Abnormalities in the brain are present before the onset of schizophrenia
A new study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, which was led by Yale University, has revealed that irregularities in important parts of the brain are already evident in individuals that have a greater risk of developing schizophrenia.
The study was conducted on an international basis, at numerous sites, over a period of two years.
Researchers mapped the whole-brain functional connectivity of 243 people that had experienced early signs of developing the condition, while 154 subjects with ‘normal’ brain function were also studied as a comparison.
A decrease in functional connectivity was identified between the thalamus and prefrontal cortex regions of the brain among those in the first and larger group, and it was especially noticeable among the individuals who later developed full psychosis.
Professor of psychology and one of the lead authors of the study – Dr Tyrone Cannon – said that additional research is needed to confirm the link as a cause of schizophrenia.
However, he noted that the study’s results are consistent with current theories.
Alan Anticevic, assistant professor of psychiatry and co-author of the paper said: “Up until this study, we did not know whether this pattern was a result of the disease or a potential byproduct of medication or some other factor.
“We show these same abnormalities already exist in people who are at higher risk for developing psychosis.”