Childhood adversities characterize the heterogeneity in the brain pattern of individuals during neurodevelopment

The Consortium on Vulnerability to Externalizing Disorders and Addictions (cVEDA), Rajan Kashyap*, Bharath Holla, Sagarika Bhattacharjee, Eesha Sharma, Urvakhsh Meherwan Mehta, Nilakshi Vaidya, Rose Dawn Bharath*, Pratima Murthy, Debashish Basu, Subodh Bhagyalakshmi Nanjayya, Rajkumar Lenin Singh, Roshan Lourembam, Amit Chakrabarti, Kamakshi Kartik, Kartik Kalyanram, Kalyanaraman Kumaran, Ghattu Krishnaveni, Murali Krishna, Rebecca KuriyanSunita Simon Kurpad, Sylvane Desrivieres, Meera Purushottam, Gareth Barker, Dimitri Papadopoulos Orfanos, Matthew Hickman, Jon Heron, Mireille Toledano, Gunter Schumann, Vivek Benegal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Several factors shape the neurodevelopmental trajectory. A key area of focus in neurodevelopmental research is to estimate the factors that have maximal influence on the brain and can tip the balance from typical to atypical development. Methods Utilizing a dissimilarity maximization algorithm on the dynamic mode decomposition (DMD) of the resting state functional MRI data, we classified subjects from the cVEDA neurodevelopmental cohort (n = 987, aged 6-23 years) into homogeneously patterned DMD (representing typical development in 809 subjects) and heterogeneously patterned DMD (indicative of atypical development in 178 subjects). Results Significant DMD differences were primarily identified in the default mode network (DMN) regions across these groups (p < 0.05, Bonferroni corrected). While the groups were comparable in cognitive performance, the atypical group had more frequent exposure to adversities and faced higher abuses (p < 0.05, Bonferroni corrected). Upon evaluating brain-behavior correlations, we found that correlation patterns between adversity and DMN dynamic modes exhibited age-dependent variations for atypical subjects, hinting at differential utilization of the DMN due to chronic adversities. Conclusion Adversities (particularly abuse) maximally influence the DMN during neurodevelopment and lead to the failure in the development of a coherent DMN system. While DMN's integrity is preserved in typical development, the age-dependent variability in atypically developing individuals is contrasting. The flexibility of DMN might be a compensatory mechanism to protect an individual in an abusive environment. However, such adaptability might deprive the neural system of the faculties of normal functioning and may incur long-term effects on the psyche.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological Medicine
Early online date21 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Mar 2024


  • abuse
  • adverse childhood experiences
  • brain-behavior correlation
  • default mode network
  • functional MRI
  • heterogeneity in resting state
  • neurodevelopment


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