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WORLD UNIVERSITY DIRECTORY is the one and only largest database of world educational institutions with geo data viz Longitude, Latitude, UTM, GPS, Lombard projection, map, etc, thereby enabling the browsers to know to distance between the searched University and the browsers.

CONFERENCE section lists the conferences that are to take place around the world.

WORLD UNIVERSITY DIRECTORY has the World's largest online database of universities, polytechnics, colleges, schools and online universities across globe. Discover the complete list of universities, and other educational institutions available in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, rest of the world and online.

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1Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro     
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Category: University
Brazil
South America, America
2Brock University     
Brock University
Category: University
Canada
North America, America
3Kuwait University      
Kuwait University
Category: University
Kuwait
Middle East , Asia
4Universite Bordeaux 1     
Universite Bordeaux 1
Category: University
France
Western Europe, Europe
5Australian National University     
Australian National University
Category: University
Australia
Australia and New Zealand, Oceanic
6RMIT University     
RMIT University
Category: University
Australia
Australia and New Zealand, Oceanic
7University of Cambridge     
University of Cambridge
Category: University
United Kingdom
Northern Europe, Europe
8University of Oxford     
University of Oxford
Category: University
United Kingdom
Northern Europe, Europe
9Stanford University    
Stanford University
Category: University
United States
North America, America
10Harvard University    
Harvard University
Category: University
United States
North America, America
11Massey University    
Massey University
Category: University
New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand, Oceanic
12University of Auckland    
University of Auckland
Category: University
New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand, Oceanic

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Hourly News Update -
Schizophrenia Bulletin - recent issues

Schizophrenia Bulletin - RSS feed of recent issues (covers the latest 3 issues, including the current issue)

Four-Year Follow-up of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Persons at Ultra-High Risk for Developing Psychosis: The Dutch Early Detection Intervention Evaluation (EDIE-NL) Trial

Background:

Previously, we demonstrated that cognitive behavior therapy for ultra-high risk (called CBTuhr) halved the incidence of psychosis over an 18-month period. Follow-up data from the same study are used to evaluate the longer-term effects at 4 years post-baseline.

Method:

The Dutch Early Detection and Intervention Evaluation study was a randomized controlled trial of 196 UHR patients comparing CBTuhr with treatment-as-usual (TAU) for comorbid disorders with TAU only. Of the original 196 patients, 113 consented to a 4-year follow-up (57.7%; CBTuhr = 56 vs TAU = 57). Over the study period, psychosis incidence, remission from UHR status, and the effects of transition to psychosis were evaluated.

Results:

The number of participants in the CBTuhr group making the transition to psychosis increased from 10 at 18-month follow-up to 12 at 4-year follow-up whereas it did not change in the TAU group (n = 22); this still represents a clinically important (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 12/22 = 0.55) and significant effect (F(1,5) = 8.09, P = .03), favoring CBTuhr. The odds ratio of CBTuhr compared to TAU was 0.44 (95% CI: 0.24–0.82) and the number needed to treat was 8. Moreover, significantly more patients remitted from their UHR status in the CBTuhr group (76.3%) compared with the TAU group (58.7%) [t(120) = 2.08, P = .04]. Importantly, transition to psychosis was associated with more severe psychopathology and social functioning at 4-year follow-up.

Conclusions:

CBTuhr to prevent a first episode of psychosis in persons at UHR of developing psychosis is still effective at 4-year follow-up. Our data also show that individuals meeting the formal criteria of a psychotic disorder have worse functional and social outcomes compared with non-transitioned cases. Trial registration: The trial is registered at Current Controlled Trials as trial number ISRCTN21353122 (http://controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN21353122/gaag).

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Hyperdeactivation of the Default Mode Network in People With Schizophrenia When Focusing Attention in Space

When studying selective attention in people with schizophrenia (PSZ), a counterintuitive but replicated finding has been that PSZ display larger performance benefits than healthy control subjects (HCS) by cues that predicts the location of a target stimulus relative to non-predictive cues. Possible explanations are that PSZ hyperfocus attention in response to predictive cues, or that an inability to maintain a broad attentional window impairs performance when the cue is non-predictive. Over-recruitment of regions involved in top-down focusing of spatial attention in response to predictive cues would support the former possibility, and an inappropriate recruitment of these regions in response to non-predictive cues the latter. We probed regions of the dorsal attention network while PSZ (N = 20) and HCS (N = 20) performed a visuospatial attention task. A central cue either predicted at which of 4 peripheral locations a target signal would appear, or it gave no information about the target location. As observed previously, PSZ displayed a larger reaction time difference between predictive and non-predictive cue trials than HCS. Activity in frontoparietal and occipital regions was greater for predictive than non-predictive cues. This effect was almost identical between PSZ and HCS. There was no sign of over-recruitment when the cue was predictive, or of inappropriate recruitment when the cue was non-predictive. However, PSZ differed from HCS in their cue-dependent deactivation of the default mode network. Unexpectedly, PSZ displayed significantly greater deactivation than HCS in predictive cue trials, which may reflect a tendency to expend more processing resources when focusing attention in space.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Genetic Variation in Schizophrenia Liability is Shared With Intellectual Ability and Brain Structure

Background:

Alterations in intellectual ability and brain structure are important genetic markers for schizophrenia liability. How variations in these phenotypes interact with variance in schizophrenia liability due to genetic or environmental factors is an area of active investigation. Studying these genetic markers using a multivariate twin modeling approach can provide novel leads for (genetic) pathways of schizophrenia development.

Methods:

In a sample of 70 twins discordant for schizophrenia and 130 healthy control twins, structural equation modeling was applied to quantify unique contributions of genetic and environmental factors on human brain structure (cortical thickness, cortical surface and global white matter fractional anisotropy [FA]), intellectual ability and schizophrenia liability.

Results:

In total, up to 28.1% of the genetic variance (22.8% of total variance) in schizophrenia liability was shared with intelligence quotient (IQ), global-FA, cortical thickness, and cortical surface. The strongest contributor was IQ, sharing on average 16.4% of the genetic variance in schizophrenia liability, followed by cortical thickness (6.3%), global-FA (4.7%) and cortical surface (0.5%). Furthermore, we found that up to 57.4% of the variation due to environmental factors (4.6% of total variance) in schizophrenia was shared with IQ (34.2%) and cortical surface (13.4%).

Conclusions:

Intellectual ability, FA and cortical thickness show significant and independent shared genetic variance with schizophrenia liability. This suggests that measuring brain-imaging phenotypes helps explain genetic variance in schizophrenia liability that is not captured by variation in IQ.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Erratum

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Chronic Peripheral Inflammation is Associated With Cognitive Impairment in Schizophrenia: Results From the Multicentric FACE-SZ Dataset

Objectives:

Inflammation, measured by abnormal blood C-reactive protein (CRP) level, has been described in schizophrenia (SZ), being inconsistently related to impaired cognitive functions. The aim of the present study is to investigate cognitive impairment associated with abnormal CRP levels in a large multi-centric sample of community-dwelling SZ patients, using a comprehensive neuropsychological battery.

Method:

Three hundred sixty-nine community-dwelling stable SZ subjects (76.2% men, mean age 32.7 y) were included and tested with a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests. Abnormal CRP level was defined as >3mg/L.

Results:

Multiple factor analysis revealed that abnormal CRP levels, found in 104 patients (28.2%), were associated with impaired General Intellectual Ability and Abstract Reasoning (aOR = 0.56, 95% CI 0.35–0.90, P = .014), independently of age, sex, education level, psychotic symptomatology, treatments, and addiction comorbidities. Abnormal CRP levels were also associated with the decline of all components of working memory (respectively effect size [ES] = 0.25, P = .033; ES = 0.27, P = .04; ES = 0.33, P = .006; and ES = 0.38, P = .004) and a wide range of other impaired cognitive functions, including memory (ES = 0.26, P = .026), learning abilities (ES = 0.28, P = .035), semantic memory (ES = 0.26, P = .026), mental flexibility (ES = 0.26, P = .044), visual attention (ES = 0.23, P = .004) and speed of processing (ES = 0.23, P = .043).

Conclusion:

Our results suggest that abnormal CRP level is associated with cognitive impairment in SZ. Evaluating the effectiveness of neuroprotective anti-inflammatory strategies is needed in order to prevent cognitive impairment in SZ.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Erratum

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Dietary Fructose and GLUT5 Transporter Activity Contribute to Antipsychotic-Induced Weight Gain

Receptors for antipsychotics in the hypothalamus contribute to antipsychotics-induced weight gain; however, many of these receptors are also expressed in the intestine. The role of these intestinally-expressed receptors, and their potential modulation of nutrient absorption, have not been investigated in the context of antipsychotics-induced weight gain. Here we tested the effect of dietary fructose and intestinal fructose uptake on clozapine-induced weight gain in mice. Weight gain was determined in wild type mice and mice lacking the GLUT5 fructose transporter that were "orally-administered" 20mg/kg clozapine for 28 days. To assess the role of dietary fructose, clozapine-treated mice were fed controlled diets with different levels of fructose. Effect of clozapine treatment on intestinal fructose transport activity and expression levels of various receptors that bind clozapine, as well as several genes involved in gluconeogenesis and lipogenesis were measured using real-time RT-PCR and western blotting. Oral administration of clozapine significantly increased body weight in wild type C57BL/6 mice but not in GLUT5 null mice. The clozapine-induced weight gain was proportional to the percentage of fructose in the diet. Clozapine-treated mice increased intestinal fructose uptake without changing the intestinal expression level of GLUT5. Clozapine-treated mice expressed significantly higher levels of intestinal H1 histamine receptor in the wild type but not GLUT5 null mice. Clozapine also increased the intestinal expression of fructokinase and several genes involved in gluconeogenesis and lipogenesis. Our results suggest that increased intestinal absorption and metabolism of fructose contributes to clozapine-induced weight gain. Eliminating dietary fructose might prevent antipsychotics-induced weight gain.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Meta-analysis of the Association Between the Level of Cannabis Use and Risk of Psychosis

