Current Neurobehavioral Studies Page ContentThe Center for Neurobehavioral Research focuses on understanding how disrupted brain functioning can give rise to emotional and behavioral disorders. Browse our current studies below to learn more, or click here to participate in a study.Current StudiesMaltreatment and brain development In our work at Boys Town, we have identified at least 2 negative outcomes of maltreatment:Increased responding to threat within the amygdala. This is associated with increased anxiety.Decreased responding within behavior control brain regions within frontal cortex. This is associated with increased impulsivity.We are now examining how interventions affect these regions and whether improvement in their functioning is linked to reduced anxiety/ impulsive behavior. Substance abuse and brain development In our work at Boys Town, we have found that alcohol disrupts the development of regions involved in behavioral control and attention.This disruption may be associated with reduced emotion regulation.The impacts of substance abuse on these regions may increase the risk for youth to develop mood and anxiety disorders.Brain systems and behavioral problems Anterior insula/inferior frontal gyrus and caudate (top image) are crucial in avoiding poor decisions. In work at Boys Town, we have shown that the greater the work of these regions is disrupted, the more likely that the youth is to show disruptive behavior.We are now examining how interventions affect these regions and whether improvement in their functioning is linked to reduced behavioral problems.Helping the brain through intervention In our on-going work, we see that medial prefrontal cortex, striatum and posterior cingulate cortex show improved reward signaling in youth who complete the Family Home Program℠.Reward signaling is important for making good decisions. Disrupted reward signaling has been associated with depression.These results are still preliminary. We hope to have more information by the end of 2017.