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Socio-emotional development and mental health of preterm children: The role of HPA-axis function, sleep, neuroplasticity, and physical exercise during the transition to adolescence

English title Socio-emotional development and mental health of preterm children: The role of HPA-axis function, sleep, neuroplasticity, and physical exercise during the transition to adolescence
Applicant Lemola Sakari
Number 159362
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Fakultät für Psychologie Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.08.2015 - 31.10.2018
Approved amount 320'232.00
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All Disciplines (6)

Discipline
Psychology
Paediatrics
Neurophysiology and Brain Research
Sport Medicine
Endocrinology
Mental Disorders, Psychosomatic Diseases

Keywords (12)

depressive symptoms; adolescence; sleep; BDNF; resilience; socio-emotional development; neuroplasticity; risk and protective factors; mental health; HPA-axis function; physical exercise; preterm birth

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Frühgeburtlichkeit hat in den vergangenen 30 Jahren stark zugenommen. Die meisten Frühgeborenen sind grundsätzlich gesund wenn sie das Jugendalter erreichen, dennoch weisen sie ein höheres Risiko für sozio-emotionale Probleme auf. Das Projekt leistet einen Beitrag zur Klärung der Gründe für sozio-emotionale Probleme bei ehemals frühgeborenen Kindern im Jugendalter.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziele des Forschungsprojekts

Die Studie untersucht den Schlaf, sportliche Aktivität, Stresshormone und Neuroplastizität im Zusammenhang mit sozio-emotionaler Entwicklung und Wohlbefinden bei ehemals frühgeborenen und termingeborenen Jugendlichen. Ausreichend und qualitativ guter Schlaf sowie sportliche Aktivität fördern sozio-emotionale Gesundheit und Wohlbefinden, sind jedoch bei ehemals frühgeborenen Jugendlichen noch kaum untersucht. Ziel ist es herauszufinden, ob eine gute Schlafqualität und sportliche Aktivität günstig mit dem Level des Stresshormons Kortisol in Speichel und Haar sowie mit dem Nervenwachstumsfaktor BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) zusammenhängen. Eine hohe Ausprägung von BDNF deutet auf eine hohe neuronale Plastizität – und damit zusammenhängend – auf eine hohe Lernfähigkeit des Gehirns und bessere psychische Gesundheit hin.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts

Das Projekt liegt in einem Schnittbereich zwischen Grundlagen- und Anwendungsforschung. Einerseits zielt es darauf ab, die psychobiologischen Grundlagen für vermehrte sozio-emotionale Probleme bei ehemals frühgeborenen Jugendlichen besser zu verstehen. Andererseits sind Erkenntnisse zur Rolle des Schlafes und von sportlicher Aktivität für die psychische Gesundheit im Jugendalter im Hinblick auf Prävention und Intervention von hoher gesellschaftlicher Relevanz.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 02.06.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Correspondence of maternal and paternal perception of school-aged children's sleep with in-home sleep-electroencephalography and diary-reports of children's sleep
Urfer-Maurer Natalie, Brand Serge, Holsboer-Trachsler Edith, Grob Alexander, Weber Peter, Lemola Sakari (2018), Correspondence of maternal and paternal perception of school-aged children's sleep with in-home sleep-electroencephalography and diary-reports of children's sleep, in Sleep Medicine, 48, 180-186.
Heart rate variability and salivary cortisol in very preterm children during school age
Urfer-Maurer Natalie, Ludyga Sebastian, Stalder Tobias, Brand Serge, Holsboer-Trachsler Edith, Gerber Markus, Grob Alexander, Weber Peter, Lemola Sakari (2018), Heart rate variability and salivary cortisol in very preterm children during school age, in Psychoneuroendocrinology, 87, 27-34.
Effects of gestational age on brain volume and cognitive functions in generally healthy very preterm born children during school-age: A voxel-based morphometry study.
Lemola S. Oser N. Urfer-Maurer N. Brand S. Holsboer-Trachsler E. Bechtel N. Grob A. We (2017), Effects of gestational age on brain volume and cognitive functions in generally healthy very preterm born children during school-age: A voxel-based morphometry study., in PLoS One, e0183519.
The association of mothers' and fathers' insomnia symptoms with school-aged children's sleep assessed by parent report and in-home sleep- electroencephalography
Urfer-Maurer N. Weidmann R. Brand S. Holsboer-Trachsler E. Grob A. Weber P. & Lemola S (2017), The association of mothers' and fathers' insomnia symptoms with school-aged children's sleep assessed by parent report and in-home sleep- electroencephalography, in Sleep Medicine, 64-70.
Salivary and hair glucocorticoids and sleep in very preterm children during school age.
Maurer N. Perkinson-Gloor N. Stalder T. Hagmann-von Arx P. Brand S. Holsboer-Trachsler E. (2016), Salivary and hair glucocorticoids and sleep in very preterm children during school age., in Psychoneuroendocrinology, 166-174.
Gait in Very Preterm School-Aged Children in Dual-Task Paradigms
Hagmann-von Arx Priska, Manicolo Olivia, Perkinson-Gloor Nadine, Weber Peter, Grob Alexander, Lemola Sakari (2015), Gait in Very Preterm School-Aged Children in Dual-Task Paradigms, in PLOS ONE, 10(12), e0144363-e0144363.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Departement für Sport, Bewegung und Gesundheit, Universität Basel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Neonatology, University Children's Hospital Basel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Pediatric Pharmacology, University Children's Hospital Basel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
3. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft fur Neonatologie und Padiatrische Intensivmedizin e. V. (GNPI). Talk given at a conference Langzeitfolgen von Fruhgeburtlichkeit fur die psychoneuroendokrine Stressverarbeitung 08.07.2017 Dresden, Germany Lemola Sakari;
50. Kongress der DGPs Poster Very preterm children show more behavioral and emotional problems and decreased cortisol and cortisone in saliva and hair 18.09.2016 Leipzig, Germany Maurer Natalie;
31st International Congress of Psychology Poster Very preterm children show more behavioral and emotional problems and decreased cortisol and cortisone in saliva and hair 24.07.2016 Yokohama, Japan Maurer Natalie;
35th Annual Meeting, Novel Treatment Strategies in Psychiatry: Neurobiology and Clinical Significance Poster Very preterm children show more behavioral and emotional problems and decreased cortisol and cortisone in saliva and hair 28.08.2015 Genf, Switzerland Maurer Natalie;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Mothers' insomnia may affect children's sleep quality Spektrum (und andere: The Times of India; La Stampa) International 2017
Other activities Press Release Uni Basel International 2017

