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Unique brain activity can predict schizophrenia



While some signs may indicate that a person is at risk for the development of schizophrenia, a definitive diagnosis will not be determined until the first psychotic episode occurs. Neuroscientists, however, have now discovered an abnormal brain pattern associated with the development of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a brain disease that causes hallucinations, delusions, and cognitive disorders. The disorder usually becomes visible during puberty or young adulthood. The new research will inspire studies that test the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy and neuronal feedback as early intervention to combat the symptoms of schizophrenia.

In the new study, MIT neuroscientists worked with researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and The Women's Hospital and the Shanghai Mental Health Center have now identified a pattern of brain activity correlated with the development of schizophrenia.

The researchers believe that the discovery of the abnormal brain pattern should be used as a marker for the earlier diagnosis of schizophrenia.

You can consider this pattern as a risk factor. If we use these types of brain measurements, we may be able to predict a little better who will eventually develop psychosis, and this can also help tailor interventions, "Dr. Guusje Collin, the main author of the newspaper.

The study, which appears in the journal Molecular Psychiatry was conducted at the Shanghai Mental Health Center.

Researchers explain that an individual experiences a psychotic episode characterized by sudden behavioral changes and loss of contact With reality, people may experience milder symptoms such as disordered thinking.

This type of thinking can lead to behaviors, such as accidentally jumping from one topic to another or answers that are not related to the original question. Previous studies have shown that about 25 percent of people suffering from these early symptoms develop schizophrenia.

Researchers followed 1

58 individuals, ages 13-34, who were considered high-risk due to their early symptoms. The team also included 93 controls who had no risk factors.

At the beginning of the study, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure a type of brain activity involving "resting state networks". Hibernate networks consist of brain regions that prefer to communicate and communicate with each other when the brain is not performing any special cognitive tasks.

"We were interested in studying the intrinsic functional architecture of the brain to find out if we could detect early aberrant brain connectivity or networks in people who are in the clinically risky stage of the disease," says Whitfield-Gabrieli. One year after the initial scans, 23 of the high-risk patients had a psychotic episode and were diagnosed with schizophrenia, and in these pre-diagnosis examinations, researchers found a different pattern of activity than healthy controls and at-risk individuals

The researchers found that in most people, a part of the brain known as the superior temporal gyrus involved in auditory processing is closely related to the brain regions that are involved the sensory perception u nd the motor control are involved.

However, in patients suffering from psychosis, the superior temporal larynx was more strongly associated with the brain limbic regions involved in the processing of emotions. This could explain why patients with schizophrenia usually experience auditory hallucinations, the researchers say.

Meanwhile, high-risk patients who did not develop psychosis showed network connectivity almost identical to that of healthy volunteers.

Researchers Believe This The type of pronounced brain activity might be useful as an early indicator of schizophrenia, as it may even be seen in younger patients.

Source: MIT / EurekAlert

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