (2023). Characterization of the TBR1 interactome: Variants associated with neurodevelopmental disorders disrupt novel protein interactions. Human Molecular Genetics, 32(9): ddac311, pp. 1497-1510. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddac311.

    Abstract

    TBR1 is a neuron-specific transcription factor involved in brain development and implicated in a neurodevelopmental disorder (NDD) combining features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disability (ID) and speech delay. TBR1 has been previously shown to interact with a small number of transcription factors and co-factors also involved in NDDs (including CASK, FOXP1/2/4 and BCL11A), suggesting that the wider TBR1 interactome may have a significant bearing on normal and abnormal brain development. Here we have identified approximately 250 putative TBR1-interaction partners by affinity purification coupled to mass spectrometry. As well as known TBR1-interactors such as CASK, the identified partners include transcription factors and chromatin modifiers, along with ASD- and ID-related proteins. Five interaction candidates were independently validated using bioluminescence resonance energy transfer assays. We went on to test the interaction of these candidates with TBR1 protein variants implicated in cases of NDD. The assays uncovered disturbed interactions for NDD-associated variants and identified two distinct protein-binding domains of TBR1 that have essential roles in protein–protein interaction.
  • Trupp, M. D., Bignardi, G., Specker, E., Vessel, E. A., & Pelowski, M. (2023). Who benefits from online art viewing, and how: The role of pleasure, meaningfulness, and trait aesthetic responsiveness in computer-based art interventions for well-being. Computers in Human Behavior, 145: 107764. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2023.107764.

    Abstract

    When experienced in-person, engagement with art has been associated with positive outcomes in well-being and mental health. However, especially in the last decade, art viewing, cultural engagement, and even ‘trips’ to museums have begun to take place online, via computers, smartphones, tablets, or in virtual reality. Similarly, to what has been reported for in-person visits, online art engagements—easily accessible from personal devices—have also been associated to well-being impacts. However, a broader understanding of for whom and how online-delivered art might have well-being impacts is still lacking. In the present study, we used a Monet interactive art exhibition from Google Arts and Culture to deepen our understanding of the role of pleasure, meaning, and individual differences in the responsiveness to art. Beyond replicating the previous group-level effects, we confirmed our pre-registered hypothesis that trait-level inter-individual differences in aesthetic responsiveness predict some of the benefits that online art viewing has on well-being and further that such inter-individual differences at the trait level were mediated by subjective experiences of pleasure and especially meaningfulness felt during the online-art intervention. The role that participants' experiences play as a possible mechanism during art interventions is discussed in light of recent theoretical models.

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Verhoef, E., Allegrini, A. G., Jansen, P. R., Lange, K., Wang, C. A., Morgan, A. T., Ahluwalia, T. S., Symeonides, C., EAGLE-Working Group, Eising, E., Franken, M.-C., Hypponen, E., Mansell, T., Olislagers, M., Omerovic, E., Rimfeld, K., Schlag, F., Selzam, S., Shapland, C. Y., Tiemeier, H., Whitehouse, A. J. O. Verhoef, E., Allegrini, A. G., Jansen, P. R., Lange, K., Wang, C. A., Morgan, A. T., Ahluwalia, T. S., Symeonides, C., EAGLE-Working Group, Eising, E., Franken, M.-C., Hypponen, E., Mansell, T., Olislagers, M., Omerovic, E., Rimfeld, K., Schlag, F., Selzam, S., Shapland, C. Y., Tiemeier, H., Whitehouse, A. J. O., Saffery, R., Bønnelykke, K., Reilly, S., Pennell, C. E., Wake, M., Cecil, C. A., Plomin, R., Fisher, S. E., & St Pourcain, B. (2023). Genome-wide analyses of vocabulary size in infancy and toddlerhood: Associations with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and cognition-related traits. Biological Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2023.11.025.

    Abstract

    Background

    The number of words children produce (expressive vocabulary) and understand (receptive vocabulary) changes rapidly during early development, partially due to genetic factors. Here, we performed a meta–genome-wide association study of vocabulary acquisition and investigated polygenic overlap with literacy, cognition, developmental phenotypes, and neurodevelopmental conditions, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

    Methods

    We studied 37,913 parent-reported vocabulary size measures (English, Dutch, Danish) for 17,298 children of European descent. Meta-analyses were performed for early-phase expressive (infancy, 15–18 months), late-phase expressive (toddlerhood, 24–38 months), and late-phase receptive (toddlerhood, 24–38 months) vocabulary. Subsequently, we estimated single nucleotide polymorphism–based heritability (SNP-h2) and genetic correlations (rg) and modeled underlying factor structures with multivariate models.

    Results

    Early-life vocabulary size was modestly heritable (SNP-h2 = 0.08–0.24). Genetic overlap between infant expressive and toddler receptive vocabulary was negligible (rg = 0.07), although each measure was moderately related to toddler expressive vocabulary (rg = 0.69 and rg = 0.67, respectively), suggesting a multifactorial genetic architecture. Both infant and toddler expressive vocabulary were genetically linked to literacy (e.g., spelling: rg = 0.58 and rg = 0.79, respectively), underlining genetic similarity. However, a genetic association of early-life vocabulary with educational attainment and intelligence emerged only during toddlerhood (e.g., receptive vocabulary and intelligence: rg = 0.36). Increased ADHD risk was genetically associated with larger infant expressive vocabulary (rg = 0.23). Multivariate genetic models in the ALSPAC (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children) cohort confirmed this finding for ADHD symptoms (e.g., at age 13; rg = 0.54) but showed that the association effect reversed for toddler receptive vocabulary (rg = −0.74), highlighting developmental heterogeneity.

    Conclusions

    The genetic architecture of early-life vocabulary changes during development, shaping polygenic association patterns with later-life ADHD, literacy, and cognition-related traits.
  • Vessel, E. A., Pasqualette, L., Uran, C., Koldehoff, S., Bignardi, G., & Vinck, M. (2023). Self-relevance predicts the aesthetic appeal of real and synthetic artworks generated via neural style transfer. Psychological Science, 34(9), 1007-1023. doi:10.1177/09567976231188107.

    Abstract

    What determines the aesthetic appeal of artworks? Recent work suggests that aesthetic appeal can, to some extent, be predicted from a visual artwork’s image features. Yet a large fraction of variance in aesthetic ratings remains unexplained and may relate to individual preferences. We hypothesized that an artwork’s aesthetic appeal depends strongly on self-relevance. In a first study (N = 33 adults, online replication N = 208), rated aesthetic appeal for real artworks was positively predicted by rated self-relevance. In a second experiment (N = 45 online), we created synthetic, self-relevant artworks using deep neural networks that transferred the style of existing artworks to photographs. Style transfer was applied to self-relevant photographs selected to reflect participant-specific attributes such as autobiographical memories. Self-relevant, synthetic artworks were rated as more aesthetically appealing than matched control images, at a level similar to human-made artworks. Thus, self-relevance is a key determinant of aesthetic appeal, independent of artistic skill and image features.

    Additional information

    supplementary materials
  • Vingerhoets, G., Verhelst, H., Gerrits, R., Badcock, N., Bishop, D. V. M., Carey, D., Flindall, J., Grimshaw, G., Harris, L. J., Hausmann, M., Hirnstein, M., Jäncke, L., Joliot, M., Specht, K., Westerhausen, R., & LICI consortium (2023). Laterality indices consensus initiative (LICI): A Delphi expert survey report on recommendations to record, assess, and report asymmetry in human behavioural and brain research. Laterality, 28(2-3), 122-191. doi:10.1080/1357650X.2023.2199963.

    Abstract

    Laterality indices (LIs) quantify the left-right asymmetry of brain and behavioural variables and provide a measure that is statistically convenient and seemingly easy to interpret. Substantial variability in how structural and functional asymmetries are recorded, calculated, and reported, however, suggest little agreement on the conditions required for its valid assessment. The present study aimed for consensus on general aspects in this context of laterality research, and more specifically within a particular method or technique (i.e., dichotic listening, visual half-field technique, performance asymmetries, preference bias reports, electrophysiological recording, functional MRI, structural MRI, and functional transcranial Doppler sonography). Experts in laterality research were invited to participate in an online Delphi survey to evaluate consensus and stimulate discussion. In Round 0, 106 experts generated 453 statements on what they considered good practice in their field of expertise. Statements were organised into a 295-statement survey that the experts then were asked, in Round 1, to independently assess for importance and support, which further reduced the survey to 241 statements that were presented again to the experts in Round 2. Based on the Round 2 input, we present a set of critically reviewed key recommendations to record, assess, and report laterality research for various methods.

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  • Whelan, L., Dockery, A., Stephenson, K. A. J., Zhu, J., Kopčić, E., Post, I. J. M., Khan, M., Corradi, Z., Wynne, N., O’ Byrne, J. J., Duignan, E., Silvestri, G., Roosing, S., Cremers, F. P. M., Keegan, D. J., Kenna, P. F., & Farrar, G. J. (2023). Detailed analysis of an enriched deep intronic ABCA4 variant in Irish Stargardt disease patients. Scientific Reports, 13: 9380. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-35889-9.

    Abstract

    Over 15% of probands in a large cohort of more than 1500 inherited retinal degeneration patients present with a clinical diagnosis of Stargardt disease (STGD1), a recessive form of macular dystrophy caused by biallelic variants in the ABCA4 gene. Participants were clinically examined and underwent either target capture sequencing of the exons and some pathogenic intronic regions of ABCA4, sequencing of the entire ABCA4 gene or whole genome sequencing. ABCA4 c.4539 + 2028C > T, p.[= ,Arg1514Leufs*36] is a pathogenic deep intronic variant that results in a retina-specific 345-nucleotide pseudoexon inclusion. Through analysis of the Irish STGD1 cohort, 25 individuals across 18 pedigrees harbour ABCA4 c.4539 + 2028C > T and another pathogenic variant. This includes, to the best of our knowledge, the only two homozygous patients identified to date. This provides important evidence of variant pathogenicity for this deep intronic variant, highlighting the value of homozygotes for variant interpretation. 15 other heterozygous incidents of this variant in patients have been reported globally, indicating significant enrichment in the Irish population. We provide detailed genetic and clinical characterization of these patients, illustrating that ABCA4 c.4539 + 2028C > T is a variant of mild to intermediate severity. These results have important implications for unresolved STGD1 patients globally with approximately 10% of the population in some western countries claiming Irish heritage. This study exemplifies that detection and characterization of founder variants is a diagnostic imperative.

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    supplemental material
  • Alagöz, G., Molz, B., Eising, E., Schijven, D., Francks, C., Jason L., S., & Fisher, S. E. (2022). Using neuroimaging genomics to investigate the evolution of human brain structure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(40): e2200638119. doi:10.1073/pnas.2200638119.

    Abstract

    Alterations in brain size and organization represent some of the most distinctive changes in the emergence of our species. Yet, there is limited understanding of how genetic factors contributed to altered neuroanatomy during human evolution. Here, we analyze neuroimaging and genetic data from up to 30,000 people in the UK Biobank and integrate with genomic annotations for different aspects of human evolution, including those based on ancient DNA and comparative genomics. We show that previously reported signals of recent polygenic selection for cortical anatomy are not replicable in a more ancestrally homogeneous sample. We then investigate relationships between evolutionary annotations and common genetic variants shaping cortical surface area and white-matter connectivity for each hemisphere. Our analyses identify single-nucleotide polymorphism heritability enrichment in human-gained regulatory elements that are active in early brain development, affecting surface areas of several parts of the cortex, including left-hemispheric speech-associated regions. We also detect heritability depletion in genomic regions with Neanderthal ancestry for connectivity of the uncinate fasciculus; this is a white-matter tract involved in memory, language, and socioemotional processing with relevance to neuropsychiatric disorders. Finally, we show that common genetic loci associated with left-hemispheric pars triangularis surface area overlap with a human-gained enhancer and affect regulation of ZIC4, a gene implicated in neurogenesis. This work demonstrates how genomic investigations of present-day neuroanatomical variation can help shed light on the complexities of our evolutionary past.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Bast, B. J., Oonk, L. C., De Nil, L., Eising, E., Koenraads, S. P., Bouwen, J., & Franken, M.-C. (2022). Ontwikkeling van stotteren: Inleiding tot een praktijkmodel. Stem- Spraak- en Taalpathologie, 27, 1-7. doi:10.21827/32.8310/2022-1.

    Abstract

    Dit artikel is de inleiding op het direct hierna volgende (Oonk e.a. 2022) waar een nieuw praktijkmodel over het ontstaan en ontwikkeling van stotteren wordt voorgesteld.

    In de dagelijkse praktijk van vooral Nederlandstalige logopedisten (-stottertherapeuten) is tot nu toe veel gebruik gemaakt van het klinische werkmodel van Bertens (1994; 2017). Dit model gaat uit van een primaire neuromusculaire timingsstoornis, welke zich niet alleen uit in het spreken, maar ook in algemene zin aanwezig is. Dit model echter, is aan revisie toe. Volgens de recente literatuur is de algemene aard van die timingstoornis niet bewezen, en zijn er veel vroegere (meer primaire) factoren aantoonbaar van belang bij het ontstaan van stotteren, met name in de genetica en in de neurologie. In dit artikel wordt deze literatuur kort samengevat, alsmede worden enkele recente modellen omschreven. Met name regulatie en terugkoppeling krijgen in recente modellen meer aandacht. Er is geen volledigheid nagestreefd, maar dit artikel is meer een tutoriale opmaat voor het hierna te presenteren model.
    (This article serves as an introduction to the accompanying paper, in which a new clinical
    model of the origin and development of stuttering is presented (Oonk e.a., 2022).
    In their clinical practice, Dutch speech language pathologists still tend to use the
    clinical model proposed by Bertens (1994; 2017). This model explains stuttering as de-
    veloping from a primary neuromuscular timing deficit, which manifests itself not only
    in speech, but in more general behaviour as well. In our opinion, this model needs to be
    updated and revised based on current scientific and clinical knowledge. There is littleevidence for the general timing deficit in Bertens’ model and, moreover, several more
    fundamental factors, especially those related to genetics and neural processes, that have
    an important role in the onset of stuttering have been reported. This paper provides a
    review and summary of these recent data, and several newer models are described. An
    important aspect of these models is the importance given to processes of regulation
    and feedback. An exhaustive overview of the existing literature has not been strived for
    but it is hoped that this paper will serve as a useful introduction to the clinical model
    presented in the accompanying paper.)
  • Bignardi, G., Chamberlain, R., Kevenaar, S. T., Tamimy, Z., & Boomsma, D. I. (2022). On the etiology of aesthetic chills: A behavioral genetic study. Scientific Reports, 12: 3247. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-07161-z.

    Abstract

    Aesthetic chills, broadly defined as a somatic marker of peak emotional-hedonic responses, are experienced by individuals across a variety of human cultures. Yet individuals vary widely in the propensity of feeling them. These individual differences have been studied in relation to demographics, personality, and neurobiological and physiological factors, but no study to date has explored the genetic etiological sources of variation. To partition genetic and environmental sources of variation in the propensity of feeling aesthetic chills, we fitted a biometrical genetic model to data from 14127 twins (from 8995 pairs), collected by the Netherlands Twin Register. Both genetic and unique environmental factors accounted for variance in aesthetic chills, with heritability estimated at .36 ([.33, .39] 95% CI). We found females more prone than males to report feeling aesthetic chills. However, a test for genotype x sex interaction did not show evidence that heritability differs between sexes. We thus show that the propensity of feeling aesthetic chills is not shaped by nurture alone, but it also reflects underlying genetic propensities.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.

    Additional information

    Link to Preprint on BioRxiv
  • De Boer, E., Ockeloen, C. W., Kampen, R. A., Hampstead, J. E., Dingemans, A. J. M., Rots, D., Lütje, L., Ashraf, T., Baker, R., Barat-Houari, M., Angle, B., Chatron, N., Denommé-Pichon, A.-S., Devinsky, O., Dubourg, C., Elmslie, F., Elloumi, H. Z., Faivre, L., Fitzgerald-Butt, S., Geneviève, D. and 30 moreDe Boer, E., Ockeloen, C. W., Kampen, R. A., Hampstead, J. E., Dingemans, A. J. M., Rots, D., Lütje, L., Ashraf, T., Baker, R., Barat-Houari, M., Angle, B., Chatron, N., Denommé-Pichon, A.-S., Devinsky, O., Dubourg, C., Elmslie, F., Elloumi, H. Z., Faivre, L., Fitzgerald-Butt, S., Geneviève, D., Goos, J. A. C., Helm, B. M., Kini, U., Lasa-Aranzasti, A., Lesca, G., Lynch, S. A., Mathijssen, I. M. J., McGowan, R., Monaghan, K. G., Odent, S., Pfundt, R., Putoux, A., Van Reeuwijk, J., Santen, G. W. E., Sasaki, E., Sorlin, A., Van der Spek, P. J., Stegmann, A. P. A., Swagemakers, S. M. A., Valenzuela, I., Viora-Dupont, E., Vitobello, A., Ware, S. M., Wéber, M., Gilissen, C., Low, K. J., Fisher, S. E., Vissers, L. E. L. M., Wong, M. M. K., & Kleefstra, T. (2022). Missense variants in ANKRD11 cause KBG syndrome by impairment of stability or transcriptional activity of the encoded protein. Genetics in Medicine, 24(10), 2051-2064. doi:10.1016/j.gim.2022.06.007.

