Adolescence, Puberty, and Emotion Regulation

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) Identifier:
First received: May 31, 2001
Last updated: March 14, 2014
Last verified: February 2014

The purpose of this study is to use brain imaging technology to compare how the brains of adolescents and adults are activated during tasks that involve emotional responses.

Evidence suggests that adolescents and adults experience activation in similar brain regions when they engage in tasks that involve the processing of emotional stimuli. However, the degree of task-associated activation may differ between adolescents and adults. This study will use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare brain activation patterns in adolescents and adults. This study will also be used to develop emotion-evoking fMRI tasks to determine whether there are puberty and age-linked components of brain development.

Mood Disorder
Neurobehavioral Manifestation

Study Type: Observational
Official Title: Adolescence, Puberty, Hormones, and Emotion Regulation: An fMRI Study

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):

Enrollment: 300
Study Start Date: May 2001
Detailed Description:

The goal of this project is to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare the degree to which brain regions of adolescents and adults with and without steroid-related endocrine disorders are engaged by tasks involving processing of emotionally salient stimuli. In healthy subjects, based on developmental continuities in the relevant psychological processes, we anticipate considerable similarity across age groups in the topography of brain regions engaged by relevant tasks. However, we hypothesize that developmental differences in cortico-limbic circuits of adolescents and adults will be reflected in patterns of fMRI activation. Specifically, we hypothesize in both adults and adolescents that attention and memory tasks involving the processing of emotionally salient stimuli will engage the amygdala, cingulate gyrus, and association cortex of medial/inferior prefrontal cortex and temporal regions. Nevertheless, height of task-associated activation is hypothesized to differ between adolescents and adults within these regions. Moreover, prior studies distinguish puberty vs. age-related aspects of cognitive development: some aspects of attention or memory development relate to changes in chronological age whereas other aspects, particularly those involving emotional processes, relate to pubertal status. Therefore, we expect eventually to use emotion-evoking fMRI tasks to test hypotheses on the presence of complementary, distinguishable puberty vs. age-related components of brain development. In patients with endocrine disorders, we expect to identify abnormal brain function related to defects in steroidogenesis, including in utero hyperandrogenism and hypocortisolism seen in Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), congenital male hyperandrogenism seen in familial male precocious puberty (FMPP), and hypercortisolism seen as Cushing's Syndrome (CS).

To meet these initial goals, we developed and tested a number of attention/emotion tasks in healthy adults and healthy adolescents, tested systematically a few of these tasks in the fMRI, including a face-emotion processing task, an affective picture- processing task, a threat bias task, a dot-probe task, a reward-related task, and tasks probing social processing. We are now entering the 2nd phase of the protocol, in which we are focusing on endocrine disorders, CAH, FMPP and CS. We hypothesize that both face-emotion processing task, an affective picture- processing task will engage the amygdala, cingulate gyrus, and association cortices of the medial/inferior prefrontal and temporal regions differently as a function of time of occurrence, severity, and type of endocrine abnormalities.


Ages Eligible for Study:   9 Years to 35 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Age: 9-25 (adolescents/young adults); 25-35 (adults).

Consent: can give consent/assent. Parents will provide consent for all minors.

IQ: all subjects will have an IQ greater than 70; assessment relies on WASI.

Psychopathology: all subjects will be free of any current psychiatric disorder as well as lifetime history of psychosis, pervasive developmental disorder, major affective disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, conduct disorder, ADHD, and anorexia. Assessment relies on comprehensive psychiatric interview.


Age: 9-25 (adolescents/young adults); 25-35 (adults).

Consent: can give consent/assent. Parents will provide consent for all minors.

IQ: all subjects will have an IQ greater than 70. Assessment relies on WASI


Any medical condition that increases risk for MRI (e.g. pacemaker, metallic foreign body in eye)


  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00016731

United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Sponsors and Collaborators
Principal Investigator: Monique Ernst, M.D. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
  More Information

Additional Information:
Publications: Identifier: NCT00016731     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 010152, 01-M-0152
Study First Received: May 31, 2001
Last Updated: March 14, 2014
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Cushing's Syndrome
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Healthy Volunteer

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Mood Disorders
Neurobehavioral Manifestations
Mental Disorders
Nervous System Diseases
Neurologic Manifestations
Signs and Symptoms processed this record on October 22, 2014