Cannabis use has been reported to induce long-lasting psychotic disorders and a dose-response relationship has been observed. We performed a systematic review of studies that investigate the association between the degree of cannabis consumption and psychosis and a meta-analysis to quantify the magnitude of effect. Published studies were identified through search of electronic databases, supplemented by manual searches of bibliographies. Studies were considered if they provided data on cannabis consumption prior to the onset of psychosis using a dose criterion (frequency/amount used) and reported psychosis-related outcomes. We performed random effects meta-analysis of individual data points generated with a simulation method from the summary data of the original studies. From 571 references, 18 studies fulfilled inclusion criteria for the systematic review and 10 were inserted in the meta-analysis, enrolling a total of 66 816 individuals. Higher levels of cannabis use were associated with increased risk for psychosis in all the included studies. A logistic regression model gave an OR of 3.90 (95% CI 2.84 to 5.34) for the risk of schizophrenia and other psychosis-related outcomes among the heaviest cannabis users compared to the nonusers. Current evidence shows that high levels of cannabis use increase the risk of psychotic outcomes and confirms a dose-response relationship between the level of use and the risk for psychosis. Although a causal link cannot be unequivocally established, there is sufficient evidence to justify harm reduction prevention programs.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Awareness of Pre-diabetes or Diabetes and Associated Factors in People With Psychosis

Objective: To estimate awareness of pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes and associated factors in people with psychosis, a known high-risk group. Methods: Cross sectional analysis of a national sample with psychosis who were aged 18–64 years, gave a fasting blood sample (n = 1155), had pre-diabetes or diabetes based on testing (n = 359) and reported if they knew they had high blood sugar or diabetes at survey (n = 356). Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with awareness of pre-diabetes or diabetes prior to testing. Results: The prevalence of pre-diabetes (19.0% 219/1153) or type 2 diabetes (12.1%, 140/1153) was 31.1% (359/1153); 45% (160/356) were known prior to testing. Factors associated with detection were higher fasting blood glucose, older age, a perception of poor health, severe obesity, dyslipidaemia or treatment with a lipid regulating drug, a family history of diabetes, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, decreased cognitive functioning, regional economic disadvantage, treatment with an antihypertensive drug, and an elevated 5-year risk for cardiovascular disease. The prevalence of undiagnosed pre-diabetes/diabetes was highest in those aged 25–34 years at 34.2%. Conclusions: Clinical detection of pre-diabetes or diabetes in people with psychosis was strongly dependent on established risk factors for type 2 diabetes in the population but not on current antipsychotic drug treatment or psychiatric case management which should ensure regular screening. Screening must become a clinical priority and should not wait until age 40.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Reduced Frontoparietal Activity in Schizophrenia Is Linked to a Specific Deficit in Goal Maintenance: A Multisite Functional Imaging Study

Patients with schizophrenia (SZ) previously demonstrated specific deficits in an executive function known as goal maintenance, associated with reduced middle frontal gyrus (MFG) activity. This study aimed to validate a new tool—the Dot Pattern Expectancy (DPX) task—developed to facilitate multisite imaging studies of goal maintenance deficits in SZ or other disorders. Additionally, it sought to arrive at recommendations for scan length for future studies using the DPX. Forty-seven SZ and 56 healthy controls (HC) performed the DPX in 3-Tesla functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners at 5 sites. Group differences in DPX-related activity were examined with whole brain voxelwise analyses. SZs showed the hypothesized specific performance deficits with as little as 1 block of data. Reduced activity in SZ compared with HC was observed in bilateral frontal pole/MFG, as well as left posterior parietal lobe. Efficiency analyses found significant group differences in activity using 18 minutes of scan data but not 12 minutes. Several behavioral and imaging findings from the goal maintenance literature were robustly replicated despite the use of different scanners at different sites. We did not replicate a previous correlation with disorganization symptoms among patients. Results were consistent with an executive/attention network dysfunction in the higher levels of a cascading executive system responsible for goal maintenance. Finally, efficiency analyses found that 18 minutes of scanning during the DPX task is sufficient to detect group differences with a similar sample size.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Functional Capacity Assessed by the Map Task in Individuals at Clinical High-Risk for Psychosis

Objectives:

Recent studies have recognized that signs of functional disability in schizophrenia are evident in early phases of the disorder, and, as a result, can potentially serve as vulnerability markers of future illness. However, functional measures in the psychosis prodrome have focused exclusively on real-world achievements, rather than on the skills required to carry-out a particular real-world function (ie, capacity). Despite growing evidence that diminished capacity is critical to the etiology of the established disorder, virtually no attention has been directed towards assessing functional capacity in the pre-illness stages. In the present study, we introduce the Map task, a measure to assess functional capacity in adolescent and young-adult high-risk populations.

Methods:

The Map task was administered to 609 subjects at Clinical High-Risk (CHR) for psychosis and 242 Healthy Controls (HCs) participating in the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study (NAPLS2). Subjects were required to efficiently complete a set of specified errands in a fictional town.

Results:

CHR participants showed large impairments across major indices of the Map task, relative to the HCs. Most importantly, poor performance on the Map task significantly predicted conversion to psychosis, even after adjusting for age, IQ, clinical state, and other potential confounders.

Conclusions:

To the best of our knowledge, the Map task is one of the first laboratory-based measures to assess functional capacity in high-risk populations. Functional capacity deficits prior to the onset of psychosis may reflect a basic mechanism that underlies risk for psychosis. Early intervention targeting this domain may help to offset risk and independently improve long-term outcome.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Prefrontal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for Treatment of Schizophrenia With Predominant Negative Symptoms: A Double-Blind, Sham-Controlled Proof-of-Concept Study

Negative symptoms are highly relevant in the long-term course of schizophrenia and are an important target domain for the development of novel interventions. Recently, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the prefrontal cortex has been investigated as a treatment option in schizophrenia. In this proof-of-concept study, 20 schizophrenia patients with predominantly negative symptoms were randomized to either 10 sessions of add-on active (2 mA, 20min) or sham tDCS (anode: left DLPFC/F3; cathode: right supraorbital/F4). Primary outcome measure was the change in the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS) sum score; secondary outcomes included reduction in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) scores and improvement of depressive symptoms, cognitive processing speed, and executive functioning. Sixteen patients underwent 4 functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) scans (pre and post 1st and pre and post 10th tDCS) to investigate changes in resting state network connectivity after tDCS. Per-protocol analysis showed a significantly greater decrease in SANS score after active (–36.1%) than after sham tDCS (–0.7%). PANSS sum scores decreased significantly more with active (–23.4%) than with sham stimulation (–2.2%). Explorative analysis of fcMRI data indicated changes in subgenual cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) connectivity within frontal-thalamic-temporo-parietal networks. The results of this first proof-of-concept study indicate that prefrontal tDCS may be a promising intervention for treatment of schizophrenia with predominant negative symptoms. Large-scale randomized controlled studies are needed to further establish prefrontal tDCS as novel treatment for negative symptoms in schizophrenia.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Disruptions of Sleep/Wake Patterns in the Stable Tubule Only Polypeptide (STOP) Null Mouse Model of Schizophrenia

Disruption of sleep/wake cycles is common in patients with schizophrenia and correlates with cognitive and affective abnormalities. Mice deficient in stable tubule only polypeptide (STOP) show cognitive, behavioral, and neurobiological deficits that resemble those seen in patients with schizophrenia, but little is known about their sleep phenotype. We characterized baseline sleep/wake patterns and recovery sleep following sleep deprivation in STOP null mice. Polysomnography was conducted in adult male STOP null and wild-type (WT) mice under a 12:12 hours light:dark cycle before, during, and after 6 hours of sleep deprivation during the light phase. At baseline, STOP null mice spent more time awake and less time in non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREMS) over a 24-hour period, with more frequent transitions between wake and NREMS, compared to WT mice, especially during the dark phase. The distributions of wake, NREMS and REMS across the light and the dark phases differed by genotype, and so did features of the electroencephalogram (EEG). Following sleep deprivation, both genotypes showed homeostatic increases in sleep duration, with no significant genotype differences in the initial compensatory increase in sleep intensity (EEG delta power). These results indicate that STOP null mice sleep less overall, and their sleep and wake periods are more fragmented than those of WT mice. These features in STOP null mice are consistent with the sleep patterns observed in patients with schizophrenia.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Auditory Hallucinations and the Brains Resting-State Networks: Findings and Methodological Observations

In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the potential for alterations to the brain’s resting-state networks (RSNs) to explain various kinds of psychopathology. RSNs provide an intriguing new explanatory framework for hallucinations, which can occur in different modalities and population groups, but which remain poorly understood. This collaboration from the International Consortium on Hallucination Research (ICHR) reports on the evidence linking resting-state alterations to auditory hallucinations (AH) and provides a critical appraisal of the methodological approaches used in this area. In the report, we describe findings from resting connectivity fMRI in AH (in schizophrenia and nonclinical individuals) and compare them with findings from neurophysiological research, structural MRI, and research on visual hallucinations (VH). In AH, various studies show resting connectivity differences in left-hemisphere auditory and language regions, as well as atypical interaction of the default mode network and RSNs linked to cognitive control and salience. As the latter are also evident in studies of VH, this points to a domain-general mechanism for hallucinations alongside modality-specific changes to RSNs in different sensory regions. However, we also observed high methodological heterogeneity in the current literature, affecting the ability to make clear comparisons between studies. To address this, we provide some methodological recommendations and options for future research on the resting state and hallucinations.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Genetic Polymorphism Associated Prefrontal Glutathione and Its Coupling With Brain Glutamate and Peripheral Redox Status in Early Psychosis

Background:

Oxidative stress and glutathione (GSH) metabolism dysregulation has been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. GAG-trinucleotide repeat (TNR) polymorphisms in the glutamate-cysteine ligase catalytic gene (GCLC), the rate-limiting enzyme for GSH synthesis, are associated with schizophrenia. In addition, GSH may serve as a reserve pool for neuronal glutamate (Glu) through the -glutamyl cycle. The aim of this study is to investigate brain [GSH] and its association with GCLC polymorphism, peripheral redox indices and brain Glu.

Methods:

Magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to measure [GSH] and [Glu] in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of 25 early-psychosis patients and 33 controls. GCLC polymorphism was genotyped, glutathione peroxidases (GPx) and glutathione reductase (GR) activities were determined in blood cells.

