Psychosis Development Linked to Multiple Brain Changes
Researchers have recently identified specific changes in the brains of adolescents that are linked to development of psychosis. The adolescents who were studied were deemed to be at "ultra high risk" of developing schizophrenia due to genetic risk; level of functioning in school, work or social situations; and early signs of psychotic symptoms. The high-risk adolescents were studied for two years and compared with controls subjects. The researchers, affiliated with the Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience at the University Medical Center in Utrecht, the Netherlands, said their findings "suggest that the development of psychosis is related to modest, but detectable, changes in grey matter and white matter over time." Of the 43 adolescents at ultra high risk of psychosis, eight became psychotic. These individuals showed "a smaller increase in cerebral white matter over time and more cortical thinning in the left middle temporal gyrus than was found in control subjects." The researchers eliminated use of antipsychotic medications as a cause of the brain changes.