    Abstract

    Purpose

    Although haploinsufficiency of ANKRD11 is among the most common genetic causes of neurodevelopmental disorders, the role of rare ANKRD11 missense variation remains unclear. We characterized clinical, molecular, and functional spectra of ANKRD11 missense variants.
    Methods

    We collected clinical information of individuals with ANKRD11 missense variants and evaluated phenotypic fit to KBG syndrome. We assessed pathogenicity of variants through in silico analyses and cell-based experiments.
    Results

    We identified 20 unique, mostly de novo, ANKRD11 missense variants in 29 individuals, presenting with syndromic neurodevelopmental disorders similar to KBG syndrome caused by ANKRD11 protein truncating variants or 16q24.3 microdeletions. Missense variants significantly clustered in repression domain 2 at the ANKRD11 C-terminus. Of the 10 functionally studied missense variants, 6 reduced ANKRD11 stability. One variant caused decreased proteasome degradation and loss of ANKRD11 transcriptional activity.
    Conclusion

    Our study indicates that pathogenic heterozygous ANKRD11 missense variants cause the clinically recognizable KBG syndrome. Disrupted transrepression capacity and reduced protein stability each independently lead to ANKRD11 loss-of-function, consistent with haploinsufficiency. This highlights the diagnostic relevance of ANKRD11 missense variants, but also poses diagnostic challenges because the KBG-associated phenotype may be mild and inherited pathogenic ANKRD11 (missense) variants are increasingly observed, warranting stringent variant classification and careful phenotyping.
  • Boyce, J. O., Jackson, V. E., Van Reyk, O., Parker, R., Vogel, A. P., Eising, E., Horton, S. E., Gillespie, N. A., Scheffer, I. E., Amor, D. J., Hildebrand, M. S., Fisher, S. E., Martin, N. G., Reilly, S., Bahlo, M., & Morgan, A. T. (2022). Self-reported impact of developmental stuttering across the lifespan. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 64(10), 1297-1306. doi:10.1111/dmcn.15211.

    Abstract

    Aim

    To examine the phenomenology of stuttering across the lifespan in the largest prospective cohort to date.
    Method

    Participants aged 7 years and older with a history of developmental stuttering were recruited. Self-reported phenotypic data were collected online including stuttering symptomatology, co-occurring phenotypes, genetic predisposition, factors associated with stuttering severity, and impact on anxiety, education, and employment.
    Results

    A total of 987 participants (852 adults: 590 males, 262 females, mean age 49 years [SD = 17 years 10 months; range = 18–93 years] and 135 children: 97 males, 38 females, mean age 11 years 4 months [SD = 3 years; range = 7–17 years]) were recruited. Stuttering onset occurred at age 3 to 6 years in 64.0%. Blocking (73.2%) was the most frequent phenotype; 75.9% had sought stuttering therapy and 15.5% identified as having recovered. Half (49.9%) reported a family history. There was a significant negative correlation with age for both stuttering frequency and severity in adults. Most were anxious due to stuttering (90.4%) and perceived stuttering as a barrier to education and employment outcomes (80.7%).
    Interpretation

    The frequent persistence of stuttering and the high proportion with a family history suggest that stuttering is a complex trait that does not often resolve, even with therapy. These data provide new insights into the phenotype and prognosis of stuttering, information that is critically needed to encourage the development of more effective speech therapies.
  • Brouwer, R. M., Klein, M., Grasby, K. L., Schnack, H. G., Jahanshad, N., Teeuw, J., Thomopoulos, S. I., Sprooten, E., Franz, C. E., Gogtay, N., Kremen, W. S., Panizzon, M. S., Olde Loohuis, L. M., Whelan, C. D., Aghajani, M., Alloza, C., Alnæs, D., Artiges, E., Ayesa-Arriola, R., Barker, G. J. and 180 moreBrouwer, R. M., Klein, M., Grasby, K. L., Schnack, H. G., Jahanshad, N., Teeuw, J., Thomopoulos, S. I., Sprooten, E., Franz, C. E., Gogtay, N., Kremen, W. S., Panizzon, M. S., Olde Loohuis, L. M., Whelan, C. D., Aghajani, M., Alloza, C., Alnæs, D., Artiges, E., Ayesa-Arriola, R., Barker, G. J., Bastin, M. E., Blok, E., Bøen, E., Breukelaar, I. A., Bright, J. K., Buimer, E. E. L., Bülow, R., Cannon, D. M., Ciufolini, S., Crossley, N. A., Damatac, C. G., Dazzan, P., De Mol, C. L., De Zwarte, S. M. C., Desrivières, S., Díaz-Caneja, C. M., Doan, N. T., Dohm, K., Fröhner, J. H., Goltermann, J., Grigis, A., Grotegerd, D., Han, L. K. M., Harris, M. A., Hartman, C. A., Heany, S. J., Heindel, W., Heslenfeld, D. J., Hohmann, S., Ittermann, B., Jansen, P. R., Janssen, J., Jia, T., Jiang, J., Jockwitz, C., Karali, T., Keeser, D., Koevoets, M. G. J. C., Lenroot, R. K., Malchow, B., Mandl, R. C. W., Medel, V., Meinert, S., Morgan, C. A., Mühleisen, T. W., Nabulsi, L., Opel, N., Ortiz-García de la Foz, V., Overs, B. J., Paillère Martinot, M.-L., Redlich, R., Marques, T. R., Repple, J., Roberts, G., Roshchupkin, G. V., Setiaman, N., Shumskaya, E., Stein, F., Sudre, G., Takahashi, S., Thalamuthu, A., Tordesillas-Gutiérrez, D., Van der Lugt, A., Van Haren, N. E. M., Wardlaw, J. M., Wen, W., Westeneng, H.-J., Wittfeld, K., Zhu, A. H., Zugman, A., Armstrong, N. J., Bonfiglio, G., Bralten, J., Dalvie, S., Davies, G., Di Forti, M., Ding, L., Donohoe, G., Forstner, A. J., Gonzalez-Peñas, J., Guimaraes, J. P. O. F. T., Homuth, G., Hottenga, J.-J., Knol, M. J., Kwok, J. B. J., Le Hellard, S., Mather, K. A., Milaneschi, Y., Morris, D. W., Nöthen, M. M., Papiol, S., Rietschel, M., Santoro, M. L., Steen, V. M., Stein, J. L., Streit, F., Tankard, R. M., Teumer, A., Van 't Ent, D., Van der Meer, D., Van Eijk, K. R., Vassos, E., Vázquez-Bourgon, J., Witt, S. H., the IMAGEN Consortium, Adams, H. H. H., Agartz, I., Ames, D., Amunts, K., Andreassen, O. A., Arango, C., Banaschewski, T., Baune, B. T., Belangero, S. I., Bokde, A. L. W., Boomsma, D. I., Bressan, R. A., Brodaty, H., Buitelaar, J. K., Cahn, W., Caspers, S., Cichon, S., Crespo Facorro, B., Cox, S. R., Dannlowski, U., Elvsåshagen, T., Espeseth, T., Falkai, P. G., Fisher, S. E., Flor, H., Fullerton, J. M., Garavan, H., Gowland, P. A., Grabe, H. J., Hahn, T., Heinz, A., Hillegers, M., Hoare, J., Hoekstra, P. J., Ikram, M. A., Jackowski, A. P., Jansen, A., Jönsson, E. G., Kahn, R. S., Kircher, T., Korgaonkar, M. S., Krug, A., Lemaitre, H., Malt, U. F., Martinot, J.-L., McDonald, C., Mitchell, P. B., Muetzel, R. L., Murray, R. M., Nees, F., Nenadic, I., Oosterlaan, J., Ophoff, R. A., Pan, P. M., Penninx, B. W. J. H., Poustka, L., Sachdev, P. S., Salum, G. A., Schofield, P. R., Schumann, G., Shaw, P., Sim, K., Smolka, M. N., Stein, D. J., Trollor, J., Van den Berg, L. H., Veldink, J. H., Walter, H., Westlye, L. T., Whelan, R., White, T., Wright, M. J., Medland, S. E., Franke, B., Thompson, P. M., & Hulshoff Pol, H. E. (2022). Genetic variants associated with longitudinal changes in brain structure across the lifespan. Nature Neuroscience, 25, 421-432. doi:10.1038/s41593-022-01042-4.

    Abstract

    Human brain structure changes throughout the lifespan. Altered brain growth or rates of decline are implicated in a vast range of psychiatric, developmental and neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we identified common genetic variants that affect rates of brain growth or atrophy in what is, to our knowledge, the first genome-wide association meta-analysis of changes in brain morphology across the lifespan. Longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging data from 15,640 individuals were used to compute rates of change for 15 brain structures. The most robustly identified genes GPR139, DACH1 and APOE are associated with metabolic processes. We demonstrate global genetic overlap with depression, schizophrenia, cognitive functioning, insomnia, height, body mass index and smoking. Gene set findings implicate both early brain development and neurodegenerative processes in the rates of brain changes. Identifying variants involved in structural brain changes may help to determine biological pathways underlying optimal and dysfunctional brain development and aging.
  • Cambier, N., Miletitch, R., Burraco, A. B., & Raviv, L. (2022). Prosociality in swarm robotics: A model to study self-domestication and language evolution. In A. Ravignani, R. Asano, D. Valente, F. Ferretti, S. Hartmann, M. Hayashi, Y. Jadoul, M. Martins, Y. Oseki, E. D. Rodrigues, O. Vasileva, & S. Wacewicz (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the Joint Conference on Language Evolution (JCoLE) (pp. 98-100). Nijmegen: Joint Conference on Language Evolution (JCoLE).
  • Cheung, C.-Y., Yakpo, K., & Coupé, C. (2022). A computational simulation of the genesis and spread of lexical items in situations of abrupt language contact. In A. Ravignani, R. Asano, D. Valente, F. Ferretti, S. Hartmann, M. Hayashi, Y. Jadoul, M. Martins, Y. Oseki, E. D. Rodrigues, O. Vasileva, & S. Wacewicz (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the Joint Conference on Language Evolution (JCoLE) (pp. 115-122). Nijmegen: Joint Conference on Language Evolution (JCoLE).

    Abstract

    The current study presents an agent-based model which simulates the innovation and
    competition among lexical items in cases of language contact. It is inspired by relatively
    recent historical cases in which the linguistic ecology and sociohistorical context are highly complex. Pidgin and creole genesis offers an opportunity to obtain linguistic facts, social dynamics, and historical demography in a highly segregated society. This provides a solid ground for researching the interaction of populations with different pre-existing language systems, and how different factors contribute to the genesis of the lexicon of a newly generated mixed language. We take into consideration the population dynamics and structures, as well as a distribution of word frequencies related to language use, in order to study how social factors may affect the developmental trajectory of languages. Focusing on the case of Sranan in Suriname, our study shows that it is possible to account for the
    composition of its core lexicon in relation to different social groups, contact patterns, and
    large population movements.
  • Chormai, P., Pu, Y., Hu, H., Fisher, S. E., Francks, C., & Kong, X. (2022). Machine learning of large-scale multimodal brain imaging data reveals neural correlates of hand preference. NeuroImage, 262: 119534. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.119534.

    Abstract

    Lateralization is a fundamental characteristic of many behaviors and the organization of the brain, and atypical lateralization has been suggested to be linked to various brain-related disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. Right-handedness is one of the most prominent markers of human behavioural lateralization, yet its neurobiological basis remains to be determined. Here, we present a large-scale analysis of handedness, as measured by self-reported direction of hand preference, and its variability related to brain structural and functional organization in the UK Biobank (N = 36,024). A multivariate machine learning approach with multi-modalities of brain imaging data was adopted, to reveal how well brain imaging features could predict individual's handedness (i.e., right-handedness vs. non-right-handedness) and further identify the top brain signatures that contributed to the prediction. Overall, the results showed a good prediction performance, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) score of up to 0.72, driven largely by resting-state functional measures. Virtual lesion analysis and large-scale decoding analysis suggested that the brain networks with the highest importance in the prediction showed functional relevance to hand movement and several higher-level cognitive functions including language, arithmetic, and social interaction. Genetic analyses of contributions of common DNA polymorphisms to the imaging-derived handedness prediction score showed a significant heritability (h2=7.55%, p <0.001) that was similar to and slightly higher than that for the behavioural measure itself (h2=6.74%, p <0.001). The genetic correlation between the two was high (rg=0.71), suggesting that the imaging-derived score could be used as a surrogate in genetic studies where the behavioural measure is not available. This large-scale study using multimodal brain imaging and multivariate machine learning has shed new light on the neural correlates of human handedness.

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Den Hoed, J. (2022). Disentangling the molecular landscape of genetic variation of neurodevelopmental and speech disorders. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Dima, D., Modabbernia, A., Papachristou, E., Doucet, G. E., Agartz, I., Aghajani, M., Akudjedu, T. N., Albajes‐Eizagirre, A., Alnæs, D., Alpert, K. I., Andersson, M., Andreasen, N. C., Andreassen, O. A., Asherson, P., Banaschewski, T., Bargallo, N., Baumeister, S., Baur‐Streubel, R., Bertolino, A., Bonvino, A. and 182 moreDima, D., Modabbernia, A., Papachristou, E., Doucet, G. E., Agartz, I., Aghajani, M., Akudjedu, T. N., Albajes‐Eizagirre, A., Alnæs, D., Alpert, K. I., Andersson, M., Andreasen, N. C., Andreassen, O. A., Asherson, P., Banaschewski, T., Bargallo, N., Baumeister, S., Baur‐Streubel, R., Bertolino, A., Bonvino, A., Boomsma, D. I., Borgwardt, S., Bourque, J., Brandeis, D., Breier, A., Brodaty, H., Brouwer, R. M., Buitelaar, J. K., Busatto, G. F., Buckner, R. L., Calhoun, V., Canales‐Rodríguez, E. J., Cannon, D. M., Caseras, X., Castellanos, F. X., Cervenka, S., Chaim‐Avancini, T. M., Ching, C. R. K., Chubar, V., Clark, V. P., Conrod, P., Conzelmann, A., Crespo‐Facorro, B., Crivello, F., Crone, E. A., Dale, A. M., Davey, C., De Geus, E. J. C., De Haan, L., De Zubicaray, G. I., Den Braber, A., Dickie, E. W., Di Giorgio, A., Doan, N. T., Dørum, E. S., Ehrlich, S., Erk, S., Espeseth, T., Fatouros‐Bergman, H., Fisher, S. E., Fouche, J., Franke, B., Frodl, T., Fuentes‐Claramonte, P., Glahn, D. C., Gotlib, I. H., Grabe, H., Grimm, O., Groenewold, N. A., Grotegerd, D., Gruber, O., Gruner, P., Gur, R. E., Gur, R. C., Harrison, B. J., Hartman, C. A., Hatton, S. N., Heinz, A., Heslenfeld, D. J., Hibar, D. P., Hickie, I. B., Ho, B., Hoekstra, P. J., Hohmann, S., Holmes, A. J., Hoogman, M., Hosten, N., Howells, F. M., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Huyser, C., Jahanshad, N., James, A., Jernigan, T. L., Jiang, J., Jönsson, E. G., Joska, J. A., Kahn, R., Kalnin, A., Kanai, R., Klein, M., Klyushnik, T. P., Koenders, L., Koops, S., Krämer, B., Kuntsi, J., Lagopoulos, J., Lázaro, L., Lebedeva, I., Lee, W. H., Lesch, K., Lochner, C., Machielsen, M. W. J., Maingault, S., Martin, N. G., Martínez‐Zalacaín, I., Mataix‐Cols, D., Mazoyer, B., McDonald, C., McDonald, B. C., McIntosh, A. M., McMahon, K. L., McPhilemy, G., Menchón, J. M., Medland, S. E., Meyer‐Lindenberg, A., Naaijen, J., Najt, P., Nakao, T., Nordvik, J. E., Nyberg, L., Oosterlaan, J., Ortiz‐García de la Foz, V., Paloyelis, Y., Pauli, P., Pergola, G., Pomarol‐Clotet, E., Portella, M. J., Potkin, S. G., Radua, J., Reif, A., Rinker, D. A., Roffman, J. L., Rosa, P. G. P., Sacchet, M. D., Sachdev, P. S., Salvador, R., Sánchez‐Juan, P., Sarró, S., Satterthwaite, T. D., Saykin, A. J., Serpa, M. H., Schmaal, L., Schnell, K., Schumann, G., Sim, K., Smoller, J. W., Sommer, I., Soriano‐Mas, C., Stein, D. J., Strike, L. T., Swagerman, S. C., Tamnes, C. K., Temmingh, H. S., Thomopoulos, S. I., Tomyshev, A. S., Tordesillas‐Gutiérrez, D., Trollor, J. N., Turner, J. A., Uhlmann, A., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Van den Meer, D., Van der Wee, N. J. A., Van Haren, N. E. M., Van't Ent, D., Van Erp, T. G. M., Veer, I. M., Veltman, D. J., Voineskos, A., Völzke, H., Walter, H., Walton, E., Wang, L., Wang, Y., Wassink, T. H., Weber, B., Wen, W., West, J. D., Westlye, L. T., Whalley, H., Wierenga, L. M., Williams, S. C. R., Wittfeld, K., Wolf, D. H., Worker, A., Wright, M. J., Yang, K., Yoncheva, Y., Zanetti, M. V., Ziegler, G. C., Thompson, P. M., Frangou, S., & Karolinska Schizophrenia Project (KaSP) (2022). Subcortical volumes across the lifespan: Data from 18,605 healthy individuals aged 3–90 years. Human Brain Mapping, 43(1), 452-469. doi:10.1002/hbm.25320.

