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Multimodal canonical correlation reveals converging neural circuitry across trauma-related disorders of affect and cognition


Trauma-related disorders of affect and cognition (TRACs) are associated with a high degree of diagnostic comorbidity, which may suggest that these disorders share a set of underlying neural mechanisms. TRACs are characterized by aberrations in functional and structural circuits subserving verbal memory and affective anticipation. Yet, it remains unknown how the neural circuitry underlying these multiple mechanisms contribute to TRACs. Here, in a sample of 47 combat Veterans, we measured affective anticipation using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), verbal memory with fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET), and grey matter volume with structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI). Using a voxel-based multimodal canonical correlation analysis (mCCA), the set of neural measures were statistically integrated, or fused, with a set of TRAC symptom measures including mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), posttraumatic stress, and depression severity. The first canonical correlation pair revealed neural convergence in clusters encompassing the middle frontal gyrus and supplemental motor area, regions implicated in top-down cognitive control and affect regulation. These results highlight the potential of leveraging multivariate neuroimaging analysis for linking neurobiological mechanisms associated with TRACs, paving the way for transdiagnostic biomarkers and targets for treatment.

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