Results:

Significantly lower [GSHmPFC] in GCLC high-risk genotype subjects were revealed as compared to low-risk genotype subjects independent of disease status. In male subjects, [GSHmPFC] and blood GPx activities correlate positively in controls (P = .021), but negatively in patients (P = .039). In GCLC low-risk genotypes, [GlumPFC] are lower in patients, while it is not the case for high-risk genotypes.

Conclusions:

GCLC high-risk genotypes are associated with low [GSHmPFC], highlighting that GCLC polymorphisms should be considered in pathology studies of cerebral GSH. Low brain GSH levels are related to low peripheral oxidation status in controls but with high oxidation status in patients, pointing to a dysregulated GSH homeostasis in early psychosis patients. GCLC polymorphisms and disease associated correlations between brain GSH and Glu levels may allow patients stratification.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Are Hallucinations Due to an Imbalance Between Excitatory and Inhibitory Influences on the Brain?

This review from the International Consortium on Hallucinations Research intends to question the pertinence of the excitatory-to-inhibitory (E/I) imbalance hypothesis as a model for hallucinations. A large number of studies suggest that subtle impairments of the E/I balance are involved in neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia. Emerging evidence also points to a role of the E/I balance in maintaining stable perceptual representations, suggesting it may be a plausible model for hallucinations. In support, hallucinations have been linked to inhibitory deficits as shown with impairment of gamma-aminobutyric acid transmission, N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor plasticity, reductions in gamma-frequency oscillations, hyperactivity in sensory cortices, and cognitive inhibition deficits. However, the mechanisms by which E/I dysfunctions at the cellular level might relate to clinical symptoms and cognitive deficits remain unclear. Given recent data advances in the field of clinical neuroscience, it is now possible to conduct a synthesis of available data specifically related to hallucinations. These findings are integrated with the latest computational frameworks of hallucinations, and recommendations for future research are provided.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Disturbances of the Basic Self and Prodromal Symptoms Among Young Adolescents From the Community: A Pilot Population-Based Study

Background and Goal:

Recent findings have provided preliminary support for the notion that basic self-disturbances (SD) are related to prodromal symptoms among nonpsychotic help-seeking adolescents. As a sizable proportion of adolescents who are at risk do not seek help, this study attempts to assess the extent to which these findings can be generalized to the entire population of adolescents who are at risk for psychosis.

Method:

The concurrent relationship between SD and prodromal symptoms was explored in a sample of 100 non-help-seeking adolescents (age 13–15) from the community. SD were assessed with the Examination of Anomalous Self-Experience (EASE); prodromal symptoms and syndromes were assessed with the Structured Interview for Prodromal Syndromes (SIPS); psychosocial functioning was assessed with the "Social and Role Global Functioning Scales"; and level of distress with the Mood and Anxiety States Questionnaire (MASQ).

Results:

SD significantly correlated with sub-clinical psychotic symptoms (r = .70, P < .0001). This correlation was significantly stronger than those of SD with mood symptoms and social functioning. Finally, SD was the single best concurrent predictor of prodromal symptoms and syndromes.

Conclusions:

These results provide preliminary support for the generalizability of the association between SD and prodromal symptoms for the entire population of adolescents who are clinically at high risk for psychosis. In addition, they further support the notion that this association is both specific and unique.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Differential Patterns of Dysconnectivity in Mirror Neuron and Mentalizing Networks in Schizophrenia

Impairments of social cognition are well documented in patients with schizophrenia (SCZ), but the neural basis remains poorly understood. In light of evidence that suggests that the "mirror neuron system" (MNS) and the "mentalizing network" (MENT) are key substrates of intersubjectivity and joint action, it has been suggested that dysfunction of these neural networks may underlie social difficulties in SCZ patients. Additionally, MNS and MENT might be associated differently with positive vs negative symptoms, given prior social cognitive and symptom associations. We assessed resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) in meta-analytically defined MNS and MENT networks in this patient group. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were obtained from 116 patients and 133 age-, gender- and movement-matched healthy controls (HC) at 5 different MRI sites. Network connectivity was analyzed for group differences and correlations with clinical symptoms. Results demonstrated decreased connectivity within the MNS and also the MENT in patients compared to controls. Notably, dysconnectivity of the MNS was related to symptom severity, while no such relationship was observed for the MENT. In sum, these findings demonstrate that differential patterns of dysconnectivity exist in SCZ patients, which may contribute differently to the interpersonal difficulties commonly observed in the disorder.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Genome-Wide Association Studies Suggest Limited Immune Gene Enrichment in Schizophrenia Compared to 5 Autoimmune Diseases

There has been intense debate over the immunological basis of schizophrenia, and the potential utility of adjunct immunotherapies. The major histocompatibility complex is consistently the most powerful region of association in genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of schizophrenia and has been interpreted as strong genetic evidence supporting the immune hypothesis. However, global pathway analyses provide inconsistent evidence of immune involvement in schizophrenia, and it remains unclear whether genetic data support an immune etiology per se. Here we empirically test the hypothesis that variation in immune genes contributes to schizophrenia. We show that there is no enrichment of immune loci outside of the MHC region in the largest genetic study of schizophrenia conducted to date, in contrast to 5 diseases of known immune origin. Among 108 regions of the genome previously associated with schizophrenia, we identify 6 immune candidates (DPP4, HSPD1, EGR1, CLU, ESAM, NFATC3) encoding proteins with alternative, nonimmune roles in the brain. While our findings do not refute evidence that has accumulated in support of the immune hypothesis, they suggest that genetically mediated alterations in immune function may not play a major role in schizophrenia susceptibility. Instead, there may be a role for pleiotropic effects of a small number of immune genes that also regulate brain development and plasticity. Whether immune alterations drive schizophrenia progression is an important question to be addressed by future research, especially in light of the growing interest in applying immunotherapies in schizophrenia.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

The "Insight Paradox" in Schizophrenia: Magnitude, Moderators and Mediators of the Association Between Insight and Depression

The so-called "insight paradox" posits that among patients with schizophrenia higher levels of insight are associated with increased levels of depression. Although different studies examined this issue, only few took in account potential confounders or factors that could influence this association. In a sample of clinically stable patients with schizophrenia, insight and depression were evaluated using the Scale to assess Unawareness of Mental Disorder and the Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia. Other rating scales were used to assess the severity of psychotic symptoms, extrapyramidal symptoms, hopelessness, internalized stigma, self-esteem, and service engagement. Regression models were used to estimate the magnitude of the association between insight and depression while accounting for the role of confounders. Putative psychological and sociodemographic factors that could act as mediators and moderators were examined using the PROCESS macro. By accounting for the role of confounding factors, the strength of the association between insight into symptoms and depression increased from 13% to 25% explained covariance. Patients with lower socioeconomic status (F = 8.5, P = .04), more severe illness (F = 4.8, P = .03) and lower levels of service engagement (F = 4.7, P = .03) displayed the strongest association between insight and depression. Lastly, hopelessness, internalized stigma and perceived discrimination acted as significant mediators. The relationship between insight and depression should be considered a well established phenomenon among patients with schizophrenia: it seems stronger than previously reported especially among patients with lower socioeconomic status, severe illness and poor engagement with services. These findings may have relevant implications for the promotion of insight among patients with schizophrenia.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Shared Etiology of Psychotic Experiences and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescence: A Longitudinal Twin Study

Psychotic disorders and major depression, both typically adult-onset conditions, often co-occur. At younger ages psychotic experiences and depressive symptoms are often reported in the community. We used a genetically sensitive longitudinal design to investigate the relationship between psychotic experiences and depressive symptoms in adolescence. A representative community sample of twins from England and Wales was employed. Self-rated depressive symptoms, paranoia, hallucinations, cognitive disorganization, grandiosity, anhedonia, and parent-rated negative symptoms were collected when the twins were age 16 (N = 9618) and again on a representative subsample 9 months later (N = 2873). Direction and aetiology of associations were assessed using genetically informative cross-lagged models. Depressive symptoms were moderately correlated with paranoia, hallucinations, and cognitive disorganization. Lower correlations were observed between depression and anhedonia, and depression and parent-rated negative symptoms. Nonsignificant correlations were observed between depression and grandiosity. Largely the same genetic effects influenced depression and paranoia, depression and hallucinations, and depression and cognitive disorganization. Modest overlap in environmental influences also played a role in the associations. Significant bi-directional longitudinal associations were observed between depression and paranoia. Hallucinations and cognitive disorganization during adolescence were found to impact later depression, even after controlling for earlier levels of depression. Our study shows that psychotic experiences and depression, as traits in the community, have a high genetic overlap in mid-adolescence. Future research should test the prediction stemming from our longitudinal results, namely that reducing or ameliorating positive and cognitive psychotic experiences in adolescence would decrease later depressive symptoms.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

What Is the Link Between Hallucinations, Dreams, and Hypnagogic-Hypnopompic Experiences?

By definition, hallucinations occur only in the full waking state. Yet similarities to sleep-related experiences such as hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations, dreams and parasomnias, have been noted since antiquity. These observations have prompted researchers to suggest a common aetiology for these phenomena based on the neurobiology of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. With our recent understanding of hallucinations in different population groups and at the neurobiological, cognitive and interpersonal levels, it is now possible to draw comparisons between the 2 sets of experiences as never before. In the current article, we make detailed comparisons between sleep-related experiences and hallucinations in Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and eye disease, at the levels of phenomenology (content, sensory modalities involved, perceptual attributes) and of brain function (brain activations, resting-state networks, neurotransmitter action). Findings show that sleep-related experiences share considerable overlap with hallucinations at the level of subjective descriptions and underlying brain mechanisms. Key differences remain however: (1) Sleep-related perceptions are immersive and largely cut off from reality, whereas hallucinations are discrete and overlaid on veridical perceptions; and (2) Sleep-related perceptions involve only a subset of neural networks implicated in hallucinations, reflecting perceptual signals processed in a functionally and cognitively closed-loop circuit. In summary, both phenomena are non-veridical perceptions that share some phenomenological and neural similarities, but insufficient evidence exists to fully support the notion that the majority of hallucinations depend on REM processes or REM intrusions into waking consciousness.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Engaging Research Domain Criteria (RDoC): Neurocircuitry in Search of Meaning

The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative was implemented to reorient the approach to mental health research from one focused on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) nosology to one oriented to psychological constructs constrained by neurocircuitry and molecular entities. The initiative has generated significant discussion and valuable reflection on the moorings of psychiatric research. The purpose of this article is to illustrate how a basic or clinical investigator can engage RDoC to explore the neurobiological underpinnings of psychopathology and how a research question can be formulated in RDoC’s framework. We utilize a brain region with significant growing interest, the habenula, as an example for probing RDoC’s utility. Opportunities to enhance neurocircuitry-psychological construct associations and problems associated with neuronal populations that enable bidirectional circuitry influence are discussed. The exercise reveals areas for further development that could move RDoC from a promising research idea to a successfully engaged foundation for catalyzing clinically relevant discoveries.

