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CCN Seminar Series


Altered White-Matter Microstructure in Conduct Disorder is Specifically Associated with Elevated Callous-Unemotional Traits

The Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience is pleased to present the seventh speaker in the 2017-18 Research Seminar series; Dr Ignazio Puzzo. For more information on Dr Ignazio Puzzo and an abstract, please see below. You will also find information about our upcoming seminars.


Adolescents with conduct disorder (CD) and elevated callous-unemotional (CU) traits have been reported to present with a more severe and persistent pattern of antisocial behaviour than those with low levels of CU traits. However, relatively few studies have investigated whether there are differences in brain structure between these subgroups. We acquired diffusion tensor  imaging data and used tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) to compare adolescents with CD and high levels of CU traits (CD/CU+; n = 18, CD and low levels of CU traits (CD/CU-; n = 17) and healthy controls (HC; n = 32) on measures of fractional anisotropy (FA), axial (AD), radial (RD) and mean (MD) diffusivity. Compared to CD/CU- adolescents, those with CD/CU+presented increased FA and reduced RD and MD (lower diffusivity) in several tracts including: body and splenium of the corpus callosum, right inferior longitudinal fasciculus, ILF; right inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, IFOF; left superior longitudinal fasciculus, SLF; left cerebral peduncle, bilateral internal capsule, left superior and posterior corona radiata, bilateral thalamic radiation and left external capsule. In addition, relative to CD/CU- individuals, adolescents with CD/CU+ showed lower diffusivity (indexed by reduced RD and MD) in left uncinate fasciculus and bilateral fornix. Finally, relative to healthy controls, CD/CU+ individuals showed lower diffusivity (reduced RD) in the genu and body of the corpus callosum and left anterior corona radiata. These results suggest that CD/CU+ individuals present with white-matter microstructural abnormalities compared to both CD/CU- individuals and age-matched healthy controls. This finding is consistent with emerging evidence suggesting that CD/CU+ represents a distinct subtype of CD, and illustrates the importance of accounting for heterogeneity within CD populations.


Dr Ignazio Puzzo joined the West London Mental Health Trust Broadmoor Hospital in 2015 as a Senior Clinical Scientist dedicated to Forensic Mental Health Clinical Research.  He did a PhD in Psychology at the University of Essex (Uk) on individual differences in the human mirror neuron system using electroencephalographic and transcranial magnetic stimulation techniques. After his PhD he joined the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading (UK), as post-doctoral research associate working on emotion regulation using magnetic resonance imaging. Before joining the West London Mental Health Trust he also worked at the University Southampton (UK) as a research fellow on the FemNAT-CD project, which is a multi-site study taking place across several European countries. The aim of this project is to better understand the neurobiology of antisocial behaviour in children and adolescents.

 The seminar will be followed by food and drink and is open to all. Please note the dates and room bookings have been booked in advance and this information is available on the announcement pages and the college calendar. Seminars this year will mostly be held on the first Thursday of every month, between 16:00-17:30 in HNZW 101.