Indications of psychosis appear in cortical folding

April 25, 2018, University of Basel
The anatomy of our brain can provide indications of the development of psychoses. Simplified representation of cortical folding in different brain regions. Credit: University Psychiatric Clinics Basel

Imaging techniques can be used to detect the development of psychosis in the brains of high-risk patients at an early stage, as reported by researchers from the University of Basel and Western University in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Detecting early increases the chances of effective treatment. Despite advances in diagnosis, however, it has previously not been possible to examine young people with initial psychotic symptoms and reliably say who will develop acute psychosis and who will not.

It has long been supposed that the condition is caused by disturbed communication between various groups of nerve cells. Modern imaging techniques have made it possible to make these connections between regions of the visible.

Researchers from the University of Basel have now examined the question of whether changes in the anatomical structure of brain networks can already be detected in people with an increased risk of psychosis. The study was carried out in collaboration with scientists from the Psychiatric University Clinics Basel, Western University and Lawson Health Research Institute in Ontario, Canada.

Focus on cortical folding

The researchers, led by Drs André Schmidt and Lena Palaniyappan, focused on cortical folding, known as gyrification: they examined how the folds in various regions of the brain interact with each other, and whether this interaction is impaired in high-risk .

They also tested how precisely they could use the cortical connectivity to predict which high-risk patients would suffer from psychosis and which would not.

Reduced interaction

For their study, the researchers examined 44 healthy control subjects, 38 patients with first-episode psychosis, and 79 people with an increased risk of psychosis, of which 16 later developed fully-formed psychosis. They reconstructed the brain's nerve pathways using magnetic resonance imaging and methods from mathematical graph theory, with which they described a network of nodes.

The results show that in comparison to the healthy control group, the folding in individual regions of the brain in patients with an initial psychotic episode and those with a later psychosis transition showed reduced integration and increased segregation.

The analysis also showed that this process enabled predictions to be made with more than 80% accuracy about which patients would later suffer from psychosis and which would not.

Biomarker for clinical diagnosis

"Our results indicate that this type of network analysis could significantly improve individual risk prognoses," says André Schmidt, who led the project. "Future longitudinal studies with larger samples are now needed to validate the prognostic accuracy of this measurement."

Explore further: Study draws links between physical characteristics, like age and body mass index, and brain health

More information: JAMA Psychiatry (2018). DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.0391

Related Stories

Study draws links between physical characteristics, like age and body mass index, and brain health

March 7, 2018
March 7, 2018)—Mount Sinai researchers have shown, for the first time, the complex web of links between physical and behavioral characteristics, like age, body mass index (BMI), and substance use, and specific patterns ...

Antioxidants and amino acids could play role in the treatment of psychosis

March 22, 2018
A scientific paper has revealed that some nutrients found in food may help reduce the symptoms of psychotic illness, when used in the early stages of treatment.

Autism traits increase thoughts of suicide in people with psychosis

December 14, 2017
People with autism traits who have psychosis are at a greater risk of depression and thoughts of suicide, new research has found.

Speech analysis software predicted psychosis in at-risk patients with up to 83 percent accuracy

January 22, 2018
Computer-based analyses of speech transcripts obtained from interviews with at-risk youths were able to predict which youths would later develop psy-chosis within two years, with an accuracy of up to 83 percent. In two independent ...

People with psychotic-like experiences spend less time in healthy brain states

November 1, 2017
Healthy people experiencing subtle symptoms observed in psychotic disorders, such as hallucinations and delusions, have altered brain dynamics, according to a new study published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience ...

Uncertainty leads to treatment delays for young people with mental illness

March 7, 2018
Stigmas, attitudes of self-reliance and misattributing symptoms led a group of young adults experiencing their first episode of psychosis to delay seeking treatment, finds a new study from the Brown School at Washington University ...

Recommended for you

People are more honest when using a foreign tongue, research finds

August 17, 2018
New UChicago-led research suggests that someone who speaks in a foreign language is probably more credible than the average native speaker.

FDA approves brain stimulation device for OCD

August 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—A brain stimulation device to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has received approval for marketing Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

16 going on 66: Will you be the same person 50 years from now?

August 17, 2018
How much do you change between high school and retirement? The answer depends on whether you're comparing yourself to others or to your younger self.

Research eyes role of stress in mental illnesses

August 17, 2018
We all face stress in our lives. Even researchers seeking to understand why some people shrug it off while others face battles against disorders like depression or PTSD.

It's okay when you're not okay: Study re-evaluates resilience in adults

August 16, 2018
Adversity is part of life: Loved ones die. Soldiers deploy to war. Patients receive terminal diagnoses.

Men and women show surprising differences in seeing motion

August 16, 2018
Researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on August 16 have found an unexpected difference between men and women. On average, their studies show, men pick up on visual motion significantly faster than women do.

0 comments

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.