July 24, 2006

Young Adults at Schizophrenia Risk show Brain Activation Changes

In a new study published in Schizophrenia Research this month, it was suggested that functional MRI scans show show quantifiable changes in brain activation patterns amoung teens and young adults at genetic risk for schizophrenia.

The research team stated that this finding "supports a physiological difference in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (see this image and this image for more information) in adolescents at genetic risk for schizophrenia, independent of psychosis."

They also suggested that measurements of such a trait could be useful both as an early marker of schizophrenia, for use in prevention, and in clarifying the mechanisms underlying the disorder.

The discovery was based on a study of 21 non-psychotic unmedicated individuals aged 13–28 years, all of whom had a first-degree relative with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. This group of people is known to have a higher genetic risk for the illness, sharing on average 50% of genes with their ill relatives.

Larry Seidman (of Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) and other researchers compared the groups using neuropsychological tests as well as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while participants performed working memory and what are called "control vigilance tasks".

Their results showed a number of psychological and physiological differences between those at increased risk of schizophrenia and healthy controls.

For instance, at-risk individuals were significantly impaired on tests of auditory working memory, showed significantly higher levels of phobic anxiety, and marginally higher levels of psychoticism compared with controls.

Source: Altered brain activation in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in adolescents and young adults at genetic risk for schizophrenia: An fMRI study of working memory.
Schizophrenia Research, Volume 85, Issue 1-3, Pages 58-72

New Related Information (November, 2007):

Omega-3 Fish Oils Tested as Preventative Approach to Schizophrenia, with Positive Results

Blood Pressure Drug May be a "Vaccine" for Mental Illness and Minimize Brain Damage

Cognitive Therapy May Prevent High Risk Populations From Developing Psychosis

Early Treatment with Antidepressants May Prevent Schizophrenia

Preventing Schizophrenia - strategies and tactics for risk reduction


this is a really good site i am doing a speech on this and i got a lot of info

Posted by: Alise at May 22, 2007 09:06 AM

is it possible that we develop schizophrenia without genetic predisposition?

Posted by: ma dolores at February 20, 2008 11:55 PM

Yes, it is possible that a person could develop schizophrenia without an apparent gene abnormality, although exactly how this could occur is not clear. There are many risks factors associated with schizophrenia that are not necessarily related to genetic predisposition, such as birth complications, etc. However, it is likely even in these instances that there is a genetic component

Posted by: Jeremy at June 5, 2008 12:29 AM

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