A new study published March 21, revealed an early marker of susceptibility to psychosis. Université de Montréal Research Group shows that excessive emotional reaction of the brain is a marker of occurrence of psychotic symptoms in adolescents. These results are consistent with hypotheses about how the disease develops. "The ideas and delusions of persecution psychosis appear when the human tendency to attribute the significance of neutral and non-main events," - explains lead author Dzhozian Burke, a doctoral student of the Faculty of Psychiatry.
This discovery has important implications for early identification of risk groups. "We have found abnormalities in the brain, before psychotic experiences and substance abuse will lead to significant cognitive impairment and require intervention," - said Patricia Conrod, senior author and professor of psychiatry. "It is not yet determined whether it is possible to change the excessive emotional activity in the non-specific signals in adolescents, and whether such modifications to help young people at risk," - says Conrod.
The researchers watched the teenagers of 14-16 years. They measured brain activity at different tasks to evaluate the sensitivity to rewards, brake control and processing process emotions. In addition, participants completed questionnaires on various psychiatric symptoms. At first, scientists working with the age group of 14 years, which has already announced random psychic experiences. Then, using a machine learning approach, tested, predicted whether these brain characteristics emergence of future psychotic symptoms in young people aged 16 years.
Research shows that the susceptibility to psychosis can be detected in early adolescence, which is useful in terms of prevention. "Since the onset of psychosis usually begins in adulthood, early detection of susceptibility to psychosis provides clinicians with time to intervene in the behavior and the key processes, - says Conrod -. Our team hopes that the research will help to develop new intervention strategies for at-risk youth, before the symptoms become clinically significant. "