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Anterior Cingulate Cortex Findings in Child Disruptive Behavior Disorders: A Meta-Analysis

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 17 Issue: 6 Dated: November/December 2012 Pages: 507-513
Oana Alexandra Gavita; David Capris; Jaclyn Bolno; Daniel David
Date Published
December 2012
7 pages
This study explored functional and structural abnormalities of the anterior cingulate cortex in children diagnosed with disruptive behavior disorders.
The brain imaging literature suggests that child disruptive behavior disorders (DBD) are associated with structural and functional abnormalities of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). However, there is a lot of heterogeneity in findings in terms of direction of modifications identified until this point. The present study used a meta-analytic design to aggregate the empirical findings from the literature on functional and structural abnormalities of the ACC in children with DBD. A total of 8 structural and functional brain imaging (sMRI and fMRI) studies were included and results obtained from a sample of 266 children show a large effect size (D = -.98 (95 percent CI [- 1.18, - 0.77]) in terms of reduced activation of the ACC in children presenting with DBD. Effects of ACC abnormality were moderated by: 1) the type of imaging used in the study (i.e., functional vs. structural); 2) the presence or absence of co-morbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); 3) the mean age of the samples of children presenting with DBD. Overall, findings confirm functional impairments of the ACC in children with DBD and highlight the importance of using such neurological information to design innovative treatments. (Published Abstract)