    Abstract

    Age has a major effect on brain volume. However, the normative studies available are constrained by small sample sizes, restricted age coverage and significant methodological variability. These limitations introduce inconsistencies and may obscure or distort the lifespan trajectories of brain morphometry. In response, we capitalized on the resources of the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta‐Analysis (ENIGMA) Consortium to examine age‐related trajectories inferred from cross‐sectional measures of the ventricles, the basal ganglia (caudate, putamen, pallidum, and nucleus accumbens), the thalamus, hippocampus and amygdala using magnetic resonance imaging data obtained from 18,605 individuals aged 3–90 years. All subcortical structure volumes were at their maximum value early in life. The volume of the basal ganglia showed a monotonic negative association with age thereafter; there was no significant association between age and the volumes of the thalamus, amygdala and the hippocampus (with some degree of decline in thalamus) until the sixth decade of life after which they also showed a steep negative association with age. The lateral ventricles showed continuous enlargement throughout the lifespan. Age was positively associated with inter‐individual variability in the hippocampus and amygdala and the lateral ventricles. These results were robust to potential confounders and could be used to examine the functional significance of deviations from typical age‐related morphometric patterns.
  • Doust, C., Fontanillas, P., Eising, E., Gordon, S. D., Wang, Z., Alagöz, G., Molz, B., 23andMe Research Team, Quantitative Trait Working Group of the GenLang Consortium, St Pourcain, B., Francks, C., Marioni, R. E., Zhao, J., Paracchini, S., Talcott, J. B., Monaco, A. P., Stein, J. F., Gruen, J. R., Olson, R. K., Willcutt, E. G., DeFries, J. C., Pennington, B. F. and 7 moreDoust, C., Fontanillas, P., Eising, E., Gordon, S. D., Wang, Z., Alagöz, G., Molz, B., 23andMe Research Team, Quantitative Trait Working Group of the GenLang Consortium, St Pourcain, B., Francks, C., Marioni, R. E., Zhao, J., Paracchini, S., Talcott, J. B., Monaco, A. P., Stein, J. F., Gruen, J. R., Olson, R. K., Willcutt, E. G., DeFries, J. C., Pennington, B. F., Smith, S. D., Wright, M. J., Martin, N. G., Auton, A., Bates, T. C., Fisher, S. E., & Luciano, M. (2022). Discovery of 42 genome-wide significant loci associated with dyslexia. Nature Genetics. doi:10.1038/s41588-022-01192-y.

    Abstract

    Reading and writing are crucial life skills but roughly one in ten children are affected by dyslexia, which can persist into adulthood. Family studies of dyslexia suggest heritability up to 70%, yet few convincing genetic markers have been found. Here we performed a genome-wide association study of 51,800 adults self-reporting a dyslexia diagnosis and 1,087,070 controls and identified 42 independent genome-wide significant loci: 15 in genes linked to cognitive ability/educational attainment, and 27 new and potentially more specific to dyslexia. We validated 23 loci (13 new) in independent cohorts of Chinese and European ancestry. Genetic etiology of dyslexia was similar between sexes, and genetic covariance with many traits was found, including ambidexterity, but not neuroanatomical measures of language-related circuitry. Dyslexia polygenic scores explained up to 6% of variance in reading traits, and might in future contribute to earlier identification and remediation of dyslexia.
  • Eising, E., Mirza-Schreiber, N., De Zeeuw, E. L., Wang, C. A., Truong, D. T., Allegrini, A. G., Shapland, C. Y., Zhu, G., Wigg, K. G., Gerritse, M., Molz, B., Alagöz, G., Gialluisi, A., Abbondanza, F., Rimfeld, K., Van Donkelaar, M. M. J., Liao, Z., Jansen, P. R., Andlauer, T. F. M., Bates, T. C. and 70 moreEising, E., Mirza-Schreiber, N., De Zeeuw, E. L., Wang, C. A., Truong, D. T., Allegrini, A. G., Shapland, C. Y., Zhu, G., Wigg, K. G., Gerritse, M., Molz, B., Alagöz, G., Gialluisi, A., Abbondanza, F., Rimfeld, K., Van Donkelaar, M. M. J., Liao, Z., Jansen, P. R., Andlauer, T. F. M., Bates, T. C., Bernard, M., Blokland, K., Børglum, A. D., Bourgeron, T., Brandeis, D., Ceroni, F., Dale, P. S., Landerl, K., Lyytinen, H., De Jong, P. F., DeFries, J. C., Demontis, D., Feng, Y., Gordon, S. D., Guger, S. L., Hayiou-Thomas, M. E., Hernández-Cabrera, J. A., Hottenga, J.-J., Hulme, C., Kerr, E. N., Koomar, T., Lovett, M. W., Martin, N. G., Martinelli, A., Maurer, U., Michaelson, J. J., Moll, K., Monaco, A. P., Morgan, A. T., Nöthen, M. M., Pausova, Z., Pennell, C. E., Pennington, B. F., Price, K. M., Rajagopal, V. M., Ramus, F., Richer, L., Simpson, N. H., Smith, S., Snowling, M. J., Stein, J., Strug, L. J., Talcott, J. B., Tiemeier, H., Van de Schroeff, M. M. P., Verhoef, E., Watkins, K. E., Wilkinson, M., Wright, M. J., Barr, C. L., Boomsma, D. I., Carreiras, M., Franken, M.-C.-J., Gruen, J. R., Luciano, M., Müller-Myhsok, B., Newbury, D. F., Olson, R. K., Paracchini, S., Paus, T., Plomin, R., Schulte-Körne, G., Reilly, S., Tomblin, J. B., Van Bergen, E., Whitehouse, A. J., Willcutt, E. G., St Pourcain, B., Francks, C., & Fisher, S. E. (2022). Genome-wide analyses of individual differences in quantitatively assessed reading- and language-related skills in up to 34,000 people. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(35): e2202764119. doi:10.1073/pnas.2202764119.

    Abstract

    The use of spoken and written language is a fundamental human capacity. Individual differences in reading- and language-related skills are influenced by genetic variation, with twin-based heritability estimates of 30 to 80% depending on the trait. The genetic architecture is complex, heterogeneous, and multifactorial, but investigations of contributions of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were thus far underpowered. We present a multicohort genome-wide association study (GWAS) of five traits assessed individually using psychometric measures (word reading, nonword reading, spelling, phoneme awareness, and nonword repetition) in samples of 13,633 to 33,959 participants aged 5 to 26 y. We identified genome-wide significant association with word reading (rs11208009, P = 1.098 × 10−8) at a locus that has not been associated with intelligence or educational attainment. All five reading-/language-related traits showed robust SNP heritability, accounting for 13 to 26% of trait variability. Genomic structural equation modeling revealed a shared genetic factor explaining most of the variation in word/nonword reading, spelling, and phoneme awareness, which only partially overlapped with genetic variation contributing to nonword repetition, intelligence, and educational attainment. A multivariate GWAS of word/nonword reading, spelling, and phoneme awareness maximized power for follow-up investigation. Genetic correlation analysis with neuroimaging traits identified an association with the surface area of the banks of the left superior temporal sulcus, a brain region linked to the processing of spoken and written language. Heritability was enriched for genomic elements regulating gene expression in the fetal brain and in chromosomal regions that are depleted of Neanderthal variants. Together, these results provide avenues for deciphering the biological underpinnings of uniquely human traits.
  • Frangou, S., Modabbernia, A., Williams, S. C. R., Papachristou, E., Doucet, G. E., Agartz, I., Aghajani, M., Akudjedu, T. N., Albajes‐Eizagirre, A., Alnæs, D., Alpert, K. I., Andersson, M., Andreasen, N. C., Andreassen, O. A., Asherson, P., Banaschewski, T., Bargallo, N., Baumeister, S., Baur‐Streubel, R., Bertolino, A. and 181 moreFrangou, S., Modabbernia, A., Williams, S. C. R., Papachristou, E., Doucet, G. E., Agartz, I., Aghajani, M., Akudjedu, T. N., Albajes‐Eizagirre, A., Alnæs, D., Alpert, K. I., Andersson, M., Andreasen, N. C., Andreassen, O. A., Asherson, P., Banaschewski, T., Bargallo, N., Baumeister, S., Baur‐Streubel, R., Bertolino, A., Bonvino, A., Boomsma, D. I., Borgwardt, S., Bourque, J., Brandeis, D., Breier, A., Brodaty, H., Brouwer, R. M., Buitelaar, J. K., Busatto, G. F., Buckner, R. L., Calhoun, V., Canales‐Rodríguez, E. J., Cannon, D. M., Caseras, X., Castellanos, F. X., Cervenka, S., Chaim‐Avancini, T. M., Ching, C. R. K., Chubar, V., Clark, V. P., Conrod, P., Conzelmann, A., Crespo‐Facorro, B., Crivello, F., Crone, E. A., Dale, A. M., Davey, C., De Geus, E. J. C., De Haan, L., De Zubicaray, G. I., Den Braber, A., Dickie, E. W., Di Giorgio, A., Doan, N. T., Dørum, E. S., Ehrlich, S., Erk, S., Espeseth, T., Fatouros‐Bergman, H., Fisher, S. E., Fouche, J., Franke, B., Frodl, T., Fuentes‐Claramonte, P., Glahn, D. C., Gotlib, I. H., Grabe, H., Grimm, O., Groenewold, N. A., Grotegerd, D., Gruber, O., Gruner, P., Gur, R. E., Gur, R. C., Harrison, B. J., Hartman, C. A., Hatton, S. N., Heinz, A., Heslenfeld, D. J., Hibar, D. P., Hickie, I. B., Ho, B., Hoekstra, P. J., Hohmann, S., Holmes, A. J., Hoogman, M., Hosten, N., Howells, F. M., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Huyser, C., Jahanshad, N., James, A., Jernigan, T. L., Jiang, J., Jönsson, E. G., Joska, J. A., Kahn, R., Kalnin, A., Kanai, R., Klein, M., Klyushnik, T. P., Koenders, L., Koops, S., Krämer, B., Kuntsi, J., Lagopoulos, J., Lázaro, L., Lebedeva, I., Lee, W. H., Lesch, K., Lochner, C., Machielsen, M. W. J., Maingault, S., Martin, N. G., Martínez‐Zalacaín, I., Mataix‐Cols, D., Mazoyer, B., McDonald, C., McDonald, B. C., McIntosh, A. M., McMahon, K. L., McPhilemy, G., Menchón, J. M., Medland, S. E., Meyer‐Lindenberg, A., Naaijen, J., Najt, P., Nakao, T., Nordvik, J. E., Nyberg, L., Oosterlaan, J., Ortiz‐García Foz, V., Paloyelis, Y., Pauli, P., Pergola, G., Pomarol‐Clotet, E., Portella, M. J., Potkin, S. G., Radua, J., Reif, A., Rinker, D. A., Roffman, J. L., Rosa, P. G. P., Sacchet, M. D., Sachdev, P. S., Salvador, R., Sánchez‐Juan, P., Sarró, S., Satterthwaite, T. D., Saykin, A. J., Serpa, M. H., Schmaal, L., Schnell, K., Schumann, G., Sim, K., Smoller, J. W., Sommer, I., Soriano‐Mas, C., Stein, D. J., Strike, L. T., Swagerman, S. C., Tamnes, C. K., Temmingh, H. S., Thomopoulos, S. I., Tomyshev, A. S., Tordesillas‐Gutiérrez, D., Trollor, J. N., Turner, J. A., Uhlmann, A., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Van den Meer, D., Van der Wee, N. J. A., Van Haren, N. E. M., Van 't Ent, D., Van Erp, T. G. M., Veer, I. M., Veltman, D. J., Voineskos, A., Völzke, H., Walter, H., Walton, E., Wang, L., Wang, Y., Wassink, T. H., Weber, B., Wen, W., West, J. D., Westlye, L. T., Whalley, H., Wierenga, L. M., Wittfeld, K., Wolf, D. H., Worker, A., Wright, M. J., Yang, K., Yoncheva, Y., Zanetti, M. V., Ziegler, G. C., Karolinska Schizophrenia Project (KaSP), Thompson, P. M., & Dima, D. (2022). Cortical thickness across the lifespan: Data from 17,075 healthy individuals aged 3–90 years. Human Brain Mapping, 43(1), 431-451. doi:10.1002/hbm.25364.

    Abstract

    Delineating the association of age and cortical thickness in healthy individuals is critical given the association of cortical thickness with cognition and behavior. Previous research has shown that robust estimates of the association between age and brain morphometry require large‐scale studies. In response, we used cross‐sectional data from 17,075 individuals aged 3–90 years from the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta‐Analysis (ENIGMA) Consortium to infer age‐related changes in cortical thickness. We used fractional polynomial (FP) regression to quantify the association between age and cortical thickness, and we computed normalized growth centiles using the parametric Lambda, Mu, and Sigma method. Interindividual variability was estimated using meta‐analysis and one‐way analysis of variance. For most regions, their highest cortical thickness value was observed in childhood. Age and cortical thickness showed a negative association; the slope was steeper up to the third decade of life and more gradual thereafter; notable exceptions to this general pattern were entorhinal, temporopolar, and anterior cingulate cortices. Interindividual variability was largest in temporal and frontal regions across the lifespan. Age and its FP combinations explained up to 59% variance in cortical thickness. These results may form the basis of further investigation on normative deviation in cortical thickness and its significance for behavioral and cognitive outcomes.
  • Galke, L., & Scherp, A. (2022). Bag-of-words vs. graph vs. sequence in text classification: Questioning the necessity of text-graphs and the surprising strength of a wide MLP. In S. Muresan, P. Nakov, & A. Villavicencio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (pp. 4038-4051). Dublin: Association for Computational Linguistics. doi:10.18653/v1/2022.acl-long.279.
  • Galke, L., Cuber, I., Meyer, C., Nölscher, H. F., Sonderecker, A., & Scherp, A. (2022). General cross-architecture distillation of pretrained language models into matrix embedding. In Proceedings of the IEEE Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN 2022), part of the IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence (WCCI 2022). doi:10.1109/IJCNN55064.2022.9892144.

    Abstract

    Large pretrained language models (PreLMs) are rev-olutionizing natural language processing across all benchmarks. However, their sheer size is prohibitive for small laboratories or for deployment on mobile devices. Approaches like pruning and distillation reduce the model size but typically retain the same model architecture. In contrast, we explore distilling PreLMs into a different, more efficient architecture, Continual Multiplication of Words (CMOW), which embeds each word as a matrix and uses matrix multiplication to encode sequences. We extend the CMOW architecture and its CMOW/CBOW-Hybrid variant with a bidirectional component for more expressive power, per-token representations for a general (task-agnostic) distillation during pretraining, and a two-sequence encoding scheme that facilitates downstream tasks on sentence pairs, such as sentence similarity and natural language inference. Our matrix-based bidirectional CMOW/CBOW-Hybrid model is competitive to DistilBERT on question similarity and recognizing textual entailment, but uses only half of the number of parameters and is three times faster in terms of inference speed. We match or exceed the scores of ELMo for all tasks of the GLUE benchmark except for the sentiment analysis task SST-2 and the linguistic acceptability task CoLA. However, compared to previous cross-architecture distillation approaches, we demonstrate a doubling of the scores on detecting linguistic acceptability. This shows that matrix-based embeddings can be used to distill large PreLM into competitive models and motivates further research in this direction.
  • Guadalupe, T., Kong, X., Akkermans, S. E. A., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2022). Relations between hemispheric asymmetries of grey matter and auditory processing of spoken syllables in 281 healthy adults. Brain Structure & Function, 227, 561-572. doi:10.1007/s00429-021-02220-z.

    Abstract

    Most people have a right-ear advantage for the perception of spoken syllables, consistent with left hemisphere dominance for speech processing. However, there is considerable variation, with some people showing left-ear advantage. The extent to which this variation is reflected in brain structure remains unclear. We tested for relations between hemispheric asymmetries of auditory processing and of grey matter in 281 adults, using dichotic listening and voxel-based morphometry. This was the largest study of this issue to date. Per-voxel asymmetry indexes were derived for each participant following registration of brain magnetic resonance images to a template that was symmetrized. The asymmetry index derived from dichotic listening was related to grey matter asymmetry in clusters of voxels corresponding to the amygdala and cerebellum lobule VI. There was also a smaller, non-significant cluster in the posterior superior temporal gyrus, a region of auditory cortex. These findings contribute to the mapping of asymmetrical structure–function links in the human brain and suggest that subcortical structures should be investigated in relation to hemispheric dominance for speech processing, in addition to auditory cortex.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Heim, F. (2022). Singing is silver, hearing is gold: Impacts of local FoxP1 knockdowns on auditory perception and gene expression in female zebra finches. PhD Thesis, Leiden University, Leiden.
  • Hoogman, M., Van Rooij, D., Klein, M., Boedhoe, P., Ilioska, I., Li, T., Patel, Y., Postema, M., Zhang-James, Y., Anagnostou, E., Arango, C., Auzias, G., Banaschewski, T., Bau, C. H. D., Behrmann, M., Bellgrove, M. A., Brandeis, D., Brem, S., Busatto, G. F., Calderoni, S. and 60 moreHoogman, M., Van Rooij, D., Klein, M., Boedhoe, P., Ilioska, I., Li, T., Patel, Y., Postema, M., Zhang-James, Y., Anagnostou, E., Arango, C., Auzias, G., Banaschewski, T., Bau, C. H. D., Behrmann, M., Bellgrove, M. A., Brandeis, D., Brem, S., Busatto, G. F., Calderoni, S., Calvo, R., Castellanos, F. X., Coghill, D., Conzelmann, A., Daly, E., Deruelle, C., Dinstein, I., Durston, S., Ecker, C., Ehrlich, S., Epstein, J. N., Fair, D. A., Fitzgerald, J., Freitag, C. M., Frodl, T., Gallagher, L., Grevet, E. H., Haavik, J., Hoekstra, P. J., Janssen, J., Karkashadze, G., King, J. A., Konrad, K., Kuntsi, J., Lazaro, L., Lerch, J. P., Lesch, K.-P., Louza, M. R., Luna, B., Mattos, P., McGrath, J., Muratori, F., Murphy, C., Nigg, J. T., Oberwelland-Weiss, E., O'Gorman Tuura, R. L., O'Hearn, K., Oosterlaan, J., Parellada, M., Pauli, P., Plessen, K. J., Ramos-Quiroga, J. A., Reif, A., Reneman, L., Retico, A., Rosa, P. G. P., Rubia, K., Shaw, P., Silk, T. J., Tamm, L., Vilarroya, O., Walitza, S., Jahanshad, N., Faraone, S. V., Francks, C., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Paus, T., Thompson, P. M., Buitelaar, J. K., & Franke, B. (2022). Consortium neuroscience of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder: The ENIGMA adventure. Human Brain Mapping, 43(1), 37-55. doi:10.1002/hbm.25029.

