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Abstract #2253

Prenatal maternal distress during the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on infant brain connectivity

Kathryn Y. Manning1,2,3, Xiangyu Long1,2,3, Lianne Tomfohr-Madsen2,4,5, Gerald Giesbrecht2,4,5,6, and Catherine Lebel1,2,3
1Radiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada, 2Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute, Calgary, AB, Canada, 3Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Calgary, AB, Canada, 4Psychology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada, 5Pediatrics, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada, 6Community Health Sciences, Calgary, AB, Canada

We investigated the effects of prenatal maternal psychological distress in pregnant Canadian mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic on the early development of the infant brain. We scanned infants using the 3T MRI at the Alberta Children's hospital including resting state functional and diffusion MRI. We found that amygdala microstructural pathways were significantly related to functional connectivity between the right and left amygdala at 2-months of age. These infant MRI measures were correlated with maternal anxiety and psychological distress where we found relatively less mature tracts and lower amygdala-prefrontal functional connectivity were related to higher prenatal maternal psychological distress.

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