Monday, June 8, 2015

Study Identifies Symptom Profile That Can More Accurately Predict Conversion to Psychosis

Using a profile consisting of four symptoms—disorganized communication, suspiciousness, verbal memory deficits, and declining social functioning—can greatly improve the ability to predict future psychosis in some high-risk individuals, according to a study published June 5 in AJP in Advance.

Currently a person is considered to be at high risk of developing psychosis if they show one or more attenuated (not intense or severe) positive symptoms, such as unusual thoughts, delusions of grandeur, or disorganized communication.

However, as highlighted in this study, this classification does not offer a high predictive value; the authors followed 101 at-risk adolescents—based on the presence of attenuated symptoms—over a five-year period and found that only 28% of them converted to psychosis.

In more closely examining the social and cognitive symptoms of this group, along with 68 non-risk adolescents who served as controls, the authors did identify four variables (communication, suspiciousness, verbal memory, and social functioning) that were strongly associated with conversion risk. A model based on these variables could predict future psychosis with an accuracy of 81.8%.

The study authors did note their study group was fairly homogenous and only considered people with attenuated symptoms, so this profile may not apply to all at-risk individuals, such as those who may have no observable symptoms but genetic risk factors.

To read about a new study that may also help predict which patients will respond to antipsychotic medications, see the AJP in Advance study, "Early Improvement As a Predictor of Later Response to Antipsychotics in Schizophrenia: A Diagnostic Test Review," also published June 5.

(Image: shutterstock/Nicram Sabod)


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