    Abstract

    Abstract Neuroimaging has been extensively used to study brain structure and function in individuals with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) over the past decades. Two of the main shortcomings of the neuroimaging literature of these disorders are the small sample sizes employed and the heterogeneity of methods used. In 2013 and 2014, the ENIGMA-ADHD and ENIGMA-ASD working groups were respectively, founded with a common goal to address these limitations. Here, we provide a narrative review of the thus far completed and still ongoing projects of these working groups. Due to an implicitly hierarchical psychiatric diagnostic classification system, the fields of ADHD and ASD have developed largely in isolation, despite the considerable overlap in the occurrence of the disorders. The collaboration between the ENIGMA-ADHD and -ASD working groups seeks to bring the neuroimaging efforts of the two disorders closer together. The outcomes of case–control studies of subcortical and cortical structures showed that subcortical volumes are similarly affected in ASD and ADHD, albeit with small effect sizes. Cortical analyses identified unique differences in each disorder, but also considerable overlap between the two, specifically in cortical thickness. Ongoing work is examining alternative research questions, such as brain laterality, prediction of case–control status, and anatomical heterogeneity. In brief, great strides have been made toward fulfilling the aims of the ENIGMA collaborations, while new ideas and follow-up analyses continue that include more imaging modalities (diffusion MRI and resting-state functional MRI), collaborations with other large databases, and samples with dual diagnoses.
  • Kong, X., ENIGMA Laterality Working Group, & Francks, C. (2022). Reproducibility in the absence of selective reporting: An illustration from large‐scale brain asymmetry research. Human Brain Mapping, 43(1), 244-254. doi:10.1002/hbm.25154.

    Abstract

    The problem of poor reproducibility of scientific findings has received much attention over recent years, in a variety of fields including psychology and neuroscience. The problem has been partly attributed to publication bias and unwanted practices such as p‐hacking. Low statistical power in individual studies is also understood to be an important factor. In a recent multisite collaborative study, we mapped brain anatomical left–right asymmetries for regional measures of surface area and cortical thickness, in 99 MRI datasets from around the world, for a total of over 17,000 participants. In the present study, we revisited these hemispheric effects from the perspective of reproducibility. Within each dataset, we considered that an effect had been reproduced when it matched the meta‐analytic effect from the 98 other datasets, in terms of effect direction and significance threshold. In this sense, the results within each dataset were viewed as coming from separate studies in an “ideal publishing environment,” that is, free from selective reporting and p hacking. We found an average reproducibility rate of 63.2% (SD = 22.9%, min = 22.2%, max = 97.0%). As expected, reproducibility was higher for larger effects and in larger datasets. Reproducibility was not obviously related to the age of participants, scanner field strength, FreeSurfer software version, cortical regional measurement reliability, or regional size. These findings constitute an empirical illustration of reproducibility in the absence of publication bias or p hacking, when assessing realistic biological effects in heterogeneous neuroscience data, and given typically‐used sample sizes.
  • Kong, X., Postema, M., Guadalupe, T., De Kovel, C. G. F., Boedhoe, P. S. W., Hoogman, M., Mathias, S. R., Van Rooij, D., Schijven, D., Glahn, D. C., Medland, S. E., Jahanshad, N., Thomopoulos, S. I., Turner, J. A., Buitelaar, J., Van Erp, T. G. M., Franke, B., Fisher, S. E., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Schmaal, L. and 2 moreKong, X., Postema, M., Guadalupe, T., De Kovel, C. G. F., Boedhoe, P. S. W., Hoogman, M., Mathias, S. R., Van Rooij, D., Schijven, D., Glahn, D. C., Medland, S. E., Jahanshad, N., Thomopoulos, S. I., Turner, J. A., Buitelaar, J., Van Erp, T. G. M., Franke, B., Fisher, S. E., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Schmaal, L., Thompson, P. M., & Francks, C. (2022). Mapping brain asymmetry in health and disease through the ENIGMA consortium. Human Brain Mapping, 43(1), 167-181. doi:10.1002/hbm.25033.

    Abstract

    Left-right asymmetry of the human brain is one of its cardinal features, and also a complex, multivariate trait. Decades of research have suggested that brain asymmetry may be altered in psychiatric disorders. However, findings have been inconsistent and often based on small sample sizes. There are also open questions surrounding which structures are asymmetrical on average in the healthy population, and how variability in brain asymmetry relates to basic biological variables such as age and sex. Over the last four years, the ENIGMA-Laterality Working Group has published six studies of grey matter morphological asymmetry based on total sample sizes from roughly 3,500 to 17,000 individuals, which were between one and two orders of magnitude larger than those published in previous decades. A population-level mapping of average asymmetry was achieved, including an
    intriguing fronto-occipital gradient of cortical thickness asymmetry in healthy brains. ENIGMA’s multidataset approach also supported an empirical illustration of reproducibility of hemispheric differences across datasets. Effect sizes were estimated for grey matter asymmetry based on large, international,
    samples in relation to age, sex, handedness, and brain volume, as well as for three psychiatric disorders:Autism Spectrum Disorder was associated with subtly reduced asymmetry of cortical thickness at regions spread widely over the cortex; Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder was associated with altered subcortical asymmetry; Major Depressive Disorder was not significantly associated with changes
    of asymmetry. Ongoing studies are examining brain asymmetry in other disorders. Moreover, a groundwork has been laid for possibly identifying shared genetic contributions to brain asymmetry and disorders.
  • Laureys, F., De Waelle, S., Barendse, M. T., Lenoir, M., & Deconinck, F. J. (2022). The factor structure of executive function in childhood and adolescence. Intelligence, 90: 101600. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2021.101600.

    Abstract

    Executive functioning (EF) plays a major role in many domains of human behaviour, including self-regulation, academic achievement, and even sports expertise. While a significant proportion of cross-sectional research has focused on the developmental pathways of EF, the existing literature is fractionated due to a wide range of methodologies applied to narrow age ranges, impeding comparison across a broad range of age groups. The current study used a cross-sectional design to investigate the factor structure of EF within late childhood and adolescence. A total of 2166 Flemish children and adolescents completed seven tasks of the Cambridge Brain Sciences test battery. Based on the existing literature, a Confirmatory Factor Analysis was performed, which indicated that a unitary factor model provides the best fit for the youngest age group (7–12 years). For the adolescents (12–18 years), the factor structure consists of four different components, including working memory, shifting, inhibition and planning. With regard to differences between early (12–15 years) and late (15–18 years) adolescents, working memory, inhibition and planning show higher scores for the late adolescents, while there was no difference on shifting. The current study is one of the first to administer the same seven EF tests in a considerably large sample of children and adolescents, and as such contributes to the understanding of the developmental trends in EF. Future studies, especially with longitudinal designs, are encouraged to further increase the knowledge concerning the factor structure of EF, and the development of the different EF components.
  • Molz, B., Herbik, A., Baseler, H. A., de Best, P. B., Vernon, R. W., Raz, N., Gouws, A. D., Ahmadi, K., Lowndes, R., McLean, R. J., Gottlob, I., Kohl, S., Choritz, L., Maguire, J., Kanowski, M., Käsmann-Kellner, B., Wieland, I., Banin, E., Levin, N., Hoffmann, M. B. and 1 moreMolz, B., Herbik, A., Baseler, H. A., de Best, P. B., Vernon, R. W., Raz, N., Gouws, A. D., Ahmadi, K., Lowndes, R., McLean, R. J., Gottlob, I., Kohl, S., Choritz, L., Maguire, J., Kanowski, M., Käsmann-Kellner, B., Wieland, I., Banin, E., Levin, N., Hoffmann, M. B., & Morland, A. B. (2022). Structural changes to primary visual cortex in the congenital absence of cone input in achromatopsia. NeuroImage: Clinical, 33: 102925. doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2021.102925.

    Abstract

    Autosomal recessive Achromatopsia (ACHM) is a rare inherited disorder associated with dysfunctional cone photoreceptors resulting in a congenital absence of cone input to visual cortex. This might lead to distinct changes in cortical architecture with a negative impact on the success of gene augmentation therapies. To investigate the status of the visual cortex in these patients, we performed a multi-centre study focusing on the cortical structure of regions that normally receive predominantly cone input. Using high-resolution T1-weighted MRI scans and surface-based morphometry, we compared cortical thickness, surface area and grey matter volume in foveal, parafoveal and paracentral representations of primary visual cortex in 15 individuals with ACHM and 42 normally sighted, healthy controls (HC). In ACHM, surface area was reduced in all tested representations, while thickening of the cortex was found highly localized to the most central representation. These results were comparable to more widespread changes in brain structure reported in congenitally blind individuals, suggesting similar developmental processes, i.e., irrespective of the underlying cause and extent of vision loss. The cortical differences we report here could limit the success of treatment of ACHM in adulthood. Interventions earlier in life when cortical structure is not different from normal would likely offer better visual outcomes for those with ACHM.
  • Nayak, S., Coleman, P. L., Ladányi, E., Nitin, R., Gustavson, D. E., Fisher, S. E., Magne, C. L., & Gordon, R. L. (2022). The Musical Abilities, Pleiotropy, Language, and Environment (MAPLE) framework for understanding musicality-language links across the lifespan. Neurobiology of Language, 3(4), 615-664. doi:10.1162/nol_a_00079.

    Abstract

    Using individual differences approaches, a growing body of literature finds positive associations between musicality and language-related abilities, complementing prior findings of links between musical training and language skills. Despite these associations, musicality has been often overlooked in mainstream models of individual differences in language acquisition and development. To better understand the biological basis of these individual differences, we propose the Musical Abilities, Pleiotropy, Language, and Environment (MAPLE) framework. This novel integrative framework posits that musical and language-related abilities likely share some common genetic architecture (i.e., genetic pleiotropy) in addition to some degree of overlapping neural endophenotypes, and genetic influences on musically and linguistically enriched environments. Drawing upon recent advances in genomic methodologies for unraveling pleiotropy, we outline testable predictions for future research on language development and how its underlying neurobiological substrates may be supported by genetic pleiotropy with musicality. In support of the MAPLE framework, we review and discuss findings from over seventy behavioral and neural studies, highlighting that musicality is robustly associated with individual differences in a range of speech-language skills required for communication and development. These include speech perception-in-noise, prosodic perception, morphosyntactic skills, phonological skills, reading skills, and aspects of second/foreign language learning. Overall, the current work provides a clear agenda and framework for studying musicality-language links using individual differences approaches, with an emphasis on leveraging advances in the genomics of complex musicality and language traits.
  • Neumann, A., Nolte, I. M., Pappa, I., Ahluwalia, T. S., Pettersson, E., Rodriguez, A., Whitehouse, A., Van Beijsterveldt, C. E. M., Benyamin, B., Hammerschlag, A. R., Helmer, Q., Karhunen, V., Krapohl, E., Lu, Y., Van der Most, P. J., Palviainen, T., St Pourcain, B., Seppälä, I., Suarez, A., Vilor-Tejedor, N. and 41 moreNeumann, A., Nolte, I. M., Pappa, I., Ahluwalia, T. S., Pettersson, E., Rodriguez, A., Whitehouse, A., Van Beijsterveldt, C. E. M., Benyamin, B., Hammerschlag, A. R., Helmer, Q., Karhunen, V., Krapohl, E., Lu, Y., Van der Most, P. J., Palviainen, T., St Pourcain, B., Seppälä, I., Suarez, A., Vilor-Tejedor, N., Tiesler, C. M. T., Wang, C., Wills, A., Zhou, A., Alemany, S., Bisgaard, H., Bønnelykke, K., Davies, G. E., Hakulinen, C., Henders, A. K., Hyppönen, E., Stokholm, J., Bartels, M., Hottenga, J.-J., Heinrich, J., Hewitt, J., Keltikangas-Järvinen, L., Korhonen, T., Kaprio, J., Lahti, J., Lahti-Pulkkinen, M., Lehtimäki, T., Middeldorp, C. M., Najman, J. M., Pennell, C., Power, C., Oldehinkel, A. J., Plomin, R., Räikkönen, K., Raitakari, O. T., Rimfeld, K., Sass, L., Snieder, H., Standl, M., Sunyer, J., Williams, G. M., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., Boomsma, D. I., Van IJzendoorn, M. H., Hartman, C. A., & Tiemeier, H. (2022). A genome-wide association study of total child psychiatric problems scores. PLOS ONE, 17(8): e0273116. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0273116.

    Abstract

    Substantial genetic correlations have been reported across psychiatric disorders and numerous cross-disorder genetic variants have been detected. To identify the genetic variants underlying general psychopathology in childhood, we performed a genome-wide association study using a total psychiatric problem score. We analyzed 6,844,199 common SNPs in 38,418 school-aged children from 20 population-based cohorts participating in the EAGLE consortium. The SNP heritability of total psychiatric problems was 5.4% (SE = 0.01) and two loci reached genome-wide significance: rs10767094 and rs202005905. We also observed an association of SBF2, a gene associated with neuroticism in previous GWAS, with total psychiatric problems. The genetic effects underlying the total score were shared with common psychiatric disorders only (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, insomnia) (rG > 0.49), but not with autism or the less common adult disorders (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or eating disorders) (rG < 0.01). Importantly, the total psychiatric problem score also showed at least a moderate genetic correlation with intelligence, educational attainment, wellbeing, smoking, and body fat (rG > 0.29). The results suggest that many common genetic variants are associated with childhood psychiatric symptoms and related phenotypes in general instead of with specific symptoms. Further research is needed to establish causality and pleiotropic mechanisms between related traits.

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  • Niarchou, M., Gustavson, D. E., Sathirapongsasuti, J. F., Anglada-Tort, M., Eising, E., Bell, E., McArthur, E., Straub, P., The 23andMe Research Team, McAuley, J. D., Capra, J. A., Ullén, F., Creanza, N., Mosing, M. A., Hinds, D., Davis, L. K., Jacoby, N., & Gordon, R. L. (2022). Genome-wide association study of musical beat synchronization demonstrates high polygenicity. Nature Human Behaviour, 6(9), 1292-1309. doi:10.1038/s41562-022-01359-x.

    Abstract

    Moving in synchrony to the beat is a fundamental component of musicality. Here we conducted a genome-wide association study to identify common genetic variants associated with beat synchronization in 606,825 individuals. Beat synchronization exhibited a highly polygenic architecture, with 69 loci reaching genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8) and single-nucleotide-polymorphism-based heritability (on the liability scale) of 13%–16%. Heritability was enriched for genes expressed in brain tissues and for fetal and adult brain-specific gene regulatory elements, underscoring the role of central-nervous-system-expressed genes linked to the genetic basis of the trait. We performed validations of the self-report phenotype (through separate experiments) and of the genome-wide association study (polygenic scores for beat synchronization were associated with patients algorithmically classified as musicians in medical records of a separate biobank). Genetic correlations with breathing function, motor function, processing speed and chronotype suggest shared genetic architecture with beat synchronization and provide avenues for new phenotypic and genetic explorations.

    Additional information

    supplementary information
  • Park, B.-y., Larivière, S., Rodríguez-Cruces, R., Royer, J., Tavakol, S., Wang, Y., Caciagli, L., Caligiuri, M. E., Gambardella, A., Concha, L., Keller, S. S., Cendes, F., Alvim, M. K. M., Yasuda, C., Bonilha, L., Gleichgerrcht, E., Focke, N. K., Kreilkamp, B. A. K., Domin, M., Von Podewils, F. and 66 morePark, B.-y., Larivière, S., Rodríguez-Cruces, R., Royer, J., Tavakol, S., Wang, Y., Caciagli, L., Caligiuri, M. E., Gambardella, A., Concha, L., Keller, S. S., Cendes, F., Alvim, M. K. M., Yasuda, C., Bonilha, L., Gleichgerrcht, E., Focke, N. K., Kreilkamp, B. A. K., Domin, M., Von Podewils, F., Langner, S., Rummel, C., Rebsamen, M., Wiest, R., Martin, P., Kotikalapudi, R., Bender, B., O’Brien, T. J., Law, M., Sinclair, B., Vivash, L., Desmond, P. M., Malpas, C. B., Lui, E., Alhusaini, S., Doherty, C. P., Cavalleri, G. L., Delanty, N., Kälviäinen, R., Jackson, G. D., Kowalczyk, M., Mascalchi, M., Semmelroch, M., Thomas, R. H., Soltanian-Zadeh, H., Davoodi-Bojd, E., Zhang, J., Lenge, M., Guerrini, R., Bartolini, E., Hamandi, K., Foley, S., Weber, B., Depondt, C., Absil, J., Carr, S. J. A., Abela, E., Richardson, M. P., Devinsky, O., Severino, M., Striano, P., Parodi, C., Tortora, D., Hatton, S. N., Vos, S. B., Duncan, J. S., Galovic, M., Whelan, C. D., Bargalló, N., Pariente, J., Conde, E., Vaudano, A. E., Tondelli, M., Meletti, S., Kong, X., Francks, C., Fisher, S. E., Caldairou, B., Ryten, M., Labate, A., Sisodiya, S. M., Thompson, P. M., McDonald, C. R., Bernasconi, A., Bernasconi, N., & Bernhardt, B. C. (2022). Topographic divergence of atypical cortical asymmetry and atrophy patterns in temporal lobe epilepsy. Brain, 145(4), 1285-1298. doi:10.1093/brain/awab417.

    Abstract

    Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), a common drug-resistant epilepsy in adults, is primarily a limbic network disorder associated with predominant unilateral hippocampal pathology. Structural MRI has provided an in vivo window into whole-brain grey matter structural alterations in TLE relative to controls, by either mapping (i) atypical inter-hemispheric asymmetry or (ii) regional atrophy. However, similarities and differences of both atypical asymmetry and regional atrophy measures have not been systematically investigated.

    Here, we addressed this gap using the multi-site ENIGMA-Epilepsy dataset comprising MRI brain morphological measures in 732 TLE patients and 1,418 healthy controls. We compared spatial distributions of grey matter asymmetry and atrophy in TLE, contextualized their topographies relative to spatial gradients in cortical microstructure and functional connectivity calculated using 207 healthy controls obtained from Human Connectome Project and an independent dataset containing 23 TLE patients and 53 healthy controls, and examined clinical associations using machine learning.

