Studying children experiencing psychotic symptoms provides a unique opportunity to examine the vulnerability to psychosis within the context of development. Using neuroimaging techniques this study investigated cognitive control functions, brain volumetrics and white matter integrity in an at-risk cohort of children. Between-subjects assessment of brain function and structure among 11 school-going, non-treatment seeking children aged 11-13 who were at symptomatic risk for psychosis (AR) and 14 healthy control children aged 11-12 without subclinical psychotic symptoms (CON). MRI assessments included functional measures of response inhibition and error-related processes, whole brain voxel-based morphometry (VBM) of gray matter (GM) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) utilizing fractional anisotropy to probe white matter (WM) integrity. fMRI results showed reduced activity in the AR group within right frontal and bilateral temporal cortex for response inhibition and reduced activity within the anterior cingulate, insula and middle frontal gyrus for error-related processing (p<.05, corrected). VBM analysis revealed GM increases in the AR group within middle and superior temporal gyri, angular gyrus, orbitofrontal gyrus and GM decrease within the inferior temporal gyrus (p<.05, corrected). DTI analysis identified WM decreases in the AR group along the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, cingulum and inferior longitudinal fasciculus (p<.05, corrected). This multimodal investigation revealed aberrant prefrontal-temporal dysfunction in addition to cingulate and insular dysfunctions which provide potential early neurocognitive risk markers related to the susceptibility for developing psychosis and subsequently the neurodevelopmental trajectory leading to schizophrenia.
Trinity College Dublin ->