While working at SDSU, Wiggins has the opportunity to create her own research program and further her research by scanning children in the MRI.
Irritability (defined as chronic anger and frequent outbursts of temper) is one of the most common and impairing psychiatric symptoms in children. The temper outbursts of irritable children are often precipitated by frustration at being blocked from attaining a goal. In the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) matrix, irritability would therefore fit under the frustrative non-reward construct in the negative valence domain.
TEND Lab member, Karen Schwartz, won the 2016 Child and Adolescent Depression Special Interest Group (SIG) Poster Award for her poster entitled, “An Exploratory Factor Analysis of Irritability in a Sample of Anxious and/or Depressed Youth”.
Breakthroughs in brain research conducted by the TEND Lab at San Diego State University and the University of Michigan may help explain why youths with ASD have trouble with this kind of non-verbal social communication.
Research on child irritability levels and maternal depression suggests that there may be a bidirectional relationship between the two.
Children are extremely impressionable, moldable, and constantly developing. Many things can make a child act out and cause trouble, and many things can make a child sad or anxious. And, sometimes these problems are just a phase, but sometimes they rise to the level of a psychological disorder.
TEND Lab members gave presentations on our hot-off-the-press research findings at the Student Research Symposium, a two-day event put on my SDSU students ranging from undergraduate to master’s and doctoral students to acknowledge research accomplishments and findings.
Dr. Wiggins, Karen Schwartz, and Maria Kryza-Lacombe of TEND Lab recently published a scientific paper in the Journal of Affective Disorders showing that young children at risk for depression and other mental health problems show a distinct neural profile.
Dr. Wiggins and the TEND Lab have received a competitive grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), through the Altman Clinical Translational Research Institute, as well as a grant from the SDSU Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Center, to do brain imaging with teenagers with irritability.