Cognitive control and network disruption in remitted depression: a correlate of childhood adversity

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Individuals in a major depressive episode often display impairment in cognitive control, and this impairment exists outside of the acute phase of illness. Impairment in cognitive control also has been associated with exposure to childhood adversity (CA). The current study examined whether exposure to CA can explain variance in a component of cognitive control—inhibitory control—independent of diagnostic status in young adults with and without a history of depression. Healthy control individuals (n = 40) and individuals with remitted major depressive disorder (n = 53) completed a task measuring inhibitory control, reported level of CA and completed a scanning session to assess gray matter volume and resting state connectivity in regions associated with cognitive control. The results demonstrate that higher levels of CA were associated with poorer inhibitory control, reduced right middle frontal gyrus gray matter, decreased connectivity of salience and emotion networks and increased connectivity in cognitive control networks, even after controlling for diagnostic status, residual depression symptoms and current stressors. Together, the results suggest that inhibitory control impairment and intrinsic connectivity changes may be characterized as developmental sequelae of early stress exposure.

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