Neuropsychological characterization of aggressive behavior in children and adolescents with cd/odd and effects of single doses of medications: The protocol of the matrics_wp6-1 study

Balia C.
Carucci S.
Milone A.;Romaniello R.;Donno F.;Masi G.;Zuddas A.


Aggressive behaviors and disruptive/conduct disorders are some of the commonest reasons for referral to youth mental health services; nevertheless, the efficacy of therapeutic interventions in real-world clinical practice remains unclear. In order to define more appropriate targets for innovative pharmacological therapies for disruptive/conduct disorders, the European Commission within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) funded the MATRICS project (Multidisciplinary Approaches to Translational Research in Conduct Syndromes) to identify neural, genetic, and molecular factors underpinning the pathogenesis of aggression/antisocial behavior in preclinical models and clinical samples. Within the program, a multicentre case-control study, followed by a single-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over, randomized acute single-dose medication challenge, was conducted at two Italian sites. Aggressive children and adolescents with conduct disorder (CD) or oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) were compared to the same age (10–17 y) typically developing controls (TDC) on a neuropsychological tasks battery that included both “cold” (e.g., inhibitory control, decision making) and “hot” executive functions (e.g., moral judgment, emotion processing, risk assessment). Selected autonomic measures (heart rate variability, skin conductance, salivary cortisol) were recorded before/during/after neuropsychological testing sessions. The acute response to different drugs (methylphenidate/atomoxetine, risperidone/aripiprazole, or placebo) was also examined in the ODD/CD cohort in order to identify potential neuropsychological/physiological mechanisms underlying aggression. The paper describes the protocol of the clinical MATRICS WP6-1 study, its rationale, the specific outcome measures, and their implications for a precision medicine approach.
Esperti anonimi
aggression; conduct disorder; oppositional defiant disorder; medications for aggression; callous-unemotional traits; D2 receptor modulators; ADHD medications; neuropsychological functioning; autonomic functioning; control design; acute placebo-controlled single-blind challenge clinical trial
Balia, C.; Carucci, S.; Milone, A.; Romaniello, R.; Valente, E.; Donno, F.; Montesanto, A.; Brovedani, P.; Masi, G.; Glennon, J. C.; Coghill, D.; Zuddas, A.
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