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Editorial_Board

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

2016 Wayne Fenton Award for Exceptional Clinical Care

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Relating to a Schizophrenic

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The Journal for Psychoses and Related Disorders

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Cover

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Contents_Page

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Subscriptions

Posted on 17 August 2016 | 10:54 am

Brain Biomarkers of Vulnerability and Progression to Psychosis

Identifying predictors and elucidating the fundamental mechanisms underlying onset of psychosis are critical for the development of targeted preemptive interventions. This article presents a selective review of findings on risk prediction algorithms and potential mechanisms of onset in youth at clinical high-risk for psychosis, focusing principally on recent findings of the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study (NAPLS). Multivariate models incorporating risk factors from clinical, demographic, neurocognitive, and psychosocial assessments achieve high levels of predictive accuracy when applied to individuals who meet criteria for a prodromal risk syndrome. An individualized risk calculator is available to scale the risk for newly ascertained cases, which could aid in clinical decision making. At risk individuals who convert to psychosis show elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines, as well as disrupted resting state thalamo-cortical functional connectivity at baseline, compared with those who do not. Further, converters show a steeper rate of gray matter reduction, most prominent in prefrontal cortex, that in turn is predicted by higher levels of inflammatory markers at baseline. Microglia, resident immune cells in the brain, have recently been discovered to influence synaptic plasticity in health and impair plasticity in disease. Processes that modulate microglial activation may represent convergent mechanisms that influence brain dysconnectivity and risk for onset of psychosis and thus may be targetable in developing and testing preventive interventions.

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Classifying Schizophrenia Using Multimodal Multivariate Pattern Recognition Analysis: Evaluating the Impact of Individual Clinical Profiles on the Neurodiagnostic Performance

Previous studies have shown that structural brain changes are among the best-studied candidate markers for schizophrenia (SZ) along with functional connectivity (FC) alterations of resting-state (RS) patterns. This study aimed to investigate effects of clinical and sociodemographic variables on the classification by applying multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) to both gray matter (GM) volume and FC measures in patients with SZ and healthy controls (HC). RS and structural magnetic resonance imaging data (sMRI) from 74 HC and 71 SZ patients were obtained from a Mind Research Network COBRE dataset available via COINS (http://coins.mrn.org/dx). We used a MVPA framework using support-vector machines embedded in a repeated, nested cross-validation to generate a multi-modal diagnostic system and evaluate its generalizability. The dependence of neurodiagnostic performance on clinical and sociodemographic variables was evaluated. The RS classifier showed a slightly higher accuracy (70.5%) compared to the structural classifier (69.7%). The combination of sMRI and RS outperformed single MRI modalities classification by reaching 75% accuracy. The RS based moderator analysis revealed that the neurodiagnostic performance was driven by older SZ patients with an earlier illness onset and more pronounced negative symptoms. In contrast, there was no linear relationship between the clinical variables and neuroanatomically derived group membership measures. This study achieved higher accuracy distinguishing HC from SZ patients by fusing 2 imaging modalities. In addition the results of RS based moderator analysis showed that age of patients, as well as their age at the illness onset were the most important clinical features.

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Subscriptions

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

A Randomized Controlled Trial of Group Coping-Oriented Therapy vs Supportive Therapy in Schizophrenia: Results of a 2-Year Follow-up

Objective:

Over the past 30 years, illness management programs and cognitive-behavioral therapy for psychosis have gained prominence in the treatment of schizophrenia. However, little is known about the long-term benefits of these types of programs when delivered during inpatient treatment following a symptom exacerbation. To evaluate this question, we conducted a randomized controlled trial comparing the long-term effects of a group-based coping-oriented program (COP) that combined the elements of illness management with cognitive behavioral-therapy for psychosis, with an equally intensive supportive therapy (SUP) program.

Method:

196 inpatients with DSM-IV schizophrenia were randomized to COP or SUP, each lasting 12 sessions provided over 6–8 weeks. Outcome measures were collected in the hospital at baseline and post-assessment, and following discharge into the community 1 and 2 years later. We compared the groups on rehospitalizations, symptoms, psychosocial functioning, and knowledge about psychosis.

Results:

Intent-to-treat analyses indicated that patients in COP learned significantly more information about psychosis, and had greater reductions in overall symptoms and depression/anxiety over the treatment and follow-up period than patients in SUP. Patients in both groups improved significantly in other symptoms and psychosocial functioning. There were no differences between the groups in hospitalization rates, which were low.

Conclusions:

People with schizophrenia can benefit from short-term COPs delivered during the inpatient phase, with improvements sustaining for 2 years following discharge from the hospital. More research is needed to evaluate the long-term impact of coping-oriented and similar programs provided during inpatient treatment.

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Contents_Page

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Treatment of Cognition in the Schizophrenia Spectrum: The Context of Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Evidence-based approaches and modalities for targeting and treating the cognitive impairments of schizophrenia have proliferated over the past 15 years. The impairments targeted are distributed across the cognitive spectrum, from elemental perception, attention, and memory, to complex executive and social-cognitive functioning. Cognitive treatment is most beneficial when embedded in comprehensive programs of psychiatric rehabilitation. To personalize comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation of schizophrenia spectrum disorders, practitioners and participants must select from a rapidly expanding array of particular modalities and apply them in the broad context of the participant’s overall recovery. At present, no particular treatment, cognitive or otherwise, can be considered more important or primary than the context in which it is applied. Persistent difficulty in dissemination of new technology for severe and disabling mental illness compounds the significance of the context created by a full treatment array. In this article, a case-study of a mental health service system is described, showing the broad-ranging effects of degrading the rehabilitative context of treatments, obviating the benefits of cognitive treatment and other modalities. To realize the promise of cognitive treatment, the problems that prevent dissemination and maintenance of complete psychiatric rehabilitation programs have to be addressed.

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Special Supplement Introduction: The Fourth Kraepelin Symposium--Cognitive Dysfunction in Schizophrenia: Origins and Innovative Treatment

This Special Supplement presents reports from working groups meeting at the Fourth Kraepelin Symposium in Munich, Germany, in September 2014. It covers the origins and therapy of cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia. Cognitive deficits are core symptoms of schizophrenia being decisive for the long-term prognosis only improved moderately by antipsychotic treatment, however, showing more evidence for cognitive remediation. The authors refer to neurobiological and psychological underpinnings of cognitive deficits and to innovative treatment interventions aimed at improving cognitive dysfunction in order to improve outcome and to support coping with the illness. Therapeutic approaches include aerobic exercise, cognitive training, psychoeducation, cognitive therapy, noninvasive brain stimulation and pharmacotherapy in acute to post-acute patients. The supplement also presents novel diagnostic tools for early recognition, such as biomarkers, as well as cognitive training to prevent worsening of symptoms in individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis. In recent years there has been progress in basic science and outcomes research as well as psychopharmacological and psychological treatment options. Despite of this, treatment of cognitive deficits needs significant improvement and further research is needed.

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Dose Equivalents for Antipsychotic Drugs: The DDD Method

Background:

Dose equivalents of antipsychotics are an important but difficult to define concept, because all methods have weaknesses and strongholds.

Methods:

We calculated dose equivalents based on defined daily doses (DDDs) presented by the World Health Organisation’s Collaborative Center for Drug Statistics Methodology. Doses equivalent to 1mg olanzapine, 1mg risperidone, 1mg haloperidol, and 100mg chlorpromazine were presented and compared with the results of 3 other methods to define dose equivalence (the "minimum effective dose method," the "classical mean dose method," and an international consensus statement).

Results:

We presented dose equivalents for 57 first-generation and second-generation antipsychotic drugs, available as oral, parenteral, or depot formulations. Overall, the identified equivalent doses were comparable with those of the other methods, but there were also outliers.

Conclusions:

The major strength of this method to define dose response is that DDDs are available for most drugs, including old antipsychotics, that they are based on a variety of sources, and that DDDs are an internationally accepted measure. The major limitations are that the information used to estimate DDDS is likely to differ between the drugs. Moreover, this information is not publicly available, so that it cannot be reviewed. The WHO stresses that DDDs are mainly a standardized measure of drug consumption, and their use as a measure of dose equivalence can therefore be misleading. We, therefore, recommend that if alternative, more "scientific" dose equivalence methods are available for a drug they should be preferred to DDDs. Moreover, our summary can be a useful resource for pharmacovigilance studies.

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Decreased Oligodendrocyte and Neuron Number in Anterior Hippocampal Areas and the Entire Hippocampus in Schizophrenia: A Stereological Postmortem Study

The hippocampus is involved in cognition as well as emotion, with deficits in both domains consistently described in schizophrenia. Moreover, the whole volumes of both the anterior and posterior region have been reported to be decreased in schizophrenia patients. While fewer oligodendrocyte numbers in the left and right cornu ammonis CA4 subregion of the posterior part of the hippocampus have been reported, the aim of this stereological study was to investigate cell numbers in either the dentate gyrus (DG) or subregions of the anterior hippocampus. In this design-based stereological study of the anterior part of the hippocampus comparing 10 patients with schizophrenia to 10 age- and gender-matched healthy controls were examined. Patients showed a decreased number of oligodendrocytes in the left CA4, fewer neurons in the left DG and smaller volumes in both the left CA4 and DG, which correlated with oligodendrocyte and neuron numbers, respectively. When exploring the total hippocampus, keeping previously published own results from the posterior part of the same brains in mind, both decreased oligodendrocyte numbers in the left CA4 and reduced volume remained significant. The decreased oligodendrocyte number speaks for a deficit in myelination and connectivity in schizophrenia which may originate from disturbed maturational processes. The reduced neuron number of the DG in the anterior hippocampus may well point to a reduced capacity of this region to produce new neurons up to adulthood. Both mechanisms may be involved in cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia patients.

