Young people with behavioral problems, such as antisocial and aggressive behavior, show reduced grey matter volume in a number of areas of the brain, according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

The researchers from the University of Birmingham found that, compared to typically developing youths, those with behavioural problems show grey matter reductions specifically within the amygdala, the insula, and the prefrontal cortex.

These brain areas are important for decision-making, empathic responses, reading facial expressions and emotion regulation; key cognitive and affective processes that are shown to be deficient in youths with behavioral problems.

The article combined brain imaging data from 13 existing studies including 394 youths with behavioral problems and 350 typically developing youths, making it the largest study on this topic.

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