The diverse spatial and temporal expression of alternatively spliced transcript isoforms shapes neurodevelopment and plays a major role in neuronal adaptability. Although alternative splicing is extremely common in the brain, its role in mental illnesses such as schizophrenia has received little attention. To examine this relationship, postmortem brain tissue was obtained from 20 individuals with schizophrenia (SZ) and 20 neuropsychiatrically normal comparison subjects. Gray matter samples were extracted from two brain regions implicated in the disorder: Brodmann area 10 and caudate. Affymetrix Human Gene 1.0 ST arrays were used on four subjects per group to attain an initial profile of differential expression of transcribed elements within and across brain regions in SZ. Numerous genes of interest with altered mRNA transcripts were identified by microarray through the differential expression of particular exons and 3′ untranslated regions (UTRs) between diagnostic groups. Select microarray results—including dysregulation of ENAH exon 11a and CPNE3 3′UTR—were verified by qRTPCR and replicated in the remaining independent sample of 16 SZ patients and 16 normal comparison subjects. These results, if further replicated, clearly illustrate the importance of Identifying transcriptomic variants in expression studies, and implicate novel candidate genes in the disorder.
Abnormalities in emotional experience have long been viewed as core features of schizophrenia. Numerous studies indicate that people with schizophrenia report less pleasure than controls when reporting non-current feelings using trait, hypothetical, prospective, and retrospective emotional self-report formats; however, current research has demonstrated that schizophrenia patients and controls do not differ in their subjective reactions to emotional stimuli in most laboratory studies. Although substantial attention has been paid to studies examining self-reported valence in schizophrenia, subjective reports of arousal in response to affective stimuli have been neglected. Understanding the role of arousal in schizophrenia is imperative given that valence and arousal are differentially associated with physiological and behavioral responses. To understand the role of self-reported arousal, a meta-analysis of 26 published studies employing laboratory emotion induction paradigms in patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls was conducted. Medline, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and PubMed electronic databases and reference lists from identified articles were used as data sources. Using a random effects model, analyses demonstrated that controls and people with schizophrenia reported similar levels of subjective arousal in response to pleasant and unpleasant stimuli; however, people with schizophrenia reported experiencing greater arousal than controls in response to neutral stimuli. Furthermore, moderator analyses suggested that gender and methodological factors, such as rating scale and stimulus type, may affect these patterns of results and play a key role in determining whether patients and controls differ in self-reported arousal.
Emotional Experience; Affect; Psychosis
Skin conductance response (SCR) to emotion-evoking stimuli has in previous studies suggested the existence of two subgroups of schizophrenia patients. One is characterized by absent SCR and the other by heightened or non-habituating SCR. These subgroups have also been shown to differ in symptoms, prognosis and social integration. The present project compared social cognition in the two subgroups. SCR from 28 patients with schizophrenia and 24 matched healthy controls was measured while they watched emotion-evoking and neutral video tapes. Assessments of symptoms, neurocognition, social cognition, and social function were also performed. Event related potentials (ERP) were recorded in response to pictures of people experiencing pain or not. Subjects were divided into “SCR non-responder” and “SCR responder” groups based on SCR frequency. Schizophrenia SCR responders had significantly higher self-reported personal distress in response to others in distress and lower P300 ERP responses to others in pain than schizophrenia SCR non-responders and healthy controls. SCR responsiveness is a potential marker of subgroups of patients with schizophrenia that differ in pathophysiology, function and prognosis.