    We identified a marked divergence in the spatial distribution of atypical inter-hemispheric asymmetry and regional atrophy mapping. The former revealed a temporo-limbic disease signature while the latter showed diffuse and bilateral patterns. Our findings were robust across individual sites and patients. Cortical atrophy was significantly correlated with disease duration and age at seizure onset, while degrees of asymmetry did not show a significant relationship to these clinical variables.

    Our findings highlight that the mapping of atypical inter-hemispheric asymmetry and regional atrophy tap into two complementary aspects of TLE-related pathology, with the former revealing primary substrates in ipsilateral limbic circuits and the latter capturing bilateral disease effects. These findings refine our notion of the neuropathology of TLE and may inform future discovery and validation of complementary MRI biomarkers in TLE.

    Additional information

    awab417_supplementary_data.pdf
  • Postema, A., Van Mierlo, H., Bakker, A. B., & Barendse, M. T. (2022). Study-to-sports spillover among competitive athletes: A field study. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/1612197X.2022.2058054.

    Abstract

    Combining academics and athletics is challenging but important for the psychological and psychosocial development of those involved. However, little is known about how experiences in academics spill over and relate to athletics. Drawing on the enrichment mechanisms proposed by the Work-Home Resources model, we posit that study crafting behaviours are positively related to volatile personal resources, which, in turn, are related to higher athletic achievement. Via structural equation modelling, we examine a path model among 243 student-athletes, incorporating study crafting behaviours and personal resources (i.e., positive affect and study engagement), and self- and coach-rated athletic achievement measured two weeks later. Results show that optimising the academic environment by crafting challenging study demands relates positively to positive affect and study engagement. In turn, positive affect related positively to self-rated athletic achievement, whereas – unexpectedly – study engagement related negatively to coach-rated athletic achievement. Optimising the academic environment through cognitive crafting and crafting social study resources did not relate to athletic outcomes. We discuss how these findings offer new insights into the interplay between academics and athletics.
  • Price, K. M., Wigg, K. G., Eising, E., Feng, Y., Blokland, K., Wilkinson, M., Kerr, E. N., Guger, S. L., Quantitative Trait Working Group of the GenLang Consortium, Fisher, S. E., Lovett, M. W., Strug, L. J., & Barr, C. L. (2022). Hypothesis-driven genome-wide association studies provide novel insights into genetics of reading disabilities. Translational Psychiatry, 12: 495. doi:10.1038/s41398-022-02250-z.

    Abstract

    Reading Disability (RD) is often characterized by difficulties in the phonology of the language. While the molecular mechanisms underlying it are largely undetermined, loci are being revealed by genome-wide association studies (GWAS). In a previous GWAS for word reading (Price, 2020), we observed that top single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were located near to or in genes involved in neuronal migration/axon guidance (NM/AG) or loci implicated in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A prominent theory of RD etiology posits that it involves disturbed neuronal migration, while potential links between RD-ASD have not been extensively investigated. To improve power to identify associated loci, we up-weighted variants involved in NM/AG or ASD, separately, and performed a new Hypothesis-Driven (HD)–GWAS. The approach was applied to a Toronto RD sample and a meta-analysis of the GenLang Consortium. For the Toronto sample (n = 624), no SNPs reached significance; however, by gene-set analysis, the joint contribution of ASD-related genes passed the threshold (p~1.45 × 10–2, threshold = 2.5 × 10–2). For the GenLang Cohort (n = 26,558), SNPs in DOCK7 and CDH4 showed significant association for the NM/AG hypothesis (sFDR q = 1.02 × 10–2). To make the GenLang dataset more similar to Toronto, we repeated the analysis restricting to samples selected for reading/language deficits (n = 4152). In this GenLang selected subset, we found significant association for a locus intergenic between BTG3-C21orf91 for both hypotheses (sFDR q < 9.00 × 10–4). This study contributes candidate loci to the genetics of word reading. Data also suggest that, although different variants may be involved, alleles implicated in ASD risk may be found in the same genes as those implicated in word reading. This finding is limited to the Toronto sample suggesting that ascertainment influences genetic associations.
  • Raviv, L., Lupyan, G., & Green, S. C. (2022). How variability shapes learning and generalization. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 26(6), 462-483. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2022.03.007.

    Abstract

    Learning is using past experiences to inform new behaviors and actions. Because all experiences are unique, learning always requires some generalization. An effective way of improving generalization is to expose learners to more variable (and thus often more representative) input. More variability tends to make initial learning more challenging, but eventually leads to more general and robust performance. This core principle has been repeatedly rediscovered and renamed in different domains (e.g., contextual diversity, desirable difficulties, variability of practice). Reviewing this basic result as it has been formulated in different domains allows us to identify key patterns, distinguish between different kinds of variability, discuss the roles of varying task-relevant versus irrelevant dimensions, and examine the effects of introducing variability at different points in training.
  • Raviv, L., Jacobson, S. L., Plotnik, J. M., Bowman, J., Lynch, V., & Benítez-Burraco, A. (2022). Elephants as a new animal model for studying the evolution of language as a result of self-domestication. In A. Ravignani, R. Asano, D. Valente, F. Ferretti, S. Hartmann, M. Hayashi, Y. Jadoul, M. Martins, Y. Oseki, E. D. Rodrigues, O. Vasileva, & S. Wacewicz (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the Joint Conference on Language Evolution (JCoLE) (pp. 606-608). Nijmegen: Joint Conference on Language Evolution (JCoLE).
  • Raviv, L., Peckre, L. R., & Boeckx, C. (2022). What is simple is actually quite complex: A critical note on terminology in the domain of language and communication. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 136(4), 215-220. doi:10.1037/com0000328.

    Abstract

    On the surface, the fields of animal communication and human linguistics have arrived at conflicting theories and conclusions with respect to the effect of social complexity on communicative complexity. For example, an increase in group size is argued to have opposite consequences on human versus animal communication systems: although an increase in human community size leads to some types of language simplification, an increase in animal group size leads to an increase in signal complexity. But do human and animal communication systems really show such a fundamental discrepancy? Our key message is that the tension between these two adjacent fields is the result of (a) a focus on different levels of analysis (namely, signal variation or grammar-like rules) and (b) an inconsistent use of terminology (namely, the terms “simple” and “complex”). By disentangling and clarifying these terms with respect to different measures of communicative complexity, we show that although animal and human communication systems indeed show some contradictory effects with respect to signal variability, they actually display essentially the same patterns with respect to grammar-like structure. This is despite the fact that the definitions of complexity and simplicity are actually aligned for signal variability, but diverge for grammatical structure. We conclude by advocating for the use of more objective and descriptive terms instead of terms such as “complexity,” which can be applied uniformly for human and animal communication systems—leading to comparable descriptions of findings across species and promoting a more productive dialogue between fields.
  • Schlag, F., Allegrini, A. G., Buitelaar, J., Verhoef, E., Van Donkelaar, M. M. J., Plomin, R., Rimfeld, K., Fisher, S. E., & St Pourcain, B. (2022). Polygenic risk for mental disorder reveals distinct association profiles across social behaviour in the general population. Molecular Psychiatry, 27, 1588-1598. doi:10.1038/s41380-021-01419-0.

    Abstract

    Many mental health conditions present a spectrum of social difficulties that overlaps with social behaviour in the general population including shared but little characterised genetic links. Here, we systematically investigate heterogeneity in shared genetic liabilities with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), bipolar disorder (BP), major depression (MD) and schizophrenia across a spectrum of different social symptoms. Longitudinally assessed low-prosociality and peer-problem scores in two UK population-based cohorts (4–17 years; parent- and teacher-reports; Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children(ALSPAC): N ≤ 6,174; Twins Early Development Study(TEDS): N ≤ 7,112) were regressed on polygenic risk scores for disorder, as informed by genome-wide summary statistics from large consortia, using negative binomial regression models. Across ALSPAC and TEDS, we replicated univariate polygenic associations between social behaviour and risk for ADHD, MD and schizophrenia. Modelling variation in univariate genetic effects jointly using random-effect meta-regression revealed evidence for polygenic links between social behaviour and ADHD, ASD, MD, and schizophrenia risk, but not BP. Differences in age, reporter and social trait captured 45–88% in univariate effect variation. Cross-disorder adjusted analyses demonstrated that age-related heterogeneity in univariate effects is shared across mental health conditions, while reporter- and social trait-specific heterogeneity captures disorder-specific profiles. In particular, ADHD, MD, and ASD polygenic risk were more strongly linked to peer problems than low prosociality, while schizophrenia was associated with low prosociality only. The identified association profiles suggest differences in the social genetic architecture across mental disorders when investigating polygenic overlap with population-based social symptoms spanning 13 years of child and adolescent development.
  • Sha, Z., Van Rooij, D., Anagnostou, E., Arango, C., Auzias, G., Behrmann, M., Bernhardt, B., Bolte, S., Busatto, G. F., Calderoni, S., Calvo, R., Daly, E., Deruelle, C., Duan, M., Duran, F. L. S., Durston, S., Ecker, C., Ehrlich, S., Fair, D., Fedor, J. and 38 moreSha, Z., Van Rooij, D., Anagnostou, E., Arango, C., Auzias, G., Behrmann, M., Bernhardt, B., Bolte, S., Busatto, G. F., Calderoni, S., Calvo, R., Daly, E., Deruelle, C., Duan, M., Duran, F. L. S., Durston, S., Ecker, C., Ehrlich, S., Fair, D., Fedor, J., Fitzgerald, J., Floris, D. L., Franke, B., Freitag, C. M., Gallagher, L., Glahn, D. C., Haar, S., Hoekstra, L., Jahanshad, N., Jalbrzikowski, M., Janssen, J., King, J. A., Lazaro, L., Luna, B., McGrath, J., Medland, S. E., Muratori, F., Murphy, D. G., Neufeld, J., O’Hearn, K., Oranje, B., Parellada, M., Pariente, J. C., Postema, M., Remnelius, K. L., Retico, A., Rosa, P. G. P., Rubia, K., Shook, D., Tammimies, K., Taylor, M. J., Tosetti, M., Wallace, G. L., Zhou, F., Thompson, P. M., Fisher, S. E., Buitelaar, J. K., & Francks, C. (2022). Subtly altered topological asymmetry of brain structural covariance networks in autism spectrum disorder across 43 datasets from the ENIGMA consortium. Molecular Psychiatry, 27, 2114-2125. doi:10.1038/s41380-022-01452-7.

    Abstract

    Small average differences in the left-right asymmetry of cerebral cortical thickness have been reported in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared to typically developing controls, affecting widespread cortical regions. The possible impacts of these regional alterations in terms of structural network effects have not previously been characterized. Inter-regional morphological covariance analysis can capture network connectivity between different cortical areas at the macroscale level. Here, we used cortical thickness data from 1455 individuals with ASD and 1560 controls, across 43 independent datasets of the ENIGMA consortium’s ASD Working Group, to assess hemispheric asymmetries of intra-individual structural covariance networks, using graph theory-based topological metrics. Compared with typical features of small-world architecture in controls, the ASD sample showed significantly altered average asymmetry of networks involving the fusiform, rostral middle frontal, and medial orbitofrontal cortex, involving higher randomization of the corresponding right-hemispheric networks in ASD. A network involving the superior frontal cortex showed decreased right-hemisphere randomization. Based on comparisons with meta-analyzed functional neuroimaging data, the altered connectivity asymmetry particularly affected networks that subserve executive functions, language-related and sensorimotor processes. These findings provide a network-level characterization of altered left-right brain asymmetry in ASD, based on a large combined sample. Altered asymmetrical brain development in ASD may be partly propagated among spatially distant regions through structural connectivity.
  • Sønderby, I. E., Ching, C. R. K., Thomopoulos, S. I., Van der Meer, D., Sun, D., Villalon‐Reina, J. E., Agartz, I., Amunts, K., Arango, C., Armstrong, N. J., Ayesa‐Arriola, R., Bakker, G., Bassett, A. S., Boomsma, D. I., Bülow, R., Butcher, N. J., Calhoun, V. D., Caspers, S., Chow, E. W. C., Cichon, S. and 84 moreSønderby, I. E., Ching, C. R. K., Thomopoulos, S. I., Van der Meer, D., Sun, D., Villalon‐Reina, J. E., Agartz, I., Amunts, K., Arango, C., Armstrong, N. J., Ayesa‐Arriola, R., Bakker, G., Bassett, A. S., Boomsma, D. I., Bülow, R., Butcher, N. J., Calhoun, V. D., Caspers, S., Chow, E. W. C., Cichon, S., Ciufolini, S., Craig, M. C., Crespo‐Facorro, B., Cunningham, A. C., Dale, A. M., Dazzan, P., De Zubicaray, G. I., Djurovic, S., Doherty, J. L., Donohoe, G., Draganski, B., Durdle, C. A., Ehrlich, S., Emanuel, B. S., Espeseth, T., Fisher, S. E., Ge, T., Glahn, D. C., Grabe, H. J., Gur, R. E., Gutman, B. A., Haavik, J., Håberg, A. K., Hansen, L. A., Hashimoto, R., Hibar, D. P., Holmes, A. J., Hottenga, J., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Jalbrzikowski, M., Knowles, E. E. M., Kushan, L., Linden, D. E. J., Liu, J., Lundervold, A. J., Martin‐Brevet, S., Martínez, K., Mather, K. A., Mathias, S. R., McDonald‐McGinn, D. M., McRae, A. F., Medland, S. E., Moberget, T., Modenato, C., Monereo Sánchez, J., Moreau, C. A., Mühleisen, T. W., Paus, T., Pausova, Z., Prieto, C., Ragothaman, A., Reinbold, C. S., Reis Marques, T., Repetto, G. M., Reymond, A., Roalf, D. R., Rodriguez‐Herreros, B., Rucker, J. J., Sachdev, P. S., Schmitt, J. E., Schofield, P. R., Silva, A. I., Stefansson, H., Stein, D. J., Tamnes, C. K., Tordesillas‐Gutiérrez, D., Ulfarsson, M. O., Vajdi, A., Van 't Ent, D., Van den Bree, M. B. M., Vassos, E., Vázquez‐Bourgon, J., Vila‐Rodriguez, F., Walters, G. B., Wen, W., Westlye, L. T., Wittfeld, K., Zackai, E. H., Stefánsson, K., Jacquemont, S., Thompson, P. M., Bearden, C. E., Andreassen, O. A., the ENIGMA-CNV Working Group, & the ENIGMA 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome Working Group (2022). Effects of copy number variations on brain structure and risk for psychiatric illness: Large‐scale studies from the ENIGMAworking groups on CNVs. Human Brain Mapping, 43(1), 300-328. doi:10.1002/hbm.25354.

    Abstract

    The Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta‐Analysis copy number variant (ENIGMA‐CNV) and 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome Working Groups (22q‐ENIGMA WGs) were created to gain insight into the involvement of genetic factors in human brain development and related cognitive, psychiatric and behavioral manifestations. To that end, the ENIGMA‐CNV WG has collated CNV and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from ~49,000 individuals across 38 global research sites, yielding one of the largest studies to date on the effects of CNVs on brain structures in the general population. The 22q‐ENIGMA WG includes 12 international research centers that assessed over 533 individuals with a confirmed 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, 40 with 22q11.2 duplications, and 333 typically developing controls, creating the largest‐ever 22q11.2 CNV neuroimaging data set. In this review, we outline the ENIGMA infrastructure and procedures for multi‐site analysis of CNVs and MRI data. So far, ENIGMA has identified effects of the 22q11.2, 16p11.2 distal, 15q11.2, and 1q21.1 distal CNVs on subcortical and cortical brain structures. Each CNV is associated with differences in cognitive, neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric traits, with characteristic patterns of brain structural abnormalities. Evidence of gene‐dosage effects on distinct brain regions also emerged, providing further insight into genotype–phenotype relationships. Taken together, these results offer a more comprehensive picture of molecular mechanisms involved in typical and atypical brain development. This “genotype‐first” approach also contributes to our understanding of the etiopathogenesis of brain disorders. Finally, we outline future directions to better understand effects of CNVs on brain structure and behavior.
  • Tielbeek, J. J., Uffelmann, E., Williams, B. S., Colodro-Conde, L., Gagnon, É., Mallard, T. T., Levitt, B., Jansen, P. R., Johansson, A., Sallis, H. M., Pistis, G., Saunders, G. R. B., Allegrini, A. G., Rimfeld, K., Konte, B., Klein, M., Hartmann, A. M., Salvatore, J. E., Nolte, I. M., Demontis, D. and 63 moreTielbeek, J. J., Uffelmann, E., Williams, B. S., Colodro-Conde, L., Gagnon, É., Mallard, T. T., Levitt, B., Jansen, P. R., Johansson, A., Sallis, H. M., Pistis, G., Saunders, G. R. B., Allegrini, A. G., Rimfeld, K., Konte, B., Klein, M., Hartmann, A. M., Salvatore, J. E., Nolte, I. M., Demontis, D., Malmberg, A., Burt, S. A., Savage, J., Sugden, K., Poulton, R., Harris, K. M., Vrieze, S., McGue, M., Iacono, W. G., Mota, N. R., Mill, J., Viana, J. F., Mitchell, B. L., Morosoli, J. J., Andlauer, T., Ouellet-Morin, I., Tremblay, R. E., Côté, S., Gouin, J.-P., Brendgen, M., Dionne, G., Vitaro, F., Lupton, M. K., Martin, N. G., COGA Consortium, Spit for Science Working Group, Castelao, E., Räikkönen, K., Eriksson, J., Lahti, J., Hartman, C. A., Oldehinkel, A. J., Snieder, H., Liu, H., Preisig, M., Whipp, A., Vuoksimaa, E., Lu, Y., Jern, P., Rujescu, D., Giegling, I., Palviainen, T., Kaprio, J., Harden, K. P., Munafò, M. R., Morneau-Vaillancourt, G., Plomin, R., Viding, E., Boutwell, B. B., Aliev, F., Dick, D., Popma, A., Faraone, S. V., Børglum, A. D., Medland, S. E., Franke, B., Boivin, M., Pingault, J.-B., Glennon, J. C., Barnes, J. C., Fisher, S. E., Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, A., Polderman, T. J., & Posthuma, D. (2022). Uncovering the genetic architecture of broad antisocial behavior through a genome-wide association study meta-analysis. Molecular Psychiatry, 27(11), 4453-4463. doi:10.1038/s41380-022-01793-3.