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Editorial_Board

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Aberrant Functional Whole-Brain Network Architecture in Patients With Schizophrenia: A Meta-analysis

Findings from multiple lines of research provide evidence of aberrant functional brain connectivity in schizophrenia. By using graph-analytical measures, recent studies indicate that patients with schizophrenia exhibit changes in the organizational principles of whole-brain networks and that these changes relate to cognitive symptoms. However, there has not been a systematic investigation of functional brain network changes in schizophrenia to test the consistency of these changes across multiple studies. A comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify all available functional graph-analytical studies in patients with schizophrenia. Effect size measures were derived from each study and entered in a random-effects meta-analytical model. All models were tested for effects of potential moderator variables as well as for the presence of publication bias. The results of a total of n = 13 functional neuroimaging studies indicated that brain networks in patients with schizophrenia exhibit significant decreases in measures of local organization (g = –0.56, P = .02) and significant decreases in small-worldness (g = –0.65, P = .01) whereas global short communication paths seemed to be preserved (g = 0.26, P = .32). There was no evidence for a publication bias or moderator effects. The present meta- analysis demonstrates significant changes in whole brain network architecture associated with schizophrenia across studies.

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Psychoeducation Improves Compliance and Outcome in Schizophrenia Without an Increase of Adverse Side Effects: A 7-Year Follow-up of the Munich PIP-Study

Psychoeducation improves adherence and motivates patients to accept a maintenance therapy as recommended by the guidelines. This would mean a daily consumption of at least 300 chlorpromazine (CPZ) units in the long run and should lead to an increase of the antipsychotic dosage in comparison to patients with treatment as usual (TAU). This raises 2 important questions: whether more side effects are provoked and do the patients have a corresponding benefit with a better outcome. A total of 41 patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenic or schizoaffective disorder were randomized at study entry, either to bifocal psychoeducation (21), or to standard treatment (20). They were compared concerning compliance, type of medication, dosage (CPZ equivalents), motor side effects and number of days in hospital. The average daily antipsychotic medication 2 and 7 years after index discharge was 365 and 354 CPZ-units respectively in the intervention group (IG), but 247 and 279, respectively in the control group (CG). The extent of motor side effects was slightly smaller in the IG, but they showed a small and statistically not significant increase in the rate of tardive dyskinesia (TD) after 7 years. At the 7-year follow-up the patients in the IG had spent 74.7 days in hospital compared to 243.4 days for the patients in the CG (P < .05). The course of illness was significantly better in the IG without increasing motor side-effects. Therefore, psychoeducation should be integrated more systematically into the routine treatment. These data are part of a previous study, published 2007, with a sample size of 48 patients. Seven patients—3 of the IG and 4 of the CG—could not be included, because they were not able to complete the very complex "Computer-based kinematic analysis of motor performance." In this article all conclusions are referred to the new sample size, therefore some results are slightly different in comparison to the previous data.

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Molecular Signatures of Psychosocial Stress and Cognition Are Modulated by Chronic Lithium Treatment

Chronic psychosocial stress is an important environmental risk factor of psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia. Social defeat in rodents has been shown to be associated with maladaptive cellular and behavioral consequences including cognitive impairments. Although gene expression changes upon psychosocial stress have been described, a comprehensive transcriptome profiling study at the global level in precisely defined hippocampal subregions which are associated with learning has been lacking. In this study, we exposed adult C57Bl/6N mice for 3 weeks to "resident-intruder" paradigm and combined laser capture microdissection with microarray analyses to identify transcriptomic signatures of chronic psychosocial stress in dentate gyrus and CA3 subregion of the dorsal hippocampus. At the individual transcript level, we detected subregion specific stress responses whereas gene set enrichment analyses (GSEA) identified several common pathways upregulated upon chronic psychosocial stress related to proteasomal function and energy supply. Behavioral profiling revealed stress-associated impairments most prominent in fear memory formation which was prevented by chronic lithium treatment. Thus, we again microdissected the CA3 region and performed global transcriptome analysis to search for molecular signatures altered by lithium treatment in stressed animals. By combining GSEA with unsupervised clustering, we detected pathways that are regulated by stress and lithium in the CA3 region of the hippocampus including proteasomal components, oxidative phosphorylation, and anti-oxidative mechanisms. Our study thus provides insight into hidden molecular phenotypes of chronic psychosocial stress and lithium treatment and proves a beneficial role for lithium treatment as an agent attenuating negative effects of psychosocial stress on cognition.

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Psychoeducational and Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Programs: Implementation and Evaluation From 1995 to 2015 in Kraepelins Former Hospital

Objective:

Programs that view individuals as capable of taking an active role in managing their illness have gained importance in Europe and the United States. This article describes the implementation and evaluation of group psychoeducational and cognitive behavioral treatment programs at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany, over the past 20 years.

Methods:

Implementing psychoeducational programs was the first step to establish cognitive behavioral psychotherapy and dispel the myth of schizophrenia for patients. Programs are also provided for patients with mood disorders, substance use disorders, or both. These groups include topics such as psychoeducation about the illness, establishing rewarding activities, stress management, cognitive therapy, and relapse prevention.

Results:

More than 1000 patients with schizophrenia or mood disorders (380 schizophrenia, 563 major depression, and 110 bipolar) have participated in illness management groups to learn about their illness and its treatment, and to learn skills to manage their illness. Patients have expressed satisfaction with the programs, and research has supported their effectiveness.

Conclusions:

Individuals with severe disorders can benefit from psychoeducational and cognitive treatment programs if the programs are adapted to the level of neuropsychological functioning and compensate for cognitive deficits and emotional overload. These findings suggest that providing information about the illness and coping skills for patients and relatives are important for treatment outcome.

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Psychological Mechanisms Mediating Effects Between Trauma and Psychotic Symptoms: The Role of Affect Regulation, Intrusive Trauma Memory, Beliefs, and Depression

Evidence suggests a causal role for trauma in psychosis, particularly for childhood victimization. However, the establishment of underlying trauma-related mechanisms would strengthen the causal argument. In a sample of people with relapsing psychosis (n = 228), we tested hypothesized mechanisms specifically related to impaired affect regulation, intrusive trauma memory, beliefs, and depression. The majority of participants (74.1%) reported victimization trauma, and a fifth (21.5%) met symptomatic criteria for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. We found a specific link between childhood sexual abuse and auditory hallucinations (adjusted OR = 2.21, SE = 0.74, P = .018). This relationship was mediated by posttraumatic avoidance and numbing (OR = 1.48, SE = 0.19, P = .038) and hyperarousal (OR = 1.44, SE = 0.18, P = .045), but not intrusive trauma memory, negative beliefs or depression. In contrast, childhood emotional abuse was specifically associated with delusions, both persecutory (adjusted OR = 2.21, SE = 0.68, P = .009) and referential (adjusted OR = 2.43, SE = 0.74, P = .004). The link with persecutory delusions was mediated by negative-other beliefs (OR = 1.36, SE = 0.14, P = .024), but not posttraumatic stress symptoms, negative-self beliefs, or depression. There was no evidence of mediation for referential delusions. No relationships were identified between childhood physical abuse and psychosis. The findings underline the role of cognitive-affective processes in the relationship between trauma and symptoms, and the importance of assessing and treating victimization and its psychological consequences in people with psychosis.

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Repetitive Noninvasive Brain Stimulation to Modulate Cognitive Functions in Schizophrenia: A Systematic Review of Primary and Secondary Outcomes

Despite many years of research, there is still an urgent need for new therapeutic options for the treatment of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. Noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) has been proposed to be such a novel add-on treatment option. The main objective of this review was to systematically evaluate the cognitive effects of repetitive NIBS in schizophrenia. As most studies have not been specifically designed to investigate cognition as primary outcome, we have focused on both, primary and secondary outcomes. The PubMed/MEDLINE database (1985–2015) was systematically searched for interventional studies investigating the effects of repetitive NIBS on schizophrenia symptoms. All interventional clinical trials using repetitive transcranial stimulation, transcranial theta burst stimulation, and transcranial direct current stimulation for the treatment of schizophrenia were extracted and analyzed with regard to cognitive measures as primary or secondary outcomes. Seventy-six full-text articles were assessed for eligibility of which 33 studies were included in the qualitative synthesis. Of these 33 studies, only 4 studies included cognition as primary outcome, whereas 29 studies included cognitive measures as secondary outcomes. A beneficial effect of frontal NIBS could not be clearly established. No evidence for a cognitive disruptive effect of NIBS (temporal lobe) in schizophrenia could be detected. Finally, a large heterogeneity between studies in terms of inclusion criteria, stimulation parameters, applied cognitive measures, and follow-up intervals was observed. This review provides the first systematic overview regarding cognitive effects of repetitive NIBS in schizophrenia.

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Cover

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Intensive Auditory Cognitive Training Improves Verbal Memory in Adolescents and Young Adults at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis

Objective:

Individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis demonstrate cognitive impairments that predict later psychotic transition and real-world functioning. Cognitive training has shown benefits in schizophrenia, but has not yet been adequately tested in the CHR population.

Methods:

In this double-blind randomized controlled trial, CHR individuals (N = 83) were given laptop computers and trained at home on 40 hours of auditory processing-based exercises designed to target verbal learning and memory operations, or on computer games (CG). Participants were assessed with neurocognitive tests based on the Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia initiative (MATRICS) battery and rated on symptoms and functioning. Groups were compared before and after training using a mixed-effects model with restricted maximum likelihood estimation, given the high study attrition rate (42%).

Results:

Participants in the targeted cognitive training group showed a significant improvement in Verbal Memory compared to CG participants (effect size = 0.61). Positive and Total symptoms improved in both groups over time.

