Heightened blood flow in the brain linked to development of psychosis

December 18, 2015, King's College London
Heightened blood flow in the brain linked to development of psychosis

Scientists from King's College London and the University of Roehampton have identified a key mechanism in the brain which might be associated with the onset and development of psychosis.

Using a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technique they found that 52 young people deemed to be at ultra high risk of had increased or 'hyperactive'levels of compared to 27 healthy controls in the hippocampus, striatum and midbrain - all brain regions that are particularly implicated in the onset of psychotic disorders like schizophrenia.

This study is one of the first in humans to confirm results from animal research, which has already shown that increased activity in these drives the development of psychosis.

In the study, published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry and funded by the Medical Research Council, the researchers also repeated the MRI scans after 18 months to examine how blood flow levels had changed. In participants whose presenting symptoms had resolved, the researchers found that resting blood flow levels in the hippocampus had decreased to the levels seen in healthy participants. This suggests that normalisation of blood flow in the hippocampus may underlie clinical improvement in these participants.

Professor Paul Allen from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London and the University of Roehampton said: 'Our research identified significant differences in brain blood flow between healthy people and those at ultra high risk of psychosis. These differences help us understand the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie the development of psychosis.'

Professor Philip McGuire, also from the IoPPN at King's College London, added: 'These findings are also important in terms of clinical practice. They underline the potential of brain scanning to help clinicians predict whether people who are at increased risk of psychosis will go on to develop a disorder or whether they will recover.

'In addition, understanding what is happening in the brain at this stage also informs the ongoing development of new treatments designed to prevent the development of .'

Explore further: Study shows white matter damage caused by 'skunk-like' cannabis

Related Stories

Study shows white matter damage caused by 'skunk-like' cannabis

November 26, 2015
Smoking high potency 'skunk-like' cannabis can damage a crucial part of the brain responsible for communication between the two brain hemispheres, according to a new study by scientists from King's College London and Sapienza ...

Study finds inflammation in the brain is linked to risk of schizophrenia

October 16, 2015
A study published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry is the first to find that immune cells are more active in the brains of people at risk of schizophrenia as well as those already diagnosed with the disease.

LSD changes consciousness by reorganizing human brain networks

December 10, 2015
LSD is known to cause changes in consciousness, including "ego-dissolution", or a loss of the sense of self. Despite a detailed knowledge of the action of LSD at specific serotonin receptors, it has not been understood how ...

Antipsychotics increase risk of death in people with Parkinson's disease psychosis

September 30, 2015
Antipsychotic drugs may increase the risk of death in people with Parkinson's disease psychosis (PDP), according to a new study led by researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's ...

Cannabis increases the noise in your brain

December 3, 2015
Several studies have demonstrated that the primary active constituent of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9-THC), induces transient psychosis-like effects in healthy subjects similar to those observed in schizophrenia. ...

Researchers identify key biological markers for psychotic disorders

December 8, 2015
A team of researchers led by faculty at the University of Georgia has identified a number of biological markers that make it possible to classify mental disorders with greater precision. Their findings, published today in ...

Recommended for you

Mind wandering is fine in some situations, study says

June 20, 2018
It's a common experience for most students. You're sitting in a lecture that covers material you already know, and before long your mind drifts and you become occupied with thoughts of what you'll do over the weekend, or ...

Around the world, people have surprisingly modest notions of the 'ideal' life

June 20, 2018
It seems reasonable that people would want to maximize various aspects of life if they were given the opportunity to do so, whether it's the pleasure they feel, how intelligent they are, or how much personal freedom they ...

Say cheese! Why a toothy smile makes it easier for you to be identified

June 19, 2018
A fulsome smile in a photo makes it easier for people to identify the individual, say researchers at the University of York.

Genes associated with infantile forms of schizophrenia identified

June 19, 2018
Scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro) and McGill University have identified novel genes associated with a specific form of schizophrenia.

Kids grasp that you get what you pay for

June 19, 2018
From a young age, children have a nuanced understanding of fairness.

Mental health declining among disadvantaged American adults

June 19, 2018
American adults of low socioeconomic status report increasing mental distress and worsening well-being, according to a new study by Princeton University and Georgetown University.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Squirrel
5 / 5 (1) Dec 20, 2015
The link for the paper "Resting Hyperperfusion of the Hippocampus, Midbrain, and Basal Ganglia in People at High Risk for Psychosis" Paul Allen et al (paywall) http://dx.doi.org...15040485 Also in the same journal in press by the same research group "Microglial Activity in People at Ultra High Risk of Psychosis and in Schizophrenia" http://dx.doi.org...14101358

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.