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The neuroanatomical correlates of repetitive negative thinking: A systematic review

Demnitz-King, H; Goehre, I; Marchant, NL; (2021) The neuroanatomical correlates of repetitive negative thinking: A systematic review. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging , 316 , Article 111353. 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2021.111353.

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Abstract

Repetitive negative thinking (RNT) is a cognitive process characterised by intrusive, repetitive, and difficult-to-disengage-from negative thoughts. Heightened RNT levels are prevalent across clinical disorders and have been associated with ill-health (e.g. cardiovascular disease), even at lower, non-clinical levels. Identifying the neuroanatomical correlates of RNT could help characterise structural alterations that transcend diagnostic boundaries and further understanding of the pathogenesis of clinical disorders. We therefore conducted a systematic review to investigate associations between RNT and brain morphology. Following title/abstract and full-text screening, 24 studies were included. We found evidence that RNT severity is associated with grey and white matter volumes/microstructure, particularly in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex and superior longitudinal fasciculus, regions heavily implicated in cognitive control, and emotional processing and regulation. However, inconsistent associations, potentially due to the heterogeneity of included studies (e.g. methodological differences, type of RNT assessed), preclude specific conclusions being reached regarding any one region's association with RNT. Further, given the defuse nature of thoughts, it may be that RNT is associated with distributed brain regions operating within large-scale networks, rather than with a single structure. High quality longitudinal studies, investigating structural networks, are required to confirm the neuroanatomical basis of RNT and elucidate the direction of relationships.

Type: Article
Title: The neuroanatomical correlates of repetitive negative thinking: A systematic review
DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2021.111353
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pscychresns.2021.111353
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Clinical Neurology, Neuroimaging, Psychiatry, Neurosciences & Neurology, Worry, Rumination, Perseverative cognition, Gray matter, White matter, MRI, MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER, PREFRONTAL CORTEX VOLUME, PERSEVERATIVE COGNITION, MATTER ABNORMALITIES, CORTICAL THICKNESS, ANXIETY DISORDER, 1ST EPISODE, METAANALYSIS, RUMINATION, GRAY
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10139370
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