Conclusions:

CHR individuals showed patterns of training-induced cognitive improvement in verbal memory consistent with prior observations in schizophrenia. This is a particularly vulnerable domain in individuals at-risk for psychosis that predicts later functioning and psychotic transition. Ongoing follow-up of this cohort will assess the durability of training effects in CHR individuals, as well as the potential impact on symptoms and functioning over time. Clinical Trials Number: NCT00655239. URL: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00655239?term=vinogradov&rank=5.

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Enhancing Cognitive Training Through Aerobic Exercise After a First Schizophrenia Episode: Theoretical Conception and Pilot Study

Cognitive training (CT) and aerobic exercise have separately shown promise for improving cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. Aerobic exercise releases brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which promotes synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis. Thus, aerobic exercise provides a neurotrophic platform for neuroplasticity-based CT. The combination of aerobic exercise and CT may yield more robust effects than CT alone, particularly in the initial course of schizophrenia. In a pilot study, 7 patients with a recent onset of schizophrenia were assigned to Cognitive Training & Exercise (CT&E) and 9 to CT alone for a 10-week period. Posit Science programs were used for CT. Neurocognitive training focused on tuning neural circuits related to perceptual processing and verbal learning and memory. Social cognitive training used the same learning principles with social and affective stimuli. Both groups participated in these training sessions 2d/wk, 2h/d. The CT&E group also participated in an aerobic conditioning program for 30 minutes at our clinic 2d/wk and at home 2d/wk. The effect size for improvement in the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery Overall Composite score for CT&E patients relative to CT patients was large. Functional outcome, particularly independent living skills, also tended to improve more in the CT&E than in the CT group. Muscular endurance, cardiovascular fitness, and diastolic blood pressure also showed relative improvement in the CT&E compared to the CT group. These encouraging pilot study findings support the promise of combining CT and aerobic exercise to improve the early course of schizophrenia.

Posted on 26 July 2016 | 1:37 am

Working Memory in Unaffected Relatives of Patients With Schizophrenia: A Meta-Analysis of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies

Working memory deficits, a core cognitive feature of schizophrenia may arise from dysfunction in the frontal and parietal cortices. Numerous studies have also found abnormal neural activation during working memory tasks in patients’ unaffected relatives. The aim of this study was to systematically identify and anatomically localize the evidence for those activation differences across all eligible studies. Fifteen functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) manuscripts, containing 16 samples of 289 unaffected relatives of patients with schizophrenia, and 358 healthy controls were identified that met our inclusion criteria: (1) used a working memory task; and (2) reported standard space coordinates. Activation likelihood estimation (ALE) identified convergence across studies. Compared to healthy controls, patients’ unaffected relatives showed decreases in neural activation in the right middle frontal gyrus (BA9), as well as right inferior frontal gyrus (BA44). Increased activation was seen in relatives in the right frontopolar (BA10), left inferior parietal lobe (BA40), and thalamus bilaterally. These results suggest that the familial risk of schizophrenia is expressed in changes in neural activation in the unaffected relatives in the cortical-subcortical working memory network that includes, but is not restricted to the middle prefrontal cortex.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Disconnection Between Amygdala and Medial Prefrontal Cortex in Psychotic Disorders

Distracting emotional information impairs attention more in schizophrenia (SCZ) than in never-psychotic individuals. However, it is unclear whether this impairment and its neural circuitry is indicative generally of psychosis, or specifically of SCZ, and whether it is even more specific to certain SCZ symptoms (eg, deficit syndrome). It is also unclear if this abnormality contributes to impaired behavioral performance and real-world functioning. Functional imaging data were recorded while individuals with SCZ, bipolar disorder with psychosis (BDP) and no history of psychotic disorders (CON) attended to identity of faces while ignoring their emotional expressions. We examined group differences in functional connectivity between amygdala, involved in emotional evaluation, and sub-regions of medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), involved in emotion regulation and cognitive control. Additionally, we examined correlation of this connectivity with deficit syndrome and real-world functioning. Behaviorally, SCZ showed the worst accuracy when matching the identity of emotional vs neutral faces. Neurally, SCZ showed lower amygdala-MPFC connectivity than BDP and CON. BPD did not differ from CON, neurally or behaviorally. In patients, reduced amygdala-MPFC connectivity during emotional distractors was related to worse emotional vs neutral accuracy, greater deficit syndrome severity, and unemployment. Thus, reduced amygdala-MPFC functional connectivity during emotional distractors reflects a deficit that is specific to SCZ. This reduction in connectivity is associated with worse clinical and real-world functioning. Overall, these findings provide support for the specificity and clinical utility of amygdala-MPFC functional connectivity as a potential neural marker of SCZ.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Self-Disorders and Clinical High Risk for Psychosis: An Empirical Study in Help-Seeking Youth Attending Community Mental Health Facilities

Anomalous subjective experiences involving an alteration of the basic sense of self (ie, Self-disorder [SD]) are emerging as a core marker of schizophrenia spectrum disorders with potential impact on current early detection strategies as well. In this study, we wished to field-test the prevalence of SD in a clinical sample of adolescent/young adult help-seekers at putative risk for psychosis attending standard community mental health facilities in Italy. Participants (n = 47), aged between 14 and 25, underwent extensive psychopathological evaluations with current semi-structured tools to assess Clinical High Risk (CHR) state (ie, Structured Interview for Prodromal Syndromes/Scale of Prodromal Symptoms [SIPS/SOPS], Schizophrenia Proneness Instrument-Adult/Child and Youth [SPI-A/CY]). SD aggregated in CHR subjects as compared to the non-CHR and revealed substantial association with sub-psychotic symptoms (SIPS), subjective experience of cognitive and cognitive-perceptual vulnerability (basic symptoms) and functional level (Global Assessment of functioning). Moreover, a combination of the 2 approaches (ie, CHR plus SD) enabled further "closing-in" on a subgroup of CHR with lower global functioning. The results confirm SD’s relevance for the early profiling of youths at potential high risk for psychosis.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Contents_Page

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

A GWAS SNP for Schizophrenia Is Linked to the Internal MIR137 Promoter and Supports Differential Allele-Specific Expression

Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the MIR137 gene locus have been shown to confer risk for schizophrenia through genome-wide association studies (GWAS). The expression levels of microRNA-137 (miR-137) and its validated gene targets have also been shown to be disrupted in several neuropsychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia. Regulation of miR-137 expression is thus imperative for normal neuronal functioning. We previously characterized an internal promoter domain within the MIR137 gene that contained a variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) polymorphism and could alter the in vitro levels of miR-137 in a stimulus-induced and allele-specific manner. We now demonstrate that haplotype tagging-SNP analysis linked the rs1625579 GWAS SNP for schizophrenia to this internal MIR137 promoter through a proxy SNP rs2660304 located at this domain. We postulated that the rs2660304 promoter SNP may act as predisposing factor for schizophrenia through altering the levels of miR-137 expression in a genotype-dependent manner. Reporter gene analysis of the internal MIR137 promoter containing the common VNTR variant demonstrated genotype-dependent differences in promoter activity with respect to rs2660304. In line with previous reports, the major allele of the rs2660304 proxy SNP, which has previously been linked with schizophrenia risk through genetic association, resulted in downregulation of reporter gene expression in a tissue culture model. The genetic influence of the rs2660304 proxy SNP on the transcriptional activity of the internal MIR137 promoter, and thus the levels of miR-137 expression, therefore offers a distinct regulatory mechanism to explain the functional significance of the rs1625579 GWAS SNP for schizophrenia risk.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Shifting Paradigms and the Term Schizophrenia

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Disturbances in Response Inhibition and Emotional Processing as Potential Pathways to Violence in Schizophrenia: A High-Density Event-Related Potential Study

Objective:

Increased susceptibility to emotional triggers and poor response inhibition are important in the etiology of violence in schizophrenia. Our goal was to evaluate abnormalities in neurophysiological mechanisms underlying response inhibition and emotional processing in violent patients with schizophrenia (VS) and 3 different comparison groups: nonviolent patients (NV), healthy controls (HC) and nonpsychotic violent subjects (NPV).

Methods:

We recorded high-density Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) and behavioral responses during an Emotional Go/NoGo Task in 35 VS, 24 NV, 28 HC and 31 NPV subjects. We also evaluated psychiatric symptoms and impulsivity.

Results:

The neural and behavioral deficits in violent patients were most pronounced when they were presented with negative emotional stimuli: They responded more quickly than NV when they made commission errors (ie, failure of inhibition), and evidenced N2 increases and P3 decreases. In contrast, NVs showed little change in reaction time or ERP amplitude with emotional stimuli. These N2 and P3 amplitude changes in VSs showed a strong association with greater impulsivity. Besides these group specific changes, VSs shared deficits with NV, mostly N2 reduction, and with violent nonpsychotic subjects, particularly P3 reduction.

Conclusion:

Negative affective triggers have a strong impact on violent patients with schizophrenia which may have both behavioral and neural manifestations. The resulting activation could interfere with response inhibition. The affective disruption of response inhibition, identified in this study, may index an important pathway to violence in schizophrenia and suggest new modes of treatment.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Exploring Transcription Factors-microRNAs Co-regulation Networks in Schizophrenia

Background:

Transcriptional factors (TFs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) have been recognized as 2 classes of principal gene regulators that may be responsible for genome coexpression changes observed in schizophrenia (SZ).

Methods:

This study aims to (1) identify differentially coexpressed genes (DCGs) in 3 mRNA expression microarray datasets; (2) explore potential interactions among the DCGs, and differentially expressed miRNAs identified in our dataset composed of early-onset SZ patients and healthy controls; (3) validate expression levels of some key transcripts; and (4) explore the druggability of DCGs using the curated database.

Results:

We detected a differential coexpression network associated with SZ and found that 9 out of the 12 regulators were replicated in either of the 2 other datasets. Leveraging the differentially expressed miRNAs identified in our previous dataset, we constructed a miRNA–TF–gene network relevant to SZ, including an EGR1–miR-124-3p–SKIL feed-forward loop. Our real-time quantitative PCR analysis indicated the overexpression of miR-124-3p, the under expression of SKIL and EGR1 in the blood of SZ patients compared with controls, and the direction of change of miR-124-3p and SKIL mRNA levels in SZ cases were reversed after a 12-week treatment cycle. Our druggability analysis revealed that many of these genes have the potential to be drug targets.