Schizophrenia; skin conductance; SCR subgroups; social cognition; empathy; event related potential
Schizophrenia (SZ) is associated with high rates of smoking. We previously found that dorsal anterior cingulate (dACC) – striatum resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) is independently associated with nicotine addiction and psychiatric illness. Since the insula is implicated in nicotine dependence, we hypothesized that SZ smokers will have greater dysfunction in smoking-related insular and dACC circuits than normal control smokers (NC) independent of smoking severity, consistent with an inherent disease-related weakening of smoking-related circuits. Nicotine challenge was used to demonstrate that decreased rsFC in identified circuits reflects addiction trait and is not affected by pharmacological state. Twenty-four NC smokers and 20 smokers with SZ matched on nicotine addiction severity participated in a resting state fMRI study and were scanned during two separate sessions while receiving a placebo or nicotine patch, in a randomized, cross-over design. Using individualized, anatomically defined anterior and posterior insula and dACC as regions of interest (ROI), whole brain rsFC was performed using each ROI as a seed. Significant negative correlations between smoking severity and rsFC between insula, dACC and striatum were found for both groups. Furthermore, smokers with SZ demonstrated additive reductions in circuit strength between the dACC and insula compared to NC smokers independent of smoking severity. Nicotine challenge did not significantly alter rsFC in insula-dACC-striatal circuits. Reduced rsFC strength between the insula, dACC and striatum is associated with nicotine addiction severity in both non-psychiatrically ill and in SZ smokers. Decreased insula-dACC rsFC may index overlapping circuitry associated with smoking and SZ.
resting state functional connectivity; schizophrenia; smoking; nicotine; insula; anterior cingulate
Within a neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia, prenatal developmental deviations are implicated as early signs of increased risk for future illness. External markers of central nervous system maldevelopment may provide information regarding the nature and timing of prenatal disruptions among individuals with schizophrenia. One such marker is dermatoglyphic abnormalities (DAs) or unusual epidermal ridge patterns. Studies targeting DAs as a potential sign of early developmental disruption have yielded mixed results with regard to the strength of the association between DAs and schizophrenia. The current study aimed to resolve these inconsistencies by conducting a meta-analysis examining the six most commonly cited dermatoglyphic features among individuals with diagnoses of schizophrenia. Twenty-two studies published between 1968 and 2012 were included. Results indicated significant but small effects for total finger ridge count and total A-B ridge count, with lower counts among individuals with schizophrenia relative to controls. Other DAs examined in the current meta-analysis did not yield significant effects. Total finger ridge count and total A-B ridge count appear to yield the most reliable dermatoglyphic differences between individuals with and without schizophrenia.
schizophrenia; dermatoglyphics; meta-analysis; neurodevelopment
The North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study (NAPLS) is a consortium of eight programs focusing on the psychosis prodrome. Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the sites are located at Emory University, Harvard University, University of Calgary, UCLA, UCSD, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Yale University, and Zucker Hillside Hospital. Although the programs initially developed independently, they previously collaborated to combine their historical datasets and to produce a series of analyses on predictors of psychosis in one of the largest samples of longitudinally followed prodromal subjects worldwide. This led to the development of a five year prospective study “Predictors and Mechanisms of Conversion to Psychosis”, (also known as NAPLS-2) with three major aims: (1) to prospectively test the prediction algorithm developed in NAPLS-1, (2) to investigate the neuroanatomical, neurophysiological, neurocognitive, and neurohormonal factors that may contribute to the development of psychosis, and (3) to develop a repository of DNA, RNA, and plasma from participants meeting diagnostic criteria for a clinical high risk (CHR) state and from demographically similar healthy subjects. Funded by NIMH in 2008, NAPLS-2 will generate the largest CHR for psychosis sample with 720 CHR and 240 healthy comparison subjects, and thus will provide statistical power and scientific scope that cannot be duplicated by any single site study. This paper describes the overall methodology of the NAPLS-2 project and reports on the ascertainment and demographics at the midway point of the study with (360 CHR) and 180 controls.
Patients with schizophrenia speak with blunted vocal affect but little is known regarding the prosody of persons with schizotypal personality disorder (SPD). This work examined expressive prosody in SPD, its relationship to brain structure, and outlined a framework for measuring elements of prosody in clinical populations.
Twenty-eight antipsychotic-naïve SPD subjects were matched with 27 healthy comparison (HC) subjects. Subjects read aloud short sentences and responded to probes to record both predetermined and self-generated speech samples. Samples were analyzed acoustically (pause proportion, duration, attack, and pitch variability) and subjectively by raters (amount of pauses, degree of emotion portrayed, and how much they wanted to hear more from the subjects) on paragraph, sentence, word, word-fragment, and syllable levels. Alexithymia and ability to self-monitor behavior was compared between groups. The pars opercularis was manually traced on structural MRI data.