    Abstract

    Despite the substantial heritability of antisocial behavior (ASB), specific genetic variants robustly associated with the trait have not been identified. The present study by the Broad Antisocial Behavior Consortium (BroadABC) meta-analyzed data from 28 discovery samples (N = 85,359) and five independent replication samples (N = 8058) with genotypic data and broad measures of ASB. We identified the first significant genetic associations with broad ASB, involving common intronic variants in the forkhead box protein P2 (FOXP2) gene (lead SNP rs12536335, p = 6.32 × 10−10). Furthermore, we observed intronic variation in Foxp2 and one of its targets (Cntnap2) distinguishing a mouse model of pathological aggression (BALB/cJ strain) from controls (BALB/cByJ strain). Polygenic risk score (PRS) analyses in independent samples revealed that the genetic risk for ASB was associated with several antisocial outcomes across the lifespan, including diagnosis of conduct disorder, official criminal convictions, and trajectories of antisocial development. We found substantial genetic correlations of ASB with mental health (depression rg = 0.63, insomnia rg = 0.47), physical health (overweight rg = 0.19, waist-to-hip ratio rg = 0.32), smoking (rg = 0.54), cognitive ability (intelligence rg = −0.40), educational attainment (years of schooling rg = −0.46) and reproductive traits (age at first birth rg = −0.58, father’s age at death rg = −0.54). Our findings provide a starting point toward identifying critical biosocial risk mechanisms for the development of ASB.
  • Trupp, M. D., Bignardi, G., Chana, K., Specker, E., & Pelowski, M. (2022). Can a brief interaction with online, digital art improve wellbeing? A comparative study of the impact of online art and culture presentations on mood, state-anxiety, subjective wellbeing, and loneliness. Frontiers in Psychology, 13: 782033. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2022.782033.

    Abstract

    When experienced in-person, engagement with art has been associated—in a growing body of evidence—with positive outcomes in wellbeing and mental health. This represents an exciting new field for psychology, curation, and health interventions, suggesting a widely-accessible, cost-effective, and non-pharmaceutical means of regulating factors such as mood or anxiety. However, can similar impacts be found with online presentations? If so, this would open up positive outcomes to an even-wider population—a trend accelerating due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Despite its promise, this question, and the underlying mechanisms of art interventions and impacts, has largely not been explored. Participants (N = 84) were asked to engage with one of two online exhibitions from Google Arts and Culture (a Monet painting or a similarly-formatted display of Japanese culinary traditions). With just 1–2 min exposure, both improved negative mood, state-anxiety, loneliness, and wellbeing. Stepdown analysis suggested the changes can be explained primarily via negative mood, while improvements in mood correlated with aesthetic appraisals and cognitive-emotional experience of the exhibition. However, no difference was found between exhibitions. We discuss the findings in terms of applications and targets for future research.

    Additional information

    supplementary materials
  • Vagliano, I., Galke, L., & Scherp, A. (2022). Recommendations for item set completion: On the semantics of item co-occurrence with data sparsity, input size, and input modalities. Information Retrieval Journal, 25(3), 269-305. doi:10.1007/s10791-022-09408-9.

    Abstract

    We address the problem of recommending relevant items to a user in order to "complete" a partial set of items already known. We consider the two scenarios of citation and subject label recommendation, which resemble different semantics of item co-occurrence: relatedness for co-citations and diversity for subject labels. We assess the influence of the completeness of an already known partial item set on the recommender performance. We also investigate data sparsity through a pruning parameter and the influence of using additional metadata. As recommender models, we focus on different autoencoders, which are particularly suited for reconstructing missing items in a set. We extend autoencoders to exploit a multi-modal input of text and structured data. Our experiments on six real-world datasets show that supplying the partial item set as input is helpful when item co-occurrence resembles relatedness, while metadata are effective when co-occurrence implies diversity. This outcome means that the semantics of item co-occurrence is an important factor. The simple item co-occurrence model is a strong baseline for citation recommendation. However, autoencoders have the advantage to enable exploiting additional metadata besides the partial item set as input and achieve comparable performance. For the subject label recommendation task, the title is the most important attribute. Adding more input modalities sometimes even harms the result. In conclusion, it is crucial to consider the semantics of the item co-occurrence for the choice of an appropriate recommendation model and carefully decide which metadata to exploit.
  • Van der Spek, J., Den Hoed, J., Snijders Blok, L., Dingemans, A. J. M., Schijven, D., Nellaker, C., Venselaar, H., Astuti, G. D. N., Barakat, T. S., Bebin, E. M., Beck-Wödl, S., Beunders, G., Brown, N. J., Brunet, T., Brunner, H. G., Campeau, P. M., Čuturilo, G., Gilissen, C., Haack, T. B., Hüning, I. and 26 moreVan der Spek, J., Den Hoed, J., Snijders Blok, L., Dingemans, A. J. M., Schijven, D., Nellaker, C., Venselaar, H., Astuti, G. D. N., Barakat, T. S., Bebin, E. M., Beck-Wödl, S., Beunders, G., Brown, N. J., Brunet, T., Brunner, H. G., Campeau, P. M., Čuturilo, G., Gilissen, C., Haack, T. B., Hüning, I., Husain, R. A., Kamien, B., Lim, S. C., Lovrecic, L., Magg, J., Maver, A., Miranda, V., Monteil, D. C., Ockeloen, C. W., Pais, L. S., Plaiasu, V., Raiti, L., Richmond, C., Rieß, A., Schwaibold, E. M. C., Simon, M. E. H., Spranger, S., Tan, T. Y., Thompson, M. L., De Vries, B. B., Wilkins, E. J., Willemsen, M. H., Francks, C., Vissers, L. E. L. M., Fisher, S. E., & Kleefstra, T. (2022). Inherited variants in CHD3 show variable expressivity in Snijders Blok-Campeau syndrome. Genetics in Medicine, 24(6), 1283-1296. doi:10.1016/j.gim.2022.02.014.

    Abstract

    Purpose

    Common diagnostic next-generation sequencing strategies are not optimized to identify inherited variants in genes associated with dominant neurodevelopmental disorders as causal when the transmitting parent is clinically unaffected, leaving a significant number of cases with neurodevelopmental disorders undiagnosed.
    Methods

    We characterized 21 families with inherited heterozygous missense or protein-truncating variants in CHD3, a gene in which de novo variants cause Snijders Blok-Campeau syndrome.
    Results

    Computational facial and Human Phenotype Ontology–based comparisons showed that the phenotype of probands with inherited CHD3 variants overlaps with the phenotype previously associated with de novo CHD3 variants, whereas heterozygote parents are mildly or not affected, suggesting variable expressivity. In addition, similarly reduced expression levels of CHD3 protein in cells of an affected proband and of healthy family members with a CHD3 protein-truncating variant suggested that compensation of expression from the wild-type allele is unlikely to be an underlying mechanism. Notably, most inherited CHD3 variants were maternally transmitted.
    Conclusion

    Our results point to a significant role of inherited variation in Snijders Blok-Campeau syndrome, a finding that is critical for correct variant interpretation and genetic counseling and warrants further investigation toward understanding the broader contributions of such variation to the landscape of human disease.
  • Van den Heuvel, O. A., Boedhoe, P. S., Bertolin, S., Bruin, W. B., Francks, C., Ivanov, I., Jahanshad, N., Kong, X., Kwon, J. S., O'Neill, J., Paus, T., Patel, Y., Piras, F., Schmaal, L., Soriano-Mas, C., Spalletta, G., Van Wingen, G. A., Yun, J.-Y., Vriend, C., Simpson, H. B. and 43 moreVan den Heuvel, O. A., Boedhoe, P. S., Bertolin, S., Bruin, W. B., Francks, C., Ivanov, I., Jahanshad, N., Kong, X., Kwon, J. S., O'Neill, J., Paus, T., Patel, Y., Piras, F., Schmaal, L., Soriano-Mas, C., Spalletta, G., Van Wingen, G. A., Yun, J.-Y., Vriend, C., Simpson, H. B., Van Rooij, D., Hoexter, M. Q., Hoogman, M., Buitelaar, J. K., Arnold, P., Beucke, J. C., Benedetti, F., Bollettini, I., Bose, A., Brennan, B. P., De Nadai, A. S., Fitzgerald, K., Gruner, P., Grünblatt, E., Hirano, Y., Huyser, C., James, A., Koch, K., Kvale, G., Lazaro, L., Lochner, C., Marsh, R., Mataix-Cols, D., Morgado, P., Nakamae, T., Nakao, T., Narayanaswamy, J. C., Nurmi, E., Pittenger, C., Reddy, Y. J., Sato, J. R., Soreni, N., Stewart, S. E., Taylor, S. F., Tolin, D., Thomopoulos, S. I., Veltman, D. J., Venkatasubramanian, G., Walitza, S., Wang, Z., Thompson, P. M., Stein, D. J., & ENIGMA-OCD working (2022). An overview of the first 5 years of the ENIGMA obsessive–compulsive disorder working group: The power of worldwide collaboration. Human Brain Mapping, 43(1), 23-36. doi:10.1002/hbm.24972.

    Abstract

    Abstract Neuroimaging has played an important part in advancing our understanding of the neurobiology of obsessive?compulsive disorder (OCD). At the same time, neuroimaging studies of OCD have had notable limitations, including reliance on relatively small samples. International collaborative efforts to increase statistical power by combining samples from across sites have been bolstered by the ENIGMA consortium; this provides specific technical expertise for conducting multi-site analyses, as well as access to a collaborative community of neuroimaging scientists. In this article, we outline the background to, development of, and initial findings from ENIGMA's OCD working group, which currently consists of 47 samples from 34 institutes in 15 countries on 5 continents, with a total sample of 2,323 OCD patients and 2,325 healthy controls. Initial work has focused on studies of cortical thickness and subcortical volumes, structural connectivity, and brain lateralization in children, adolescents and adults with OCD, also including the study on the commonalities and distinctions across different neurodevelopment disorders. Additional work is ongoing, employing machine learning techniques. Findings to date have contributed to the development of neurobiological models of OCD, have provided an important model of global scientific collaboration, and have had a number of clinical implications. Importantly, our work has shed new light on questions about whether structural and functional alterations found in OCD reflect neurodevelopmental changes, effects of the disease process, or medication impacts. We conclude with a summary of ongoing work by ENIGMA-OCD, and a consideration of future directions for neuroimaging research on OCD within and beyond ENIGMA.
  • Vessel, E. A., Ishizu, T., & Bignardi, G. (2022). Neural correlates of visual aesthetic appeal. In M. Skov, & M. Nadal (Eds.), The Routledge international handbook of neuroaesthetics (pp. 103-133). London: Routledge.
  • Vogelezang, S., Bradfield, J. P., the Early Growth Genetics Consortium, Grant, S. F. A., Felix, J. F., & Jaddoe, V. W. V. (2022). Genetics of early-life head circumference and genetic correlations with neurological, psychiatric and cognitive outcomes. BMC Medical Genomics, 15: 124. doi:10.1186/s12920-022-01281-1.

    Abstract

    Background

    Head circumference is associated with intelligence and tracks from childhood into adulthood.
    Methods

    We performed a genome-wide association study meta-analysis and follow-up of head circumference in a total of 29,192 participants between 6 and 30 months of age.
    Results

    Seven loci reached genome-wide significance in the combined discovery and replication analysis of which three loci near ARFGEF2, MYCL1, and TOP1, were novel. We observed positive genetic correlations for early-life head circumference with adult intracranial volume, years of schooling, childhood and adult intelligence, but not with adult psychiatric, neurological, or personality-related phenotypes.
    Conclusions

    The results of this study indicate that the biological processes underlying early-life head circumference overlap largely with those of adult head circumference. The associations of early-life head circumference with cognitive outcomes across the life course are partly explained by genetics.
  • Wierenga, L. M., Doucet, G. E., Dima, D., Agartz, I., Aghajani, M., Akudjedu, T. N., Albajes-Eizagirre, A., Alnæs, D., Alpert, K. I., Andreassen, O. A., Anticevic, A., Asherson, P., Banaschewski, T., Bargallo, N., Baumeister, S., Baur-Streubel, R., Bertolino, A., Bonvino, A., Boomsma, D. I., Borgwardt, S. and 139 moreWierenga, L. M., Doucet, G. E., Dima, D., Agartz, I., Aghajani, M., Akudjedu, T. N., Albajes-Eizagirre, A., Alnæs, D., Alpert, K. I., Andreassen, O. A., Anticevic, A., Asherson, P., Banaschewski, T., Bargallo, N., Baumeister, S., Baur-Streubel, R., Bertolino, A., Bonvino, A., Boomsma, D. I., Borgwardt, S., Bourque, J., Den Braber, A., Brandeis, D., Breier, A., Brodaty, H., Brouwer, R. M., Buitelaar, J. K., Busatto, G. F., Calhoun, V. D., Canales-Rodríguez, E. J., Cannon, D. M., Caseras, X., Castellanos, F. X., Chaim-Avancini, T. M., Ching, C. R. K., Clark, V. P., Conrod, P. J., Conzelmann, A., Crivello, F., Davey, C. G., Dickie, E. W., Ehrlich, S., Van 't Ent, D., Fisher, S. E., Fouche, J.-P., Franke, B., Fuentes-Claramonte, P., De Geus, E. J. C., Di Giorgio, A., Glahn, D. C., Gotlib, I. H., Grabe, H. J., Gruber, O., Gruner, P., Gur, R. E., Gur, R. C., Gurholt, T. P., De Haan, L., Haatveit, B., Harrison, B. J., Hartman, C. A., Hatton, S. N., Heslenfeld, D. J., Van den Heuvel, O. A., Hickie, I. B., Hoekstra, P. J., Hohmann, S., Holmes, A. J., Hoogman, M., Hosten, N., Howells, F. M., Hulshoff Pol, H. E., Huyser, C., Jahanshad, N., James, A. C., Jiang, J., Jönsson, E. G., Joska, J. A., Kalnin, A. J., Karolinska Schizophrenia Project (KaSP) Consortium, Klein, M., Koenders, L., Kolskår, K. K., Krämer, B., Kuntsi, J., Lagopoulos, J., Lazaro, L., Lebedeva, I. S., Lee, P. H., Lochner, C., Machielsen, M. W. J., Maingault, S., Martin, N. G., Martínez-Zalacaín, I., Mataix-Cols, D., Mazoyer, B., McDonald, B. C., McDonald, C., McIntosh, A. M., McMahon, K. L., McPhilemy, G., Van der Meer, D., Menchón, J. M., Naaijen, J., Nyberg, L., Oosterlaan, J., Paloyelis, Y., Pauli, P., Pergola, G., Pomarol-Clotet, E., Portella, M. J., Radua, J., Reif, A., Richard, G., Roffman, J. L., Rosa, P. G. P., Sacchet, M. D., Sachdev, P. S., Salvador, R., Sarró, S., Satterthwaite, T. D., Saykin, A. J., Serpa, M. H., Sim, K., Simmons, A., Smoller, J. W., Sommer, I. E., Soriano-Mas, C., Stein, D. J., Strike, L. T., Szeszko, P. R., Temmingh, H. S., Thomopoulos, S. I., Tomyshev, A. S., Trollor, J. N., Uhlmann, A., Veer, I. M., Veltman, D. J., Voineskos, A., Völzke, H., Walter, H., Wang, L., Wang, Y., Weber, B., Wen, W., West, J. D., Westlye, L. T., Whalley, H. C., Williams, S. C. R., Wittfeld, K., Wolf, D. H., Wright, M. J., Yoncheva, Y. N., Zanetti, M. V., Ziegler, G. C., De Zubicaray, G. I., Thompson, P. M., Crone, E. A., Frangou, S., & Tamnes, C. K. (2022). Greater male than female variability in regional brain structure across the lifespan. Human Brain Mapping, 43(1), 470-499. doi:10.1002/hbm.25204.