Conclusions:

Together, our results suggest that coexpression network abnormalities driven by combinatorial and interactive action from TFs and miRNAs may contribute to the development of SZ and be relevant to the clinical treatment of the disease.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

The Second World

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Probabilistic Reversal Learning in Schizophrenia: Stability of Deficits and Potential Causal Mechanisms

Although individuals with schizophrenia show impaired feedback-driven learning on probabilistic reversal learning (PRL) tasks, the specific factors that contribute to these deficits remain unknown. Recent work has suggested several potential causes including neurocognitive impairments, clinical symptoms, and specific types of feedback-related errors. To examine this issue, we administered a PRL task to 126 stable schizophrenia outpatients and 72 matched controls, and patients were retested 4 weeks later. The task involved an initial probabilistic discrimination learning phase and subsequent reversal phases in which subjects had to adjust their responses to sudden shifts in the reinforcement contingencies. Patients showed poorer performance than controls for both the initial discrimination and reversal learning phases of the task, and performance overall showed good test–retest reliability among patients. A subgroup analysis of patients (n = 64) and controls (n = 49) with good initial discrimination learning revealed no between-group differences in reversal learning, indicating that the patients who were able to achieve all of the initial probabilistic discriminations were not impaired in reversal learning. Regarding potential contributors to impaired discrimination learning, several factors were associated with poor PRL, including higher levels of neurocognitive impairment, poor learning from both positive and negative feedback, and higher levels of indiscriminate response shifting. The results suggest that poor PRL performance in schizophrenia can be the product of multiple mechanisms.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Schizophrenia and Vision of My Life

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Polygenic Risk of Schizophrenia and Cognition in a Population-Based Survey of Older Adults

Cognitive impairment is a common feature of the major psychotic disorders, with deficits often present in at risk individuals and unaffected first-degree relatives. Previous studies have suggested that polygenic risk scores (PRS) for schizophrenia (SCZ) are associated with cognitive deficits, but there has been little examination of this association in longitudinal datasets, or comparison with other disorders. We used mixed models to study the association between PRS for 4 adult onset psychiatric disorders with cross-sectional cognitive performance and longitudinal cognitive decline in 8616 older adults from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), followed for an average of 10 years. PRS were computed for SCZ, bipolar disorder (BD), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and Alzheimer’s disease (ALZ). SCZ PRS associated with decreased cognitive function (z = –3.00, P = .001, R 2 = 0.04%), which was largely driven by an association with impaired attention and orientation (z = –3.33, P = 4.3x10–4, R 2 = 0.08%). We found no effect of BD or MDD PRS on cognition, in contrast to a robust effect of the APOE4/TOMM40 locus (z = –5.05, P = 2.2x10–7, R 2 = 0.36%), which was primarily associated with impaired verbal memory (z = –5.15, P = 1.3x10–7, R 2 = 0.21%). APOE4/TOMM40 locus and the ALZ PRS, but not the PRS for SCZ, were associated with greater cognitive decline. In summary, using a large, representative sample of older adults, we found evidence for different degrees of association between polygenic risk for SCZ and genetic risk factors for ALZ on cognitive function and decline, highlighting potential differences in the pathophysiology of cognitive deficits seen in SCZ and ALZ.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

A Network Approach to Environmental Impact in Psychotic Disorder: Brief Theoretical Framework

The spectrum of psychotic disorder represents a multifactorial and heterogeneous condition and is thought to result from a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors. In the current paper, we analyze this interplay using network analysis, which has been recently proposed as a novel psychometric framework for the study of mental disorders. Using general population data, we construct network models for the relation between 3 environmental risk factors (cannabis use, developmental trauma, and urban environment), dimensional measures of psychopathology (anxiety, depression, interpersonal sensitivity, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobic anxiety, somatizations, and hostility), and a composite measure of psychosis expression. Results indicate the existence of specific paths between environmental factors and symptoms. These paths most often involve cannabis use. In addition, the analyses suggest that symptom networks are more strongly connected for people exposed to environmental risk factors, implying that environmental exposure may lead to less resilient symptom networks.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

A Whole Methylome CpG-SNP Association Study of Psychosis in Blood and Brain Tissue

Mutated CpG sites (CpG-SNPs) are potential hotspots for human diseases because in addition to the sequence variation they may show individual differences in DNA methylation. We performed methylome-wide association studies (MWAS) to test whether methylation differences at those sites were associated with schizophrenia. We assayed all common CpG-SNPs with methyl-CpG binding domain protein-enriched genome sequencing (MBD-seq) using DNA extracted from 1408 blood samples and 66 postmortem brain samples (BA10) of schizophrenia cases and controls. Seven CpG-SNPs passed our FDR threshold of 0.1 in the blood MWAS. Of the CpG-SNPs methylated in brain, 94% were also methylated in blood. This significantly exceeded the 46.2% overlap expected by chance (P-value < 1.0x10–8) and justified replicating findings from blood in brain tissue. CpG-SNP rs3796293 in IL1RAP replicated (P-value = .003) with the same direction of effects. This site was further validated through targeted bisulfite pyrosequencing in 736 independent case-control blood samples (P-value < 9.5x10–4). Our top result in the brain MWAS (P-value = 8.8x10–7) was CpG-SNP rs16872141 located in the potential promoter of ENC1. Overall, our results suggested that CpG-SNP methylation may reflect effects of environmental insults and can provide biomarkers in blood that could potentially improve disease management.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Neurobiological Models of Self-Disorders in Early Schizophrenia

Self-disorders (SDs) (from the German Ichstörungen) are alterations of the first-person perspective, long associated with schizophrenia, particularly in early phases. Although psychopathological features of SDs continue to be studied, their neurobiological underpinnings are unknown. This makes it difficult to integrate SDs into contemporary models of psychosis. The present review aims to address this issue, starting from an historical excursus revealing an interconnection between neuroscientific models and the origin of the psychopathological concept of SDs. Subsequently, the more recent neurobiological models related to SDs are discussed, particularly with respect to the onset of schizophrenia.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Subscriptions

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Bifeprunox vs Placebo for Schizophrenia

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Age of Onset and Lifetime Projected Risk of Psychotic Experiences: Cross-National Data From the World Mental Health Survey

Background:

Given the early age of onset (AOO) of psychotic disorders, it has been assumed that psychotic experiences (PEs) would have a similar early AOO. The aims of this study were to describe (a) the AOO distribution of PEs, (b) the projected lifetime risk of PEs, and (c) the associations of PE AOO with selected PE features.

Methods:

Data came from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) surveys. A total of 31 261 adult respondents across 18 countries were assessed for lifetime prevalence of PE. Projected lifetime risk (at age 75 years) was estimated using a 2-part actuarial method. AOO distributions were described for the observed and projected estimates. We examined associations of AOO with PE type metric and annualized PE frequency.

Results:

Projected lifetime risk for PEs was 7.8% (SE = 0.3), slightly higher than lifetime prevalence (5.8%, SE = 0.2). The median (interquartile range; IQR) AOO based on projected lifetime estimates was 26 (17–41) years, indicating that PEs commence across a wide age range. The AOO distributions for PEs did not differ by sex. Early AOO was positively associated with number of PE types (F = 14.1, P < .001) but negatively associated with annualized PE frequency rates (F = 8.0, P < .001).

Discussion:

While most people with lifetime PEs have first onsets in adolescence or young adulthood, projected estimates indicate that nearly a quarter of first onsets occur after age 40 years. The extent to which late onset PEs are associated with (a) late onset mental disorders or (b) declining cognitive and/or sensory function need further research.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

On Thoughts, Threats, and Throwing the Spear

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Acceptance and Efficacy of Metacognitive Training (MCT) on Positive Symptoms and Delusions in Patients With Schizophrenia: A Meta-analysis Taking Into Account Important Moderators

Metacognitive training (MCT) is a new, widely used intervention for psychosis. The present meta-analysis examines the efficacy of MCT in schizophrenia. Fifteen studies comparing effects of MCT on positive symptoms, delusions or acceptance of MCT with a control group were included in this meta-analysis. These studies comprised a total of 408 patients in the MCT condition and 399 in the control condition. The moderating effects of masking of outcome assessment, randomization, incomplete outcome data, use of an active control intervention, and individual vs group MCT were investigated. Possible effects of sensitivity analyses and publication bias were also examined. The results show a significant overall effect of MCT for positive symptoms (g = –0.34, 95% CI [–0.53, –0.15]), delusions (g = –0.41, 95% CI [–0.74, –0.07]) and acceptance of the intervention (g = –0.84, 95% CI [–1.37, –0.31]). Using only studies being at low risk for bias regarding randomization, masking and incomplete outcome data reduced effect sizes for positive symptoms and delusions (g = –0.28, 95% CI [–0.50, –0.06] and g = –0.18, 95% CI [–0.43, 0.06]), respectively. This meta-analysis demonstrates that MCT exerts a small to moderate effect on delusions and positive symptoms and a large effect on acceptance of the intervention. The effect on delusions is reduced, but remains significant when potential biases are considered.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Universal Health Coverage for Schizophrenia: A Global Mental Health Priority

The growing momentum towards a global consensus on universal health coverage, alongside an acknowledgment of the urgency and importance of a comprehensive mental health action plan, offers a unique opportunity for a substantial scale-up of evidence-based interventions and packages of care for a range of mental disorders in all countries. There is a robust evidence base testifying to the effectiveness of drug and psychosocial interventions for people with schizophrenia and to the feasibility, acceptability and cost-effectiveness of the delivery of these interventions through a collaborative care model in low resource settings. While there are a number of barriers to scaling up this evidence, for eg, the finances needed to train and deploy community based workers and the lack of agency for people with schizophrenia, the experiences of some upper middle income countries show that sustained political commitment, allocation of transitional financial resources to develop community services, a commitment to an integrated approach with a strong role for community based institutions and providers, and a progressive realization of coverage are the key ingredients for scale up of services for schizophrenia.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Familiality of Psychotic Disorders: A Polynosologic Study in Multiplex Families

Introduction:

Phenotype definition of psychotic disorders has a strong impact on the degree of familial aggregation. Nevertheless, the extent to which distinct classification systems affect familial aggregation (ie, familiality) remains an open question. This study was aimed at examining the familiality associated with 4 nosologic systems of psychotic disorders (DSM-IV, ICD-10, Leonhard’s classification and a data-driven approach) and their constituting diagnoses in a sample of multiplex families with psychotic disorders.

