Research

icn bullet large Current ACC Research Studies in the UK


 

1. Social Processing in Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum

We would like to understand the nature of the social and emotional processing difficulties in people with ACC and how this relates to problems understanding others' thoughts and feelings. Participants will be asked to complete a number of cognitive and emotional tasks lasting 3 to 4 hours. A questionnaire for parents or caregivers will also be requested.

We are looking for volunteers, aged 6 to 60 years, with this condition who are generally functioning well and do not have additional medical conditions, such as severe developmental delay, serious visual impairment, or genetic syndromes.

For further information please contact:

Dr Rhonda Booth
Senior Teaching Fellow
Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychiatry Section
Developmental Neurosciences Programme
UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
30 Guilford Street
LONDON WC1N 1EH
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 

Determining Outcome: MRI scanning study of prenatally diagnosed children and adolescents with ACC

Some children with ACC have few difficulties and attend mainstream school whereas other children may have learning difficulties and need educational support. We do not yet understand why these differences occur or how they are related to differences in the corpus callosum. We will be asking volunteers to complete some cognitive and social tests which will take 2-3 hours; and also to attend St George's Hospital in London to have an MRI scan (about 30 minutes).

We are looking for volunteers aged between 8 and 18 years old who have an isolated diagnosis of complete or partial ACC; and who were diagnosed during pregnancy. For the MRI scan, volunteers would have to be able to lie still for about 30 minutes and would have to attend St George's Hospital in London. For the cognitive and social tests we are happy to see you at home or at either St George's or King's College hospitals. We are planning to see volunteers in October and November this year (2010).

For further information about the study please contact:

Dr Rhonda Booth
Senior Teaching Fellow
Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychiatry Section
Developmental Neurosciences Programme
UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
30 Guilford Street
LONDON WC1N 1EH
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr Rebecca Charlton
Research Psychologist
Clinical Neuroscience
St George's University of London
Cranmer Terrace,
London SW17 0RE
Tel: 020 8725 2735
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 

 icn bullet large Recent Published Research


 

Title: Social and behavioral problems of children with agenesis of the corpus callosum
Authors: Badaruddin, D., Andrews, G., Bolte, S., Schilmoeller, K., Paul, L.K., Brown, W.S.
Journal: Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 38, 287-302.
Published: 2007

The researchers summarise the range of behaviour problems in children with ACC who are relatively high functioning and typically developing (i.e., no reported delays in early motor milestones of sitting and walking) as reported by a parental questionnaire (the Child Behavior Checklist). Parents of 33 children with ACC (aged 6 to 11 years) reported considerable problems in areas of attention (e.g., daydreaming, staring, being confused, inability to sit still, failing to finish tasks, wandering away), unusual thoughts, social interactions, physical complaints and aggressive behaviour. Fewer problems were reported by parents of 28 younger children with ACC (aged 2 to 5 years), with sleep difficulties being the primary problem reported. Some children with ACC had traits that related to diagnosis of autism; for example difficulties initiating and sustaining conversation, establishing friendships, showing social and emotional give-and-take, using and understanding nonverbal communication. The typical repetitive and restricted behaviours seen in autism were not so apparent in children with ACC.


Title: Neurodevelopmental outcome in prenatally diagnosed isolated agenesis of the corpus callosum
Authors: Chadie, A., Radi, S., Trestard, L., Charollais, A., Eurin, D., Verspyck, E., Marret, S.
Journal: Acta Paediatrica, 97, 420-424
Published: 2008

This French study looked at the outcome of 20 children who were diagnosed with isolated ACC before they were born. Children were generally younger than 6 years when assessed, but ranged between 3 and 16 years. Neurodevelopmental outcome, as defined by general intelligence, motor and cognitive abilities, was considered to be normal in 11 children (55%), which included eight with complete ACC. Five children (25%) were considered to have moderate disabilities (speech delay, comprehension difficulties, attention disorders), and four children (20%) had severe disabilities (intellectual disability, speech impairments, cerebral palsy). In three of the four severely disabled children, a follow-up MRI scan showed additional major cerebral abnormalities that were not detected in their prenatal scan.

 

Title: Agenesis of the corpus callosum: prenatal diagnosis and prognosis
Authors: Moutard., M., Kieffer, V., Feingold, J., Kieffer, F., Lewin, F., Adamsbaum., C., Gélot, A., Campistal I Plana, J., van Bogaert, P., André, M., Ponst, G.
Journal: Child's Nervous System, 19, 471-476
Published: 2003

This French study reports on the long-term outcome of children diagnosed with isolated ACC before they were born. A group of 17 children were assessed at ages 2, 4, and 6, although the drop-off rate was high and only seven children were seen at 6 years of age. Most children showed good outcome, with motor skills developing at the expected ages. Intellectual ability was generally within the normal range, although scores varied over time for some children. When the children were of school age subtle cognitive and behaviour problems emerged, particularly in reasoning, slowness, and paying attention. Outcome was not related to whether the child had complete or partial ACC, was male or female, or experienced febrile seizures.


 

Title: Agenesis of the corpus callosum: genetic, developmental and functional aspects of connectivity
Authors: Paul, L.K., Brown, W.S, Adolphs, R., Tyszka, J.M., Richards, L.J., Mukherjee, P., Sherr, E.H.
Journal: Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 8, 287-299.
Published: 2007

This paper provides a comprehensive review of the research into ACC that has been done to date. The way the corpus callosum develops is described; this involves a complex series of multiple steps, where disruption at any stage can lead to ACC. A review of genetic factors that cause ACC is provided along with possible environmental factors. The authors conclude that most cases of ACC do not have a known cause at this time. The wide-ranging consequence of ACC on behaviour and cognition is discussed. It is suggested that by grouping together individuals with similar brain anatomy we may be more successful at determining outcome. Individuals with primary ACC and good general cognitive ability often show a pattern of deficits in problem solving, social skills, processing emotion, and in the practical use of language and communication. These difficulties may be due to problems transferring information between hemispheres or to other abnormalities in the brain. Many neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions have been linked to corpus callosum malformation or malfunctioning, including schizophrenia, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The study of ACC may therefore provide insight on how altered brain connectivity may contribute to these disorders, as well as how information is transferred in the typically developing brain.