    Abstract

    For many traits, males show greater variability than females, with possible implications for understanding sex differences in health and disease. Here, the ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta‐Analysis) Consortium presents the largest‐ever mega‐analysis of sex differences in variability of brain structure, based on international data spanning nine decades of life. Subcortical volumes, cortical surface area and cortical thickness were assessed in MRI data of 16,683 healthy individuals 1‐90 years old (47% females). We observed significant patterns of greater male than female between‐subject variance for all subcortical volumetric measures, all cortical surface area measures, and 60% of cortical thickness measures. This pattern was stable across the lifespan for 50% of the subcortical structures, 70% of the regional area measures, and nearly all regions for thickness. Our findings that these sex differences are present in childhood implicate early life genetic or gene‐environment interaction mechanisms. The findings highlight the importance of individual differences within the sexes, that may underpin sex‐specific vulnerability to disorders.
  • Ahluwalia, T. S., Prins, B. P., Abdollahi, M., Armstrong, N. J., Aslibekyan, S., Bain, L., Jefferis, B., Baumert, J., Beekman, M., Ben-Shlomo, Y., Bis, J. C., Mitchell, B. D., De Geus, E., Delgado, G. E., Marek, D., Eriksson, J., Kajantie, E., Kanoni, S., Kemp, J. P., Lu, C. and 106 moreAhluwalia, T. S., Prins, B. P., Abdollahi, M., Armstrong, N. J., Aslibekyan, S., Bain, L., Jefferis, B., Baumert, J., Beekman, M., Ben-Shlomo, Y., Bis, J. C., Mitchell, B. D., De Geus, E., Delgado, G. E., Marek, D., Eriksson, J., Kajantie, E., Kanoni, S., Kemp, J. P., Lu, C., Marioni, R. E., McLachlan, S., Milaneschi, Y., Nolte, I. M., Petrelis, A. M., Porcu, E., Sabater-Lleal, M., Naderi, E., Seppälä, I., Shah, T., Singhal, G., Standl, M., Teumer, A., Thalamuthu, A., Thiering, E., Trompet, S., Ballantyne, C. M., Benjamin, E. J., Casas, J. P., Toben, C., Dedoussis, G., Deelen, J., Durda, P., Engmann, J., Feitosa, M. F., Grallert, H., Hammarstedt, A., Harris, S. E., Homuth, G., Hottenga, J.-J., Jalkanen, S., Jamshidi, Y., Jawahar, M. C., Jess, T., Kivimaki, M., Kleber, M. E., Lahti, J., Liu, Y., Marques-Vidal, P., Mellström, D., Mooijaart, S. P., Müller-Nurasyid, M., Penninx, B., Revez, J. A., Rossing, P., Räikkönen, K., Sattar, N., Scharnagl, H., Sennblad, B., Silveira, A., St Pourcain, B., Timpson, N. J., Trollor, J., CHARGE Inflammation Working Group, Van Dongen, J., Van Heemst, D., Visvikis-Siest, S., Vollenweider, P., Völker, U., Waldenberger, M., Willemsen, G., Zabaneh, D., Morris, R. W., Arnett, D. K., Baune, B. T., Boomsma, D. I., Chang, Y.-P.-C., Deary, I. J., Deloukas, P., Eriksson, J. G., Evans, D. M., Ferreira, M. A., Gaunt, T., Gudnason, V., Hamsten, A., Heinrich, J., Hingorani, A., Humphries, S. E., Jukema, J. W., Koenig, W., Kumari, M., Kutalik, Z., Lawlor, D. A., Lehtimäki, T., März, W., Mather, K. A., Naitza, S., Nauck, M., Ohlsson, C., Price, J. F., Raitakari, O., Rice, K., Sachdev, P. S., Slagboom, E., Sørensen, T. I. A., Spector, T., Stacey, D., Stathopoulou, M. G., Tanaka, T., Wannamethee, S. G., Whincup, P., Rotter, J. I., Dehghan, A., Boerwinkle, E., Psaty, B. M., Snieder, H., & Alizadeh, B. Z. (2021). Genome-wide association study of circulating interleukin 6 levels identifies novel loci. Human Molecular Genetics, 5(1), 393-409. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddab023.

    Abstract

    Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is a multifunctional cytokine with both pro- and anti-inflammatory properties with a heritability estimate of up to 61%. The circulating levels of IL-6 in blood have been associated with an increased risk of complex disease pathogenesis. We conducted a two-staged, discovery and replication meta genome-wide association study (GWAS) of circulating serum IL-6 levels comprising up to 67 428 (ndiscovery = 52 654 and nreplication = 14 774) individuals of European ancestry. The inverse variance fixed effects based discovery meta-analysis, followed by replication led to the identification of two independent loci, IL1F10/IL1RN rs6734238 on chromosome (Chr) 2q14, (Pcombined = 1.8 × 10−11), HLA-DRB1/DRB5 rs660895 on Chr6p21 (Pcombined = 1.5 × 10−10) in the combined meta-analyses of all samples. We also replicated the IL6R rs4537545 locus on Chr1q21 (Pcombined = 1.2 × 10−122). Our study identifies novel loci for circulating IL-6 levels uncovering new immunological and inflammatory pathways that may influence IL-6 pathobiology.
  • Braden, R. O., Amor, D. J., Fisher, S. E., Mei, C., Myers, C. T., Mefford, H., Gill, D., Srivastava, S., Swanson, L. C., Goel, H., Scheffer, I. E., & Morgan, A. T. (2021). Severe speech impairment is a distinguishing feature of FOXP1-related disorder. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 63(12), 1417-1426. doi:10.1111/dmcn.14955.

    Abstract

    Aim
    To delineate the speech and language phenotype of a cohort of individuals with FOXP1-related disorder.

    Method
    We administered a standardized test battery to examine speech and oral motor function, receptive and expressive language, non-verbal cognition, and adaptive behaviour. Clinical history and cognitive assessments were analysed together with speech and language findings.

    Results
    Twenty-nine patients (17 females, 12 males; mean age 9y 6mo; median age 8y [range 2y 7mo–33y]; SD 6y 5mo) with pathogenic FOXP1 variants (14 truncating, three missense, three splice site, one in-frame deletion, eight cytogenic deletions; 28 out of 29 were de novo variants) were studied. All had atypical speech, with 21 being verbal and eight minimally verbal. All verbal patients had dysarthric and apraxic features, with phonological deficits in most (14 out of 16). Language scores were low overall. In the 21 individuals who carried truncating or splice site variants and small deletions, expressive abilities were relatively preserved compared with comprehension.

    Interpretation
    FOXP1-related disorder is characterized by a complex speech and language phenotype with prominent dysarthria, broader motor planning and programming deficits, and linguistic-based phonological errors. Diagnosis of the speech phenotype associated with FOXP1-related dysfunction will inform early targeted therapy.

    Additional information

    figure S1 table S1
  • Carrion Castillo, A., Estruch, S. B., Maassen, B., Franke, B., Francks, C., & Fisher, S. E. (2021). Whole-genome sequencing identifies functional noncoding variation in SEMA3C that cosegregates with dyslexia in a multigenerational family. Human Genetics, 140, 1183-1200. doi:10.1007/s00439-021-02289-w.

    Abstract

    Dyslexia is a common heritable developmental disorder involving impaired reading abilities. Its genetic underpinnings are thought to be complex and heterogeneous, involving common and rare genetic variation. Multigenerational families segregating apparent monogenic forms of language-related disorders can provide useful entrypoints into biological pathways. In the present study, we performed a genome-wide linkage scan in a three-generational family in which dyslexia affects 14 of its 30 members and seems to be transmitted with an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. We identified a locus on chromosome 7q21.11 which cosegregated with dyslexia status, with the exception of two cases of phenocopy (LOD = 2.83). Whole-genome sequencing of key individuals enabled the assessment of coding and noncoding variation in the family. Two rare single-nucleotide variants (rs144517871 and rs143835534) within the first intron of the SEMA3C gene cosegregated with the 7q21.11 risk haplotype. In silico characterization of these two variants predicted effects on gene regulation, which we functionally validated for rs144517871 in human cell lines using luciferase reporter assays. SEMA3C encodes a secreted protein that acts as a guidance cue in several processes, including cortical neuronal migration and cellular polarization. We hypothesize that these intronic variants could have a cis-regulatory effect on SEMA3C expression, making a contribution to dyslexia susceptibility in this family.
  • Cuellar-Partida, G., Tung, J. Y., Eriksson, N., Albrecht, E., Aliev, F., Andreassen, O. A., Barroso, I., Beckmann, J. S., Boks, M. P., Boomsma, D. I., Boyd, H. A., Breteler, M. M. B., Campbell, H., Chasman, D. I., Cherkas, L. F., Davies, G., De Geus, E. J. C., Deary, I. J., Deloukas, P., Dick, D. M. and 98 moreCuellar-Partida, G., Tung, J. Y., Eriksson, N., Albrecht, E., Aliev, F., Andreassen, O. A., Barroso, I., Beckmann, J. S., Boks, M. P., Boomsma, D. I., Boyd, H. A., Breteler, M. M. B., Campbell, H., Chasman, D. I., Cherkas, L. F., Davies, G., De Geus, E. J. C., Deary, I. J., Deloukas, P., Dick, D. M., Duffy, D. L., Eriksson, J. G., Esko, T., Feenstra, B., Geller, F., Gieger, C., Giegling, I., Gordon, S. D., Han, J., Hansen, T. F., Hartmann, A. M., Hayward, C., Heikkilä, K., Hicks, A. A., Hirschhorn, J. N., Hottenga, J.-J., Huffman, J. E., Hwang, L.-D., Ikram, M. A., Kaprio, J., Kemp, J. P., Khaw, K.-T., Klopp, N., Konte, B., Kutalik, Z., Lahti, J., Li, X., Loos, R. J. F., Luciano, M., Magnusson, S. H., Mangino, M., Marques-Vidal, P., Martin, N. G., McArdle, W. L., McCarthy, M. I., Medina-Gomez, C., Melbye, M., Melville, S. A., Metspalu, A., Milani, L., Mooser, V., Nelis, M., Nyholt, D. R., O'Connell, K. S., Ophoff, R. A., Palmer, C., Palotie, A., Palviainen, T., Pare, G., Paternoster, L., Peltonen, L., Penninx, B. W. J. H., Polasek, O., Pramstaller, P. P., Prokopenko, I., Raikkonen, K., Ripatti, S., Rivadeneira, F., Rudan, I., Rujescu, D., Smit, J. H., Smith, G. D., Smoller, J. W., Soranzo, N., Spector, T. D., St Pourcain, B., Starr, J. M., Stefánsson, H., Steinberg, S., Teder-Laving, M., Thorleifsson, G., Stefansson, K., Timpson, N. J., Uitterlinden, A. G., Van Duijn, C. M., Van Rooij, F. J. A., Vink, J. M., Vollenweider, P., Vuoksimaa, E., Waeber, G., Wareham, N. J., Warrington, N., Waterworth, D., Werge, T., Wichmann, H.-E., Widen, E., Willemsen, G., Wright, A. F., Wright, M. J., Xu, M., Zhao, J. H., Kraft, P., Hinds, D. A., Lindgren, C. M., Magi, R., Neale, B. M., Evans, D. M., & Medland, S. E. (2021). Genome-wide association study identifies 48 common genetic variants associated with handedness. Nature Human Behaviour, 5, 59-70. doi:10.1038/s41562-020-00956-y.

    Abstract

    Handedness has been extensively studied because of its relationship with language and the over-representation of left-handers in some neurodevelopmental disorders. Using data from the UK Biobank, 23andMe and the International Handedness Consortium, we conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis of handedness (N = 1,766,671). We found 41 loci associated (P < 5 × 10−8) with left-handedness and 7 associated with ambidexterity. Tissue-enrichment analysis implicated the CNS in the aetiology of handedness. Pathways including regulation of microtubules and brain morphology were also highlighted. We found suggestive positive genetic correlations between left-handedness and neuropsychiatric traits, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Furthermore, the genetic correlation between left-handedness and ambidexterity is low (rG = 0.26), which implies that these traits are largely influenced by different genetic mechanisms. Our findings suggest that handedness is highly polygenic and that the genetic variants that predispose to left-handedness may underlie part of the association with some psychiatric disorders.

    Additional information

    supplementary tables
  • Den Hoed, J., Devaraju, K., & Fisher, S. E. (2021). Molecular networks of the FOXP2 transcription factor in the brain. EMBO Reports, 22(8): e52803. doi:10.15252/embr.202152803.

    Abstract

    The discovery of the FOXP2 transcription factor, and its implication in a rare severe human speech and language disorder, has led to two decades of empirical studies focused on uncovering its roles in the brain using a range of in vitro and in vivo methods. Here, we discuss what we have learned about the regulation of FOXP2, its downstream effectors, and its modes of action as a transcription factor in brain development and function, providing an integrated overview of what is currently known about the critical molecular networks.
  • Den Hoed, J., De Boer, E., Voisin, N., Dingemans, A. J. M., Guex, N., Wiel, L., Nellaker, C., Amudhavalli, S. M., Banka, S., Bena, F. S., Ben-Zeev, B., Bonagura, V. R., Bruel, A.-L., Brunet, T., Brunner, H. G., Chew, H. B., Chrast, J., Cimbalistienė, L., Coon, H., The DDD study, Délot, E. C. and 77 moreDen Hoed, J., De Boer, E., Voisin, N., Dingemans, A. J. M., Guex, N., Wiel, L., Nellaker, C., Amudhavalli, S. M., Banka, S., Bena, F. S., Ben-Zeev, B., Bonagura, V. R., Bruel, A.-L., Brunet, T., Brunner, H. G., Chew, H. B., Chrast, J., Cimbalistienė, L., Coon, H., The DDD study, Délot, E. C., Démurger, F., Denommé-Pichon, A.-S., Depienne, C., Donnai, D., Dyment, D. A., Elpeleg, O., Faivre, L., Gilissen, C., Granger, L., Haber, B., Hachiya, Y., Hamzavi Abedi, Y., Hanebeck, J., Hehir-Kwa, J. Y., Horist, B., Itai, T., Jackson, A., Jewell, R., Jones, K. L., Joss, S., Kashii, H., Kato, M., Kattentidt-Mouravieva, A. A., Kok, F., Kotzaeridou, U., Krishnamurthy, V., Kučinskas, V., Kuechler, A., Lavillaureix, A., Liu, P., Manwaring, L., Matsumoto, N., Mazel, B., McWalter, K., Meiner, V., Mikati, M. A., Miyatake, S., Mizuguchi, T., Moey, L. H., Mohammed, S., Mor-Shaked, H., Mountford, H., Newbury-Ecob, R., Odent, S., Orec, L., Osmond, M., Palculict, T. B., Parker, M., Petersen, A., Pfundt, R., Preikšaitienė, E., Radtke, K., Ranza, E., Rosenfeld, J. A., Santiago-Sim, T., Schwager, C., Sinnema, M., Snijders Blok, L., Spillmann, R. C., Stegmann, A. P. A., Thiffault, I., Tran, L., Vaknin-Dembinsky, A., Vedovato-dos-Santos, J. H., Vergano, S. A., Vilain, E., Vitobello, A., Wagner, M., Waheeb, A., Willing, M., Zuccarelli, B., Kini, U., Newbury, D. F., Kleefstra, T., Reymond, A., Fisher, S. E., & Vissers, L. E. L. M. (2021). Mutation-specific pathophysiological mechanisms define different neurodevelopmental disorders associated with SATB1 dysfunction. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 108(2), 346-356. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.01.007.

    Abstract

    Whereas large-scale statistical analyses can robustly identify disease-gene relationships, they do not accurately capture genotype-phenotype correlations or disease mechanisms. We use multiple lines of independent evidence to show that different variant types in a single gene, SATB1, cause clinically overlapping but distinct neurodevelopmental disorders. Clinical evaluation of 42 individuals carrying SATB1 variants identified overt genotype-phenotype relationships, associated with different pathophysiological mechanisms, established by functional assays. Missense variants in the CUT1 and CUT2 DNA-binding domains result in stronger chromatin binding, increased transcriptional repression and a severe phenotype. Contrastingly, variants predicted to result in haploinsufficiency are associated with a milder clinical presentation. A similarly mild phenotype is observed for individuals with premature protein truncating variants that escape nonsense-mediated decay and encode truncated proteins, which are transcriptionally active but mislocalized in the cell. Our results suggest that in-depth mutation-specific genotype-phenotype studies are essential to capture full disease complexity and to explain phenotypic variability.
  • Gialluisi, A., Andlauer, T. F. M., Mirza-Schreiber, N., Moll, K., Becker, J., Hoffmann, P., Ludwig, K. U., Czamara, D., St Pourcain, B., Honbolygó, F., Tóth, D., Csépe, V., Huguet, H., Chaix, Y., Iannuzzi, S., Demonet, J.-F., Morris, A. P., Hulslander, J., Willcutt, E. G., DeFries, J. C. and 29 moreGialluisi, A., Andlauer, T. F. M., Mirza-Schreiber, N., Moll, K., Becker, J., Hoffmann, P., Ludwig, K. U., Czamara, D., St Pourcain, B., Honbolygó, F., Tóth, D., Csépe, V., Huguet, H., Chaix, Y., Iannuzzi, S., Demonet, J.-F., Morris, A. P., Hulslander, J., Willcutt, E. G., DeFries, J. C., Olson, R. K., Smith, S. D., Pennington, B. F., Vaessen, A., Maurer, U., Lyytinen, H., Peyrard-Janvid, M., Leppänen, P. H. T., Brandeis, D., Bonte, M., Stein, J. F., Talcott, J. B., Fauchereau, F., Wilcke, A., Kirsten, H., Müller, B., Francks, C., Bourgeron, T., Monaco, A. P., Ramus, F., Landerl, K., Kere, J., Scerri, T. S., Paracchini, S., Fisher, S. E., Schumacher, J., Nöthen, M. M., Müller-Myhsok, B., & Schulte-Körne, G. (2021). Genome-wide association study reveals new insights into the heritability and genetic correlates of developmental dyslexia. Molecular Psychiatry, 26, 3004-3017. doi:10.1038/s41380-020-00898-x.

    Abstract

    Developmental dyslexia (DD) is a learning disorder affecting the ability to read, with a heritability of 40–60%. A notable part of this heritability remains unexplained, and large genetic studies are warranted to identify new susceptibility genes and clarify the genetic bases of dyslexia. We carried out a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on 2274 dyslexia cases and 6272 controls, testing associations at the single variant, gene, and pathway level, and estimating heritability using single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data. We also calculated polygenic scores (PGSs) based on large-scale GWAS data for different neuropsychiatric disorders and cortical brain measures, educational attainment, and fluid intelligence, testing them for association with dyslexia status in our sample. We observed statistically significant (p  < 2.8 × 10−6) enrichment of associations at the gene level, for LOC388780 (20p13; uncharacterized gene), and for VEPH1 (3q25), a gene implicated in brain development. We estimated an SNP-based heritability of 20–25% for DD, and observed significant associations of dyslexia risk with PGSs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (at pT = 0.05 in the training GWAS: OR = 1.23[1.16; 1.30] per standard deviation increase; p  = 8 × 10−13), bipolar disorder (1.53[1.44; 1.63]; p = 1 × 10−43), schizophrenia (1.36[1.28; 1.45]; p = 4 × 10−22), psychiatric cross-disorder susceptibility (1.23[1.16; 1.30]; p = 3 × 10−12), cortical thickness of the transverse temporal gyrus (0.90[0.86; 0.96]; p = 5 × 10−4), educational attainment (0.86[0.82; 0.91]; p = 2 × 10−7), and intelligence (0.72[0.68; 0.76]; p = 9 × 10−29). This study suggests an important contribution of common genetic variants to dyslexia risk, and novel genomic overlaps with psychiatric conditions like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and cross-disorder susceptibility. Moreover, it revealed the presence of shared genetic foundations with a neural correlate previously implicated in dyslexia by neuroimaging evidence.
  • Jansen, N. A., Braden, R. O., Srivastava, S., Otness, E. F., Lesca, G., Rossi, M., Nizon, M., Bernier, R. A., Quelin, C., Van Haeringen, A., Kleefstra, T., Wong, M. M. K., Whalen, S., Fisher, S. E., Morgan, A. T., & Van Bon, B. W. (2021). Clinical delineation of SETBP1 haploinsufficiency disorder. European Journal of Human Genetics, 29, 1198 -1205. doi:10.1038/s41431-021-00888-9.