Methods:

Participants were probands with a psychotic disorder, their parents and at least one first-degree relative with a psychotic disorder. The sample was made of 441 families comprising 2703 individuals, of whom 1094 were affected and 1709 unaffected.

Results:

The Leonhard classification system had the highest familiality (h 2 = 0.64), followed by the empirical (h 2 = 0.55), DSM-IV (h 2 = 0.50), and ICD-10 (h 2 = 0.48). Familiality estimates for individual diagnoses varied considerably (h 2 = 0.25–0.79). Regarding schizophrenia diagnoses, Leonhard’s systematic schizophrenia (h 2 = 0.78) had the highest familiality, followed by latent class core schizophrenia (h 2 = 0.74), DSM-IV schizophrenia (h 2 = 0.48), and ICD-10 schizophrenia (h 2 = 0.41). Psychotic mood disorders showed substantial familiality across nosologic systems (h 2 = 0.60–0.77). Domains of psychopathology other than reality-distortion symptoms showed moderate familiality irrespective of diagnosis (h 2 = 0.22–0.52) with the deficit syndrome of schizophrenia showing the highest familiality (h 2 = 0.66).

Conclusions:

While affective psychoses showed relatively high familiality estimates across classification schemes, those of nonaffective psychoses varied markedly as a function of the diagnostic scheme with a narrow schizophrenia phenotype maximizing its familial aggregation. Leonhard’s classification of psychotic disorders may be better suited for molecular genetic studies than the official diagnostic systems.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

The Changing Face of Hallucination Research: The International Consortium on Hallucination Research (ICHR) 2015 Meeting Report

This article reports on the Third Biennial Meeting of the International Consortium on Hallucinations Research, held in Melbourne, Australia, in October 2015. Following a public conference in which research findings were considered in relation to subjective experience and practice, 9 multidisciplinary working groups examined key current issues in progressing the conceptualization and research of hallucinations. Work group topics included: multicenter validation of the transdiagnostic and multimodal Questionnaire for Psychotic Experiences; development of an improved outcome measure for psychological therapies; the relationship between inhibition and hallucinations across multiple levels of explanation; hallucinations in relation to sleep phenomena; emotion and hallucinations; multiple interactions between the experience of self and hallucinations; interactions between language, auditory and memory networks; resting state networks including the default mode; and analyses arising from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data-sharing. Major themes in hallucinations research identified during the meeting included (1) progression beyond the auditory verbal modality in schizophrenia to consider hallucinations across modalities and different populations; (2) development of new measures; (3) the central role of multisite collaboration through shared data collection and data pooling; (4) study of time-based and interactive models of hallucination; and (5) the need to increase the accessibility and availability of "real-life" interventions for people with persisting and distressing hallucinations.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Cortical Gene Expression After a Conditional Knockout of 67 kDa Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase in Parvalbumin Neurons

In the cortex of subjects with schizophrenia, expression of glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67), the enzyme primarily responsible for cortical GABA synthesis, is reduced in the subset of GABA neurons that express parvalbumin (PV). This GAD67 deficit is accompanied by lower cortical levels of other GABA-associated transcripts, including GABA transporter-1, PV, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), tropomyosin receptor kinase B, somatostatin, GABAA receptor α1 subunit, and KCNS3 potassium channel subunit mRNAs. In contrast, messenger RNA (mRNA) levels for glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 (GAD65), another enzyme for GABA synthesis, are not altered. We tested the hypothesis that this pattern of GABA-associated transcript levels is secondary to the GAD67 deficit in PV neurons by analyzing cortical levels of these GABA-associated mRNAs in mice with a PV neuron-specific GAD67 knockout. Using in situ hybridization, we found that none of the examined GABA-associated transcripts had lower cortical expression in the knockout mice. In contrast, PV, BDNF, KCNS3, and GAD65 mRNA levels were higher in the homozygous mice. In addition, our behavioral test battery failed to detect a change in sensorimotor gating or working memory, although the homozygous mice exhibited increased spontaneous activities. These findings suggest that reduced GAD67 expression in PV neurons is not an upstream cause of the lower levels of GABA-associated transcripts, or of the characteristic behaviors, in schizophrenia. In PV neuron-specific GAD67 knockout mice, increased levels of PV, BDNF, and KCNS3 mRNAs might be the consequence of increased neuronal activity secondary to lower GABA synthesis, whereas increased GAD65 mRNA might represent a compensatory response to increase GABA synthesis.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Cost-Effectiveness of Comprehensive, Integrated Care for First Episode Psychosis in the NIMH RAISE Early Treatment Program

This study compares the cost-effectiveness of Navigate (NAV), a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, team-based treatment approach for first episode psychosis (FEP) and usual Community Care (CC) in a cluster randomization trial. Patients at 34 community treatment clinics were randomly assigned to either NAV (N = 223) or CC (N = 181) for 2 years. Effectiveness was measured as a one standard deviation change on the Quality of Life Scale (QLS-SD). Incremental cost effectiveness ratios were evaluated with bootstrap distributions. The Net Health Benefits Approach was used to evaluate the probability that the value of NAV benefits exceeded its costs relative to CC from the perspective of the health care system. The NAV group improved significantly more on the QLS and had higher outpatient mental health and antipsychotic medication costs. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was $12 081/QLS-SD, with a .94 probability that NAV was more cost-effective than CC at $40 000/QLS-SD. When converted to monetized Quality Adjusted Life Years, NAV benefits exceeded costs, especially at future generic drug prices.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Cortical PGC-1{alpha}-Dependent Transcripts Are Reduced in Postmortem Tissue From Patients With Schizophrenia

The transcriptional coactivator peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC-1α) has been linked to multiple neurological and psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, but its involvement in the pathophysiology of these disorders is unclear. Experiments in mice have revealed a set of developmentally-regulated cortical PGC-1α-dependent transcripts involved in calcium buffering (parvalbumin, PV), synchronous neurotransmitter release (synaptotagmin 2, Syt2; complexin 1, Cplx1) and axonal integrity (neurofilamaent heavy chain, Nefh). We measured the mRNA expression of PGC-1α and these transcripts in postmortem cortical tissue from control and schizophrenia patients and found a reduction in PGC-1α-dependent transcripts without a change in PGC-1α. While control subjects with high PGC-1α expression exhibited high PV and Nefh expression, schizophrenia subjects with high PGC-1α expression did not, suggesting dissociation between PGC-1α expression and these targets in schizophrenia. Unbiased analyses of the promoter regions for PGC-1α-dependent transcripts revealed enrichment of binding sites for the PGC-1α-interacting transcription factor nuclear respiratory factor 1 (NRF-1). NRF-1 mRNA expression was reduced in schizophrenia, and its transcript levels predicted that of PGC-1α-dependent targets in schizophrenia. Interestingly, the positive correlation between PGC-1α and PV, Syt2, or Cplx1 expression was lost in schizophrenia patients with low NRF-1 expression, suggesting that NRF-1 is a critical predictor of these genes in disease. These data suggest that schizophrenia involves a disruption in PGC-1α and/or NRF-1-associated transcriptional programs in the cortex and that approaches to enhance the activity of PGC-1α or transcriptional regulators like NRF-1 should be considered with the goal of restoring normal gene programs and improving cortical function.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Editorial_Board

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Limited Evidence for Association of Genome-Wide Schizophrenia Risk Variants on Cortical Neuroimaging Phenotypes

Background:

There are now over 100 established genetic risk variants for schizophrenia; however, their influence on brain structure and circuitry across the human lifespan are not known.

Methods:

We examined healthy individuals 8–86 years of age, from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Zucker Hillside Hospital, and the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort. Following thorough quality control procedures, we investigated associations of established genetic risk variants with heritable neuroimaging phenotypes relevant to schizophrenia, namely thickness of frontal and temporal cortical regions (n = 565) and frontotemporal and interhemispheric white matter tract fractional anisotropy (FA) (n = 530).

Results:

There was little evidence for association of risk variants with imaging phenotypes. No association with cortical thickness of any region was present. Only rs12148337, near a long noncoding RNA region, was associated with white matter FA (splenium of corpus callosum) following multiple comparison correction (corrected p = .012); this single nucleotide polymorphism was also associated with genu FA and superior longitudinal fasciculus FA at p <.005 (uncorrected). There was no association of polygenic risk score with white matter FA or cortical thickness.

Conclusions:

In sum, our findings provide limited evidence for association of schizophrenia risk variants with cortical thickness or diffusion imaging white matter phenotypes. When taken with recent lack of association of these variants with subcortical brain volumes, our results either suggest that structural neuroimaging approaches at current resolution are not sufficiently sensitive to detect effects of these risk variants or that multiple comparison correction in correlated phenotypes is too stringent, potentially "eliminating" biologically important signals.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

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Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Aberrant Hippocampal Connectivity in Unmedicated Patients With Schizophrenia and Effects of Antipsychotic Medication: A Longitudinal Resting State Functional MRI Study

To better characterize hippocampal pathophysiology in schizophrenia, we conducted a longitudinal study evaluating hippocampal functional connectivity during resting state, using seeds prescribed in its anterior and posterior regions. We enrolled 34 unmedicated patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (SZ) and 34 matched healthy controls. SZ were scanned while off medication, then were treated with risperidone for 6 weeks and re-scanned (n = 22). Group differences in connectivity, as well as changes in connectivity over time, were assessed on the group’s participant level functional connectivity maps. We found significant dysconnectivity with anterior and posterior hippocampal seeds in unmedicated SZ. Baseline connectivity between the hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex, caudate nucleus, auditory cortex and calcarine sulcus in SZ predicted subsequent response to antipsychotic medications. These same regions demonstrated changes over the 6-week treatment trial that were correlated with symptomatic improvement. Our findings implicate several neural networks relevant to clinical improvement with antipsychotic medications.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Paranoid Ideation and Violence: Meta-analysis of Individual Subject Data of 7 Population Surveys

There is controversy whether associations between psychosis and violence are due to coexisting substance misuse and factors increasing risk in nonpsychotic persons. Recent studies in clinical samