News and Commentary Archive

Explore recent scientific discoveries and news as well as CLBB events, commentary, and press.


The speed of technology in neuroscience as it impacts ethical and just decisions in the legal system needs to be understood by lawyers, judges, public policy makers, and the general public. The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior is an academic and professional resource for the education, research, and understanding of neuroscience and the law. Read more

Relationship between M100 Auditory Evoked Response and Auditory Radiation Microstructure in 16p11.2 Deletion and Duplication Carriers

By J.I. BermanD. ChudnovskayaL. BlaskeyE. KuschnerP. MukherjeeR. BucknerS. NagarajanW.K. ChungE.H. Sherr and T.P.L. Roberts | American Journal of Neuroradiology | February 11, 2016


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Deletion and duplication of chromosome 16p11.2 (BP4–BP5) have been associated with developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders, and deletion subjects exhibit a large (20-ms) delay of the auditory evoked cortical response as measured by magnetoencephalography (M100 latency). The purpose of this study was to use a multimodal approach to test whether changes in white matter microstructure are associated with delayed M100 latency.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty pediatric deletion carriers, 9 duplication carriers, and 39 control children were studied with both magnetoencephalography and diffusion MR imaging. The M100 latency and auditory system DTI measures were compared between groups and tested for correlation.

RESULTS: In controls, white matter diffusivity significantly correlated with the speed of the M100 response. However, the relationship between structure and function appeared uncoupled in 16p11.2 copy number variation carriers. The alterations to auditory system white matter microstructure in the 16p11.2 deletion only partially accounted for the 20-ms M100 delay. Although both duplication and deletion groups exhibit abnormal white matter microstructure, only the deletion group has delayed M100 latency.

CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that gene dosage impacts factors other than white matter microstructure, which modulate conduction velocity.

Read the full article here.

Genetic Influences on Schizophrenia and Subcortical Brain Volumes: Large-Scale Proof of Concept

By Barbara FrankeJason L. SteinStephan RipkeVerneri AnttilaDerrek P. HibarKimm J. E. van HulzenAlejandro Arias-VasquezJordan W. SmollerThomas E. NicholsMichael C. NealeAndrew M. McIntoshPhil LeeFrancis J. McMahonAndreas Meyer-LindenbergManuel MattheisenOle A. AndreassenOliver GruberPerminder S. SachdevRoberto Roiz-SantiañezAndrew J. SaykinStefan EhrlichKaren A. MatherJessica A. TurnerEmanuel SchwarzAnbupalam Thalamuthu, et al. | Nature Neuroscience | February 1, 2016


Schizophrenia is a devastating psychiatric illness with high heritability. Brain structure and function differ, on average, between people with schizophrenia and healthy individuals. As common genetic associations are emerging for both schizophrenia and brain imaging phenotypes, we can now use genome-wide data to investigate genetic overlap. Here we integrated results from common variant studies of schizophrenia (33,636 cases, 43,008 controls) and volumes of several (mainly subcortical) brain structures (11,840 subjects). We did not find evidence of genetic overlap between schizophrenia risk and subcortical volume measures either at the level of common variant genetic architecture or for single genetic markers. These results provide a proof of concept (albeit based on a limited set of structural brain measures) and define a roadmap for future studies investigating the genetic covariance between structural or functional brain phenotypes and risk for psychiatric disorders.

Read the full paper here.

Joshua Buckholtz on Imaging, Genetics of Antisocial Behavior & Psychopathy

CLBB Faculty Member Joshua Buckholtz is a featured contributor in the new volume, Neuroimaging Genetics: Principles and Practices, published by Oxford University Press. According to the description, “The work presented in this volume elaborates on the explosive interest from diverse research areas in psychiatry and neurology in the use of imaging genetics as a unique tool to establish and identify mechanisms of risk, establish biological significance, and extend statistical evidence of genetic associations.” Dr. Buckholtz, along with Hayley M. Dorfman, wrote a chapter entitled, “Imaging Genetics of Antisocial Behavior and Psychopathy”, under Part IV of the book.

Check out Neuroimaging Genetics: Principles and Practices today!

Brain Genomics Superstruct Project Initial Data Release with Structural, Functional, and Behavioral Measures

By Avram J. Holmes, Marisa O. Hollinshead, Timothy M. O’Keefe, Victor I. Petrov, Gabriele R. Fariello, Lawrence L. Wald, Bruce Fischl, Bruce R. Rosen, Ross W. Mair, Joshua L. RoffmanJordan W. Smoller and Randy L. Buckner | Scientific Data | July 7, 2015


The goal of the Brain Genomics Superstruct Project (GSP) is to enable large-scale exploration of the links between brain function, behavior, and ultimately genetic variation. To provide the broader scientific community data to probe these associations, a repository of structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans linked to genetic information was constructed from a sample of healthy individuals. The initial release, detailed in the present manuscript, encompasses quality screened cross-sectional data from 1,570 participants ages 18 to 35 years who were scanned with MRI and completed demographic and health questionnaires. Personality and cognitive measures were obtained on a subset of participants. Each dataset contains a T1-weighted structural MRI scan and either one (n=1,570) or two (n=1,139) resting state functional MRI scans. Test-retest reliability datasets are included from 69 participants scanned within six months of their initial visit. For the majority of participants self-report behavioral and cognitive measures are included (n=926 and n=892 respectively). Analyses of data quality, structure, function, personality, and cognition are presented to demonstrate the dataset’s utility.

Read the full article here.

NSF Launches Understanding the Brain Portal

NSF Understanding the Brain Portal

NSF has launched a new portal dedicated to the agency’s brain research funding opportunities and news. The Understanding the Brain portal arrives on the first anniversary of President Barack Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative announcement, and will allow visitors to the site to find brain-related information across the agency in one place.

The portal includes NSF’s specific thematic research areas for the BRAIN Initiative, the latest funding and event announcements, and a list of core programs that support neuroscience research, in addition to public-facing articles and videos about new findings.

Explore the portal here.