SPD subjects' speech had significantly more pauses, was slower, had less pitch variability, and expressed less emotion than HC subjects. Pitch variability correlated with socio-economic status achievement. There was no difference between groups in left or right pars opercularis volumes. A statistically significant correlation suggested smaller left pars opercularis volumes in SPD subjects correlated with more pauses and less emotion. SPD subjects reported more alexithymia and difficulty self-monitoring their behavior compared with controls. In SPD subjects the high alexithymia correlated with raters not wanting to hear more from them and SPD subjects' inability to modulate their social behavior correlated with their having fewer friends. Thus, the SPD subjects exhibited insight.
SPD subjects displayed significant prosodic deficits that were measurable in speech samples as brief as a word-fragment. The determinants of these deficits are not known although may include a dysfunctional pars opercularis. These data add to the nascent literature describing social cognition deficits in SPD.
Schizotypal personality disorder; schizophrenia; prosody; vocal affect; pars opercularis; inferior frontal lobe; alexithymia; social cognition
The current study examined the psychometric properties of the Brief Negative Symptom Scale (BNSS), a next-generation rating instrument developed in response to the NIMH sponsored consensus development conference on negative symptoms. Participants included 100 individuals with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who completed a clinical interview designed to assess negative, positive, disorganized, and general psychiatric symptoms, as well as functional outcome. A battery of anhedonia questionnaires and neuropsychological tests were also administered. Results indicated that the BNSS has excellent internal consistency and temporal stability, as well as good convergent and discriminant validity in its relationships with other symptom rating scales, functional outcome, self-reported anhedonia, and neuropsychological test scores. Given its brevity (13-items, 15-minute interview) and good psychometric characteristics, the BNSS can be considered a promising new instrument for use in clinical trials.
Anhedonia; Avolition; Asociality; Blunted Affect; Alogia
The current study examined the factor structure of the Brief Negative Symptom Scale (BNSS), a next-generation negative symptom rating instrument developed in response to the NIMH-sponsored Consensus Development Conference on Negative Symptoms. Participants included 146 individuals with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Principal axis factoring indicated two distinct factors explaining 68.7% of the variance. Similar to previous findings, the factors reflected motivation and pleasure and emotional expressivity. These findings provide further support for the construct validity of the BNSS, and for the existence of these two negative symptom factors.
Anhedonia; Avolition; Asociality; Blunted Affect; Alogia
Aprosody, or flattened speech intonation, is a recognized negative symptom of schizophrenia, though it has rarely been studied from a linguistic/phonological perspective. To bring the latest advances in computational linguistics to the phenomenology of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders, a clinical first-episode psychosis research team joined with a phonetics/computational linguistics team to conduct a preliminary, proof-of-concept study.
Video recordings from a semi-structured clinical research interview were available from 47 first-episode psychosis patients. Audio tracks of the video recordings were extracted, and after review of quality, 25 recordings were available for phonetic analysis. These files were de-noised and a trained phonologist extracted a 1-minute sample of each patient’s speech. WaveSurfer 1.8.5 was used to create, from each speech sample, a file of formant values (F0, F1, F2, where F0 is the fundamental frequency and F1 and F2 are resonance bands indicating the moment-by-moment shape of the oral cavity). Variability in these phonetic indices was correlated with severity of Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale negative symptom scores using Pearson correlations.
A measure of variability of tongue front-to-back position—the standard deviation of F2—was statistically significantly correlated with the severity of negative symptoms (r=−0.446, p=0.03).
This study demonstrates a statistically significant and meaningful correlation between negative symptom severity and phonetically measured reductions in tongue movements during speech in a sample of first-episode patients just initiating treatment. Further studies of negative symptoms, applying computational linguistics methods, are warranted.
