Treating the developing brain: implications from human imaging and mouse genetics

Casey BJ, Pattwell SS, Glatt CE, Lee FS
Annual Review of Medicine. 2012; 64.


A fundamental issue in psychiatric medicine is the lack of empirical evidence for whom and when, during development, a treatment will be most effective for a patient. In this article we review behavioral and brain changes that occur across development, focusing on the period of adolescence when there is a peak in diagnosis of many psychiatric disorders. We use anxiety disorders as an example, given their high prevalence in youth (affecting as many as 1 in 10). Basic forms of fear learning, that are at the core of anxiety disorders and the targets of behavioral therapeutics, are examined as a function of age and how they are genetically modulated in mice and humans. Based on these findings, we provide future directions for determining the efficacy of innovative therapies and preventive strategies for anxiety disorders as a function of age and potential genetic effects inferred from mice and humans.