Structural brain alterations in high-risk patients included in a prevention of psychosis study in Norway

Jens Gisselgård1, Alexander Lebedev2, Inge Joa1, Jan Olav Johannessen1, Kathinka Daehli Kurz1, Kolbjørn Brønnick1; 1Stavanger University Hospital, 2Karolinska Institute

Most patients developing psychotic disorders experience a relatively long period with non-psychotic symptoms before their first episode characterized by unspecific- and more specific symptom constellations (prodrome). At the onset of psychosis, many have already experienced a loss of cognitive- and psychosocial functioning. It has been shown that at-risk individuals can be identified several years before the onset of psychosis. The present study builds on experiences from the Early Detection and Intervention in Psychosis (TIPS) study in Norway, where the use of information campaigns and detection teams were instrumental in reducing the duration of untreated psychotic symptoms in the first episode. The subjects were included in a similar program aimed at identifying and treating help-seeking individuals at high risk for developing psychotic disorders. Subjects met diagnostic criteria for prodromal syndrome SIPS criteria and, importantly, did not use any antipsychotic medication. 33 high-risk individuals and 33 control subjects matched for age and gender were investigated by structural MRI. Surface-based cortical thickness measures were obtained using the FreeSurfer software. As compared to matched controls, high-risk individuals showed significant grey matter reductions in superior frontal, inferior/superior temporal and insular brain areas. This is in line with previous findings on high-risk patients and compatible with structural findings in the clinically apparent disease of schizophrenia. Prospective longitudinal follow-up research in our sample will be carried out to evaluate possible structural biomarkers that indicate a subsequent transition to psychosis.

Topic Area: Neuroimaging

Back to Poster Schedule