Aprosody; First-episode psychosis; Linguistics; Phonetics; Schizophrenia
22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22qDS) represents one of the largest known genetic risk factors for schizophrenia. Approximately 30% of individuals with 22qDS develop psychotic illness in adolescence or young adulthood. Given that deficits in social cognition are increasingly viewed as a central aspect of idiopathic schizophrenia, we sought to investigate abilities in this domain as a predictor of psychotic symptoms in 22qDS participants. We assessed multiple domains of social and non-social cognition in 22qDS youth to: 1) characterize performance across these domains in 22qDS, and identify whether 22qDS participants fail to show expected patterns of age-related improvements on these tasks; and 2) determine whether social cognition better predicts positive and negative symptoms than does non-social cognition. Task domains assessed were: emotion recognition and differentiation, Theory of Mind (ToM), verbal knowledge, abstract reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. Positive and negative symptoms were measured using scores obtained from the Structured Interview for Prodromal Symptoms (SIPS). 22qDS participants (N=31, mean age: 15.9) showed the largest impairment, relative to healthy controls (N=31, mean age: 15.6), on measures of ToM and processing speed. In contrast to controls, 22qDS participants did not show age-related improvements on measures of working memory and verbal knowledge. Notably, ToM performance was the best predictor of positive symptoms in 22qDS, accounting for 39% of the variance in symptom severity. Processing speed emerged as the best predictor of negative symptoms, accounting for 37% of the variance in symptoms. Given that ToM was a robust predictor of positive symptoms in our sample, these findings suggest that social cognition may be a valuable intermediate trait for predicting the development of psychosis.
22q11.2 Microdeletion Syndrome; social cognition; schizophrenia; prodromal; psychosis
Despite increasing evidence suggesting that childhood maltreatment is significantly associated with psychosis, the specific role of bullying in the onset of psychotic disorders is still unclear. This study aimed to examine whether bullying was more prevalent amongst individuals presenting to services for the first time with a psychotic disorder than in unaffected community controls.
Data on exposure to bullying, psychotic symptoms, cannabis use and history of conduct disorder were collected cross-sectionally from 222 first-presentation psychosis cases and 215 geographically-matched controls. Bullying victimisation was assessed retrospectively as part of the Brief Life Events schedule. Logistic regression was used to examine associations between exposure to bullying and case-control status, while controlling for potential confounders.
Psychosis cases were approximately twice as likely to report bullying victimisation when compared to controls. No significant interactions between bullying and either gender or cannabis use were found. Controls reporting being a victim of bullying were approximately twice as likely to also report at least one psychosis-like symptom.
Our results extend previous research by suggesting that bullying victimisation may contribute to vulnerability to develop a psychotic disorder in some individuals.
bullying; victimisation; first episode; psychosis; schizophrenia
Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, although diagnostically separate, likely share elements of their genetic etiology. This study assessed whether COMT Val158Met polymorphism has shared or specific associations with clinical phenotypes evident in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Schizophrenia and bipolar patients completed a clinical assessment encompassing premorbid functioning and current and lifetime symptomatology. Multivariate analyses yielded a three-way interaction of diagnosis, COMT genotype, and lifetime symptomatology. The COMT Val allele was associated with greater positive symptomatology in schizophrenia, whereas Met homozygosity was associated with greater positive symptomatology in bipolar disorder. Findings support the COMT Val158Met polymorphism conferring vulnerability for different clinical phenotypes in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Lifetime symptomatology may be particularly useful in determining the relationship between genes and clinical phenotypes across mental disorders.