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
143962 Sleep, cognitive, and socio-emotional development in preterm children during middle and late childhood 01.10.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Background: Preterm children and adolescents show increased rates of socio-emotional difficulties (e.g. behavioral problems) and higher rates of mental health problems (e.g. emotional symptoms) than term born children and adolescents. As preterm birth is increasingly common, it is important to understand processes impeding or facilitating socio-emotional development and mental health of preterm children and adolescents. There is evidence that bio-physiological, neuroendocrine, and behavioral factors including the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-axis) function, sleep quality, neuronal plasticity (as indicated by levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor; BDNF), and physical exercise play an important role for socio-emotional development and mental health. As adolescence is a developmental period of fundamental psycho-social change and particularly increased risk for the onset of socio-emotional and mental health disturbances, it is a research priority to study risk and protective factors during the transition to adolescence. However, longitudinal research on preterm children studying the role of HPAA-function, sleep, neuroplasticity, and physical exercise during the transition to adolescence is missing.Objective: We aim at testing the following hypotheses within an interdisciplinary approach.1) Adolescents born preterm show more socio-emotional difficulties and more mental health problems, altered HPAA-function, lower levels of sleep quality, and lower levels of BDNF compared to controls.2) Altered HPAA-function, poor sleep, and low levels of BDNF are related with socio-emotional difficulties and mental health problems in adolescence. We expect the relation to be even stronger in preterm born adolescents due to their generally increased vulnerability for behavioral and emotional problems.3) A high level of physical exercise is positively related to socio-emotional development and mental health during the transition to adolescence. Again, we expect the relation to be even stronger in preterm born adolescents due to their generally increased vulnerability for behavioral and emotional problems. Moreover, we expect high levels of physical exercise to be related with HPAA-function, favorable sleep patterns, and higher levels of BDNF.Design and Method: The study includes a cohort of very preterm born adolescents (< 32nd week of gestation), born in Basel with birth years 6/2001-12/2005, as well as age and gender matched term born controls, who participated on a first measurement wave during childhood (altogether N = 190 children; 96 preterm and 94 full-term children, who were assessed during childhood in an earlier phase of the project). The proposed study comprises one follow-up measurement wave of this sample during early adolescence (ages 12;0 - 14;12 years). The follow-up sample during adolescence is expected to include n = 75 adolescents born very preterm and n = 75 adolescents born full-term. Planned measurement includes (a) parental and adolescent-report questionnaires (assessing adolescents’ socio-emotional development and mental health, physical activity/exercise, as well as parenting behavior and peer relationship quality), (b) paper-based assessment of socio-emotional competence (MSCEIT-YV) and cognitive development (WISC-IV)), (c) interviews with adolescents regarding their mental health (Kinder-DIPS), (d) assessment of adolescents’ HPAA-function by saliva samples and hair cortisol, (e) one night of sleep EEG/polysomnographic-assessment, (f) seven nights and days of actigraphy/activity monitoring and sleep diary, (g) blood samples to assess BDNF concentration. Relevance and impact: The study will provide information on the role of HPAA-function, sleep quality, neuronal plasticity, and physical exercise for socio-emotional development and mental health of preterm children during the transition to adolescence. Interventions to improve socio-emotional development and mental health of preterm and full-term born adolescents will profit from the newly generated evidence.
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