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Prefrontal brain activity and self-injurious behavior in adolescents with major depressive disorder: A functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) study.

In clinical practice, accurately identifying self-injurious behavior among adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) is crucial for individualized treatment. This study aimed to examine the differences in prefrontal cortex activation using the functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) during the verbal fluency task (VFT) assessment of adolescents with MDD and self-harm (SH) compared with those without SH. A total of 60 eligible patients were included for final analysis, with the SH group containing 36 participants, and the Non-SH group containing 24 participants. We found that right middle frontal gyrus (rMFG) was more activated in the SH group than that in the Non-SH group during the VFT assessments (z = -3.591, p = 0.004, FDR correction). The z-scores of beta values of rMFG exhibited a good discriminatory power with the area under the curve (AUC) in distinguishing the two groups (AUC = 0.775, p < 0.001). These findings reveal that the fNIRS-VFT paradigm may be a useful tool for discovering neurobiological differences among adolescents with MDD.

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