symptom dimensions; diagnosis; genes; dopamine; psychosis; mania; positive symptoms
Abnormal brain activity during the processing of simple sounds is evident in individuals with increased genetic liability for schizophrenia; however, the diagnostic specificity of these abnormalities has yet to be fully examined. Because recent evidence suggests that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may share aspects of genetic etiology the present study was conducted to determine whether individuals with heightened genetic liability for each disorder manifested distinct neural abnormalities during auditory processing. Utilizing a dichotic listening paradigm, we assessed target tone discrimination and electrophysiological responses in schizophrenia patients, first-degree biological relatives of schizophrenia patients, bipolar disorder patients, first-degree biological relatives of bipolar patients and nonpsychiatric control participants. Schizophrenia patients and relatives of schizophrenia patients demonstrated reductions in an early neural response (i.e. N1) suggestive of deficient sensory registration of auditory stimuli. Bipolar patients and relatives of bipolar patients demonstrated no such abnormality. Both schizophrenia and bipolar patients failed to significantly augment N1 amplitude with attention. Schizophrenia patients also failed to show sensitivity of longer-latency neural processes (N2) to stimulus frequency suggesting a disorder specific deficit in stimulus classification. Only schizophrenia patients exhibited reduced target tone discrimination accuracy. Reduced N1 responses reflective of early auditory processing abnormalities are suggestive of a marker of genetic liability for schizophrenia and may serve as an endophenotype for the disorder.
Schizophrenia; Audition; Bipolar; Endophenotype; Relatives; N1
Schizophrenia is a severe and heritable brain disorder. Language impairment has been hypothesized to spur its onset and underlie the characteristic symptoms. In this study, we investigate whether altered topological pattern of the language processing brain network exists and could be a potential biomarker of schizophrenia. We hypothesized that both patients with schizophrenia and the genetic high risk population would show significantly weakened efficiencies of the network hubs for normal language processing, especially at left inferior frontal and bilateral temporal lobes.
Language task-based fMRI data from 21 patients with schizophrenia, 22 genetic high risk subjects and 36 controls were analyzed. Graph theoretic and post hoc analyses of the fMRI data, and correlations between the functional network features and scores of language tests were carried out.
Compared to controls, patients with schizophrenia and the high risk subjects showed significantly weakened network hubs in left inferior frontal and right fusiform gyri. A unique topology of super active and intercommunicating network hubs at left fusiform gyrus and right inferior/middle frontal gyri, which were associated with the behavioral language impairment was found in the patient group, compared to the high risk and control groups.
Aberrant systems-level topology of language processing network, especially significantly weakened network hubs in left inferior frontal and right fusiform gyri, may serve as a candidate biomarker of schizophrenia. Supported by existing findings, the hyperactive left fusiform gyrus communicating with right frontal lobe might be the key neurophysiological component causing hallucinations in schizophrenia. These findings provided a new systems-level diagnostic target for the disorder.
Schizophrenia; Genetic high risk; Language processing network; fMRI; Graph theoretical techniques
This study sought to determine whether cannabinoid-1 (CB1) receptor binding was altered in the postmortem dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) of individuals with schizophrenia (schizophrenia; n=47) compared to controls (n=43). The CB1 receptor inverse agonist radioligand [3H]MePPEP was used to measure specific binding to CB1 receptors. The specific binding of [3H]MePPEP to CB1 receptors was 20% higher in patients with schizophrenia than in controls. Power analyses suggested that 53 subjects per group would be needed to detect a similar difference in vivo with positron emission tomography (PET) and the structurally related inverse agonist radioligand [18F]FMPEP-d2 (80% statistical power, p<0.05).
cannabinoid; CB1; schizophrenia; dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; [3H]MePPEP
Prior research provides evidence for aberrant cognition-emotion interactions in schizophrenia. In the current study, we aimed to extend these findings by administering the “distractor devaluation” task to 40 individuals with schizophrenia and 32 demographically matched healthy controls. The task consisted of a simple visual search task for neutral faces, followed by an evaluative response made for one of the search items (or a novel item) to determine whether prior attentional selection results in a devaluation of a previously unattended stimulus. We also manipulated working memory demands by preceding the search array with a memory array that required subjects to hold 0, 1, or 2 items in working memory while performing the search array and devaluation task, to determine whether the normative process by which attentional states influence evaluative response is limited by working memory capacity. Results indicated that individuals with schizophrenia demonstrated the typical distractor devaluation effect at working memory load 0, suggesting intact evaluative response. However, the devaluation effect was absent at working memory loads of 1 and 2, suggesting that normal evaluative responses can be abolished in people with schizophrenia when working memory capacity is exceeded. Thus, findings provide further evidence for normal evaluative response in schizophrenia, but clarify that these normal experiences may not hold when working memory demands are too high.