    Abstract

    SETBP1 haploinsufficiency disorder (MIM#616078) is caused by haploinsufficiency of SETBP1 on chromosome 18q12.3, but there has not yet been any systematic evaluation of the major features of this monogenic syndrome, assessing penetrance and expressivity. We describe the first comprehensive study to delineate the associated clinical phenotype, with findings from 34 individuals, including 24 novel cases, all of whom have a SETBP1 loss-of-function variant or single (coding) gene deletion, confirmed by molecular diagnostics. The most commonly reported clinical features included mild motor developmental delay, speech impairment, intellectual disability, hypotonia, vision impairment, attention/concentration deficits, and hyperactivity. Although there is a mild overlap in certain facial features, the disorder does not lead to a distinctive recognizable facial gestalt. As well as providing insight into the clinical spectrum of SETBP1 haploinsufficiency disorder, this reports puts forward care recommendations for patient management.

    Additional information

    supplementary table
  • Kong, X., Postema, M., Schijven, D., Carrion Castillo, A., Pepe, A., Crivello, F., Joliot, M., Mazoyer, B., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2021). Large-scale phenomic and genomic analysis of brain asymmetrical skew. Cerebral Cortex, 31(9), 4151-4168. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhab075.

    Abstract

    The human cerebral hemispheres show a left–right asymmetrical torque pattern, which has been claimed to be absent in chimpanzees. The functional significance and developmental mechanisms are unknown. Here, we carried out the largest-ever analysis of global brain shape asymmetry in magnetic resonance imaging data. Three population datasets were used, UK Biobank (N = 39 678), Human Connectome Project (N = 1113), and BIL&GIN (N = 453). At the population level, there was an anterior and dorsal skew of the right hemisphere, relative to the left. Both skews were associated independently with handedness, and various regional gray and white matter metrics oppositely in the two hemispheres, as well as other variables related to cognitive functions, sociodemographic factors, and physical and mental health. The two skews showed single nucleotide polymorphisms-based heritabilities of 4–13%, but also substantial polygenicity in causal mixture model analysis, and no individually significant loci were found in genome-wide association studies for either skew. There was evidence for a significant genetic correlation between horizontal brain skew and autism, which requires future replication. These results provide the first large-scale description of population-average brain skews and their inter-individual variations, their replicable associations with handedness, and insights into biological and other factors which associate with human brain asymmetry.
  • Lowndes, R., Molz, B., Warriner, L., Herbik, A., De Best, P. B., Raz, N., Gouws, A., Ahmadi, K., McLean, R. J., Gottlob, I., Kohl, S., Choritz, L., Maguire, J., Kanowski, M., Käsmann-Kellner, B., Wieland, I., Banin, E., Levin, N., Hoffmann, M. B., Morland, A. B. and 1 moreLowndes, R., Molz, B., Warriner, L., Herbik, A., De Best, P. B., Raz, N., Gouws, A., Ahmadi, K., McLean, R. J., Gottlob, I., Kohl, S., Choritz, L., Maguire, J., Kanowski, M., Käsmann-Kellner, B., Wieland, I., Banin, E., Levin, N., Hoffmann, M. B., Morland, A. B., & Baseler, H. A. (2021). Structural differences across multiple visual cortical regions in the absence of cone function in congenital achromatopsia. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 15: 718958. doi:10.3389/fnins.2021.718958.

    Abstract

    Most individuals with congenital achromatopsia (ACHM) carry mutations that affect the retinal phototransduction pathway of cone photoreceptors, fundamental to both high acuity vision and colour perception. As the central fovea is occupied solely by cones, achromats have an absence of retinal input to the visual cortex and a small central area of blindness. Additionally, those with complete ACHM have no colour perception, and colour processing regions of the ventral cortex also lack typical chromatic signals from the cones. This study examined the cortical morphology (grey matter volume, cortical thickness, and cortical surface area) of multiple visual cortical regions in ACHM (n = 15) compared to normally sighted controls (n = 42) to determine the cortical changes that are associated with the retinal characteristics of ACHM. Surface-based morphometry was applied to T1-weighted MRI in atlas-defined early, ventral and dorsal visual regions of interest. Reduced grey matter volume in V1, V2, V3, and V4 was found in ACHM compared to controls, driven by a reduction in cortical surface area as there was no significant reduction in cortical thickness. Cortical surface area (but not thickness) was reduced in a wide range of areas (V1, V2, V3, TO1, V4, and LO1). Reduction in early visual areas with large foveal representations (V1, V2, and V3) suggests that the lack of foveal input to the visual cortex was a major driving factor in morphological changes in ACHM. However, the significant reduction in ventral area V4 coupled with the lack of difference in dorsal areas V3a and V3b suggest that deprivation of chromatic signals to visual cortex in ACHM may also contribute to changes in cortical morphology. This research shows that the congenital lack of cone input to the visual cortex can lead to widespread structural changes across multiple visual areas.

    Additional information

    table S1
  • Morgan, A., Braden, R., Wong, M. M. K., Colin, E., Amor, D., Liégeois, F., Srivastava, S., Vogel, A., Bizaoui, V., Ranguin, K., Fisher, S. E., & Van Bon, B. W. (2021). Speech and language deficits are central to SETBP1 haploinsufficiency disorder. European Journal of Human Genetics, 29, 1216-1225. doi:10.1038/s41431-021-00894-x.

    Abstract

    Expressive communication impairment is associated with haploinsufficiency of SETBP1, as reported in small case series. Heterozygous pathogenic loss-of-function (LoF) variants in SETBP1 have also been identified in independent cohorts ascertained for childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), warranting further investigation of the roles of this gene in speech development. Thirty-one participants (12 males, aged 0; 8–23; 2 years, 28 with pathogenic SETBP1 LoF variants, 3 with 18q12.3 deletions) were assessed for speech, language and literacy abilities. Broader development was examined with standardised motor, social and daily life skills assessments. Gross and fine motor deficits (94%) and intellectual impairments (68%) were common. Protracted and aberrant speech development was consistently seen, regardless of motor or intellectual ability. We expand the linguistic phenotype associated with SETBP1 LoF syndrome (SETBP1 haploinsufficiency disorder), revealing a striking speech presentation that implicates both motor (CAS, dysarthria) and language (phonological errors) systems, with CAS (80%) being the most common diagnosis. In contrast to past reports, the understanding of language was rarely better preserved than language expression (29%). Language was typically low, to moderately impaired, with commensurate expression and comprehension ability. Children were sociable with a strong desire to communicate. Minimally verbal children (32%) augmented speech with sign language, gestures or digital devices. Overall, relative to general development, spoken language and literacy were poorer than social, daily living, motor and adaptive behaviour skills. Our findings show that poor communication is a central feature of SETBP1 haploinsufficiency disorder, confirming this gene as a strong candidate for speech and language disorders.
  • Postema, M. (2021). Left-right asymmetry of the human brain: Associations with neurodevelopmental disorders and genetic factors. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Postema, M., Hoogman, M., Ambrosino, S., Asherson, P., Banaschewski, T., Bandeira, C. E., Baranov, A., Bau, C. H. D., Baumeister, S., Baur-Streubel, R., Bellgrove, M. A., Biederman, J., Bralten, J., Brandeis, D., Brem, S., Buitelaar, J. K., Busatto, G. F., Castellanos, F. X., Cercignani, M., Chaim-Avancini, T. M. and 85 morePostema, M., Hoogman, M., Ambrosino, S., Asherson, P., Banaschewski, T., Bandeira, C. E., Baranov, A., Bau, C. H. D., Baumeister, S., Baur-Streubel, R., Bellgrove, M. A., Biederman, J., Bralten, J., Brandeis, D., Brem, S., Buitelaar, J. K., Busatto, G. F., Castellanos, F. X., Cercignani, M., Chaim-Avancini, T. M., Chantiluke, K. C., Christakou, A., Coghill, D., Conzelmann, A., Cubillo, A. I., Cupertino, R. B., De Zeeuw, P., Doyle, A. E., Durston, S., Earl, E. A., Epstein, J. N., Ethofer, T., Fair, D. A., Fallgatter, A. J., Faraone, S. V., Frodl, T., Gabel, M. C., Gogberashvili, T., Grevet, E. H., Haavik, J., Harrison, N. A., Hartman, C. A., Heslenfeld, D. J., Hoekstra, P. J., Hohmann, S., Høvik, M. F., Jernigan, T. L., Kardatzki, B., Karkashadze, G., Kelly, C., Kohls, G., Konrad, K., Kuntsi, J., Lazaro, L., Lera-Miguel, S., Lesch, K.-P., Louza, M. R., Lundervold, A. J., Malpas, C. B., Mattos, P., McCarthy, H., Namazova-Baranova, L., Nicolau, R., Nigg, J. T., Novotny, S. E., Oberwelland Weiss, E., O'Gorman Tuura, R. L., Oosterlaan, J., Oranje, B., Paloyelis, Y., Pauli, P., Picon, F. A., Plessen, K. J., Ramos-Quiroga, J. A., Reif, A., Reneman, L., Rosa, P. G. P., Rubia, K., Schrantee, A., Schweren, L. J. S., Seitz, J., Shaw, P., Silk, T. J., Skokauskas, N., Soliva Vila, J. C., Stevens, M. C., Sudre, G., Tamm, L., Tovar-Moll, F., Van Erp, T. G. M., Vance, A., Vilarroya, O., Vives-Gilabert, Y., Von Polier, G. G., Walitza, S., Yoncheva, Y. N., Zanetti, M. V., Ziegler, G. C., Glahn, D. C., Jahanshad, N., Medland, S. E., ENIGMA ADHD Working Group, Thompson, P. M., Fisher, S. E., Franke, B., & Francks, C. (2021). Analysis of structural brain asymmetries in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in 39 datasets. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 62(10), 1202-1219. doi:10.1111/jcpp.13396.

    Abstract

    Objective: Some studies have suggested alterations of structural brain asymmetry in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but findings have been contradictory and based on small samples. Here we performed the largest-ever analysis of brain left-right asymmetry in ADHD, using 39 datasets of the ENIGMA consortium.
    Methods: We analyzed asymmetry of subcortical and cerebral cortical structures in up to 1,933 people with ADHD and 1,829 unaffected controls. Asymmetry Indexes (AIs) were calculated per participant for each bilaterally paired measure, and linear mixed effects modelling was applied separately in children, adolescents, adults, and the total sample, to test exhaustively for potential associations of ADHD with structural brain asymmetries.
    Results: There was no evidence for altered caudate nucleus asymmetry in ADHD, in contrast to prior literature. In children, there was less rightward asymmetry of the total hemispheric surface area compared to controls (t=2.1, P=0.04). Lower rightward asymmetry of medial orbitofrontal cortex surface area in ADHD (t=2.7, P=0.01) was similar to a recent finding for autism spectrum disorder. There were also some differences in cortical thickness asymmetry across age groups. In adults with ADHD, globus pallidus asymmetry was altered compared to those without ADHD. However, all effects were small (Cohen’s d from -0.18 to 0.18) and would not survive study-wide correction for multiple testing.
    Conclusion: Prior studies of altered structural brain asymmetry in ADHD were likely under-powered to detect the small effects reported here. Altered structural asymmetry is unlikely to provide a useful biomarker for ADHD, but may provide neurobiological insights into the trait.

    Additional information

    jcpp13396-sup-0001-supinfo.pdf
  • Raviv, L., De Heer Kloots, M., & Meyer, A. S. (2021). What makes a language easy to learn? A preregistered study on how systematic structure and community size affect language learnability. Cognition, 210: 104620. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104620.

    Abstract

    Cross-linguistic differences in morphological complexity could have important consequences for language learning. Specifically, it is often assumed that languages with more regular, compositional, and transparent grammars are easier to learn by both children and adults. Moreover, it has been shown that such grammars are more likely to evolve in bigger communities. Together, this suggests that some languages are acquired faster than others, and that this advantage can be traced back to community size and to the degree of systematicity in the language. However, the causal relationship between systematic linguistic structure and language learnability has not been formally tested, despite its potential importance for theories on language evolution, second language learning, and the origin of linguistic diversity. In this pre-registered study, we experimentally tested the effects of community size and systematic structure on adult language learning. We compared the acquisition of different yet comparable artificial languages that were created by big or small groups in a previous communication experiment, which varied in their degree of systematic linguistic structure. We asked (a) whether more structured languages were easier to learn; and (b) whether languages created by the bigger groups were easier to learn. We found that highly systematic languages were learned faster and more accurately by adults, but that the relationship between language learnability and linguistic structure was typically non-linear: high systematicity was advantageous for learning, but learners did not benefit from partly or semi-structured languages. Community size did not affect learnability: languages that evolved in big and small groups were equally learnable, and there was no additional advantage for languages created by bigger groups beyond their degree of systematic structure. Furthermore, our results suggested that predictability is an important advantage of systematic structure: participants who learned more structured languages were better at generalizing these languages to new, unfamiliar meanings, and different participants who learned the same more structured languages were more likely to produce similar labels. That is, systematic structure may allow speakers to converge effortlessly, such that strangers can immediately understand each other.
  • Sha, Z., Schijven, D., & Francks, C. (2021). Patterns of brain asymmetry associated with polygenic risks for autism and schizophrenia implicate language and executive functions but not brain masculinization. Molecular Psychiatry, 26(12), 7652-7660. doi:10.1038/s41380-021-01204-z.

    Abstract

    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia have been conceived as partly opposing disorders in terms of systemizing versus empathizing cognitive styles, with resemblances to male versus female average sex differences. Left-right asymmetry of the brain is an important aspect of its organization that shows average differences between the sexes, and can be altered in both ASD and schizophrenia. Here we mapped multivariate associations of polygenic risk scores for ASD and schizophrenia with asymmetries of regional cerebral cortical surface area, thickness and subcortical volume measures in 32,256 participants from the UK Biobank. Polygenic risks for the two disorders were positively correlated (r=0.08, p=7.13×10-50), and both were higher in females compared to males, consistent with biased participation against higher-risk males. Each polygenic risk score was associated with multivariate brain asymmetry after adjusting for sex, ASD r=0.03, p=2.17×10-9, schizophrenia r=0.04, p=2.61×10-11, but the multivariate patterns were mostly distinct for the two polygenic risks, and neither resembled average sex differences. Annotation based on meta-analyzed functional imaging data showed that both polygenic risks were associated with asymmetries of regions important for language and executive functions, consistent with behavioural associations that arose in phenome-wide association analysis. Overall, the results indicate that distinct patterns of subtly altered brain asymmetry may be functionally relevant manifestations of polygenic risks for ASD and schizophrenia, but do not support brain masculinization or feminization in their etiologies.
  • Sha, Z., Pepe, A., Schijven, D., Carrion Castillo, A., Roe, J. M., Westerhausen, R., Joliot, M., Fisher, S. E., Crivello, F., & Francks, C. (2021). Handedness and its genetic influences are associated with structural asymmetries of the cerebral cortex in 31,864 individuals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(47): e2113095118. doi:10.1073/pnas.2113095118.

    Abstract

    Roughly 10% of the human population is left-handed, and this rate is increased in some brain-related disorders. The neuroanatomical correlates of hand preference have remained equivocal. We resampled structural brain image data from 28,802 right-handers and 3,062 left-handers (UK Biobank population dataset) to a symmetrical surface template, and mapped asymmetries for each of 8,681 vertices across the cerebral cortex in each individual. Left-handers compared to right-handers showed average differences of surface area asymmetry within the fusiform cortex, the anterior insula, the anterior middle cingulate cortex, and the precentral cortex. Meta-analyzed functional imaging data implicated these regions in executive functions and language. Polygenic disposition to left-handedness was associated with two of these regional asymmetries, and 18 loci previously linked with left-handedness by genome-wide screening showed associations with one or more of these asymmetries. Implicated genes included six encoding microtubule-related proteins: TUBB, TUBA1B, TUBB3, TUBB4A, MAP2, and NME7—mutations in the latter can cause left to right reversal of the visceral organs. There were also two cortical regions where average thickness asymmetry was altered in left-handedness: on the postcentral gyrus and the inferior occipital cortex, functionally annotated with hand sensorimotor and visual roles. These cortical thickness asymmetries were not heritable. Heritable surface area asymmetries of language-related regions may link the etiologies of hand preference and language, whereas nonheritable asymmetries of sensorimotor cortex may manifest as consequences of hand preference.
  • Sha, Z., Schijven, D., Carrion Castillo, A., Joliot, M., Mazoyer, B., Fisher, S. E., Crivello, F., & Francks, C. (2021). The genetic architecture of structural left–right asymmetry of the human brain. Nature Human Behaviour, 5, 1226-1236. doi:10.1038/s41562-021-01069-w.

    Abstract

    Left–right hemispheric asymmetry is an important aspect of healthy brain organization for many functions including language, and it can be altered in cognitive and psychiatric disorders. No mechanism has yet been identified for establishing the human brain’s left–right axis. We performed multivariate genome-wide association scanning of cortical regional surface area and thickness asymmetries, and subcortical volume asymmetries, using data from 32,256 participants from the UK Biobank. There were 21 significant loci associated with different aspects of brain asymmetry, with functional enrichment involving microtubule-related genes and embryonic brain expression. These findings are consistent with a known role of the cytoskeleton in left–right axis determination in other organs of invertebrates and frogs. Genetic variants associated with brain asymmetry overlapped with those associated with autism, educational attainment and schizophrenia. Comparably large datasets will likely be required in future studies, to replicate and further clarify the associations of microtubule-related genes with variation in brain asymmetry, behavioural and psychiatric traits.

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