Emotion; Reward; Anhedonia; Cognition; Schizophrenia
Printed research consent forms serve to legally document what has been disclosed, but are usually suboptimal as a means of actually communicating that information to potential participants. We conducted a preliminary study of web-based multimedia consent. Participants included 19 patients with schizophrenia and 16 normal comparison (NC) subjects randomly assigned to a routine or web-media consent. Although comprehension among NCs was excellent regardless of consent condition, the web-based consent was associated with better comprehension and satisfaction among patients with schizophrenia. Findings suggest web-aided multimedia consent is feasible and potentially more effective than printed consent forms in schizophrenia research.
Decisional capacity; web-aided consent; schizophrenia; multimedia consent
Accurate prediction of psychosis development in high-risk populations is an important but thus far elusive goal. Of the many diverse etiologic and risk factors identified thus far, few have been combined into prospective risk ascertainment models. We tested the predictive power of familial, neurobiological, socioenvironmental, cognitive and clinical risk factors through an integrative biopsychosocial model for emerging psychosis in young relatives at familial risk for schizophrenia.
96 young first- and second- degree relatives of schizophrenia probands were followed for an average of 2.38 (SD = 0.98) years to examine their trajectory towards psychosis. Iterative structural equation modelling utilizing multiple etiologic and risk factors was employed to estimate their joint contribution to prediction of psychosis development.
The rate of conversion to psychosis over the study period was 12.5%. In the final model, clinical measures of schizotypy were directly predictive of conversion, with early (familial, biological, socioenvironmental) and cognitive risk factors indirectly predictive of psychosis through increased baseline clinical symptomatology. Our model provided an excellent fit to the observed data, with sensitivity of 0.17, specificity of 0.99, positive predictive value of 0.67 and negative predictive value of 0.89.
Integrative modeling of multivariate data from familial, neurobiological, socioenvironmental, cognitive and clinical domains represents a powerful approach to prediction of psychosis development. The high specificity and low sensitivity found using a combination of such variables suggests that their utility may be in confirmatory testing among already selected high-risk individuals, rather than for initial screening. These findings also highlight the importance of data from a broad array of etiologic and risk factors, even within a familial high-risk population. With further refinement and validation, such methods could form key components of early detection, intervention and prevention programs.
Psychosis; schizophrenia; high-risk; familial; prediction
Mounting evidence suggests that white matter abnormalities and altered subcortical–cortical connectivity may be central to the pathology of schizophrenia (SZ). The anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC) is an important thalamo-frontal white-matter tract shown to have volume reductions in SZ and to a lesser degree in schizotypal personality disorder (SPD). While fractional anisotropy (FA) and connectivity abnormalities in the ALIC have been reported in SZ, they have not been examined in SPD. In the current study, magnetic resonance (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) were obtained in age- and sex-matched individuals with SPD (n=33) and healthy controls (HCs; n=38). The ALIC was traced bilaterally on five equally spaced dorsal-to-ventral axial slices from each participant’s MRI scan and co-registered to DTI for the calculation of FA. Tractography was used to examine tracts between the ALIC and two key Brodmann areas (BAs; BA10, BA45) within the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Compared with HCs, the SPD participants exhibited (a) smaller relative volume at the mid-ventral ALIC slice level but not the other levels; (b) normal FA within the ALIC; (c) fewer relative number of tracts between the most-dorsal ALIC levels and BA10 but not BA45 and (d) fewer dorsal ALIC–DLPFC tracts were associated with greater symptom severity in SPD. In contrast to prior SZ studies that report lower FA, individuals with SPD show sparing. Our findings are consistent with a pattern of milder thalamo-frontal dysconnectivity in SPD than schizophrenia.
Schizotypal personality disorder; Diffusion tensor imaging; Tractography; Magnetic resonance imaging; Anisotropy; Internal capsule
Previous studies have reported alterations in grey matter volume and cortical thickness in individuals at high risk of developing psychosis and patients in the early stages of the disorder. Because these studies have typically focused on either grey matter volume or cortical thickness separately, the relationship between these two types of alterations is currently unclear. In the present investigation we used both voxel-based cortical thickness (VBCT) and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to examine neuroanatomical differences in 21 individuals with an At Risk Mental State (ARMS) for psychosis, 26 patients with a First Episode of Psychosis (FEP) and 24 healthy controls. Statistical inferences were made at P < 0.05 after correction for multiple comparisons. Cortical thinning in the right superior temporal gyrus was observed in both individuals at high risk of developing psychosis and patients with a first episode of the disorder, and therefore is likely to represent a marker of vulnerability. In contrast, the right posterior cingulate cortex showed cortical thinning in FEP patients relative to individuals at high risk, and therefore appears to be implicated in the onset of the disease. These neuroanatomical differences were expressed in terms of cortical thickness but not in terms of grey matter volume, and therefore may reflect specific cortical atrophy as opposed to variations in sulcal and gyral morphology.
First Episode Psychosis; At Risk Mental State; VBM; Cortical thickness; Imaging
It has been consistently demonstrated that delusions are related to jumping to conclusions (JTC), a data-gathering bias and potential candidate endophenotype of psychosis. Recent research suggests that JTC may be a marker of treatment response. However, we know little about the factors contributing to the occurrence of this reasoning bias. This study investigated the relationship between JTC and hypothesised deficits in working memory, employing standard well-validated neuropsychological tests, in people with current delusions.
One hundred and twenty six people with schizophrenia spectrum psychosis and current delusions were assessed for current symptoms, and tested for JTC. We compared performance on tests of working memory in those with the reasoning bias and those without.
As expected, 30–40% of this sample of people with current delusions showed the JTC bias. There were no differences in premorbid IQ between those with and without the JTC reasoning bias. However, the performance of the JTC group was significantly worse on tests of working memory.
The JTC data-gathering bias is associated with impairments in working memory. New non-pharmacological interventions for people with delusions, designed to improve data gathering, may benefit from incorporating strategies to overcome deficits in working memory.
Delusions; Jumping to conclusions; Working memory; Schizophrenia-spectrum psychosis
Recent studies have implicated inappropriate engagement of functional brain networks (e.g.: default mode) in schizophrenia. This fMRI study examined taskinduced activations and deactivations in 10 schizophrenia patients with prominent negative symptoms and 10 healthy controls during a simple target detection task. Group comparison revealed recruitment of distinct attentional networks during this task, with schizophrenia subjects activating the dorsal attention system and controls activating the executive network. Further, schizophrenia patients failed to deactivate posterior cingulate regions during the task, supporting recent studies of altered default mode processing. These findings support theories of dysfunctional recruitment of large-scale brain networks in schizophrenia.
schizophrenia; default mode; attention; target detection; executive; fMRI
Weight gain and changes in metabolic indicators associated with some antipsychotics may be related to symptom improvement and thus an unavoidable correlate of clinical benefit.
Data from the CATIE schizophrenia trial comparing the effectiveness of perphenazine, olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine and ziprasidone in a randomized, double-blind, trial over 18 months were used to evaluate the relationship between percent change in body mass index (BMI) and change in total serum cholesterol and triglycerides with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) score. Analysis of covariance for observations at 3 months and a mixed effects model for all observations up to 18 months adjusted for potentially confounding variables were used to examine these associations.
In both models, there was a significant association (p=0.001) between change in PANSS total score and percent change in BMI, equating to a 0.28 and 0.21 point decrease in PANSS total score (range 30–210) per 1% increase in BMI respectively. Change in BMI accounted for 3% or less of variance for change in PANSS scores. There was no evidence that the association of symptoms and weight gain differed across medications in spite of substantial differences in weight gain and other metabolic measures. Neither total serum cholesterol nor triglyceride levels displayed a significant association with change in PANSS.
The magnitude of the relationship between change in BMI and PANSS was too small to be clinically important, indicating that switching medications to one with less metabolic risk is unlikely to result in meaningful loss of clinical benefit.
antipsychotic agents; weight gain; lipids; schizophrenia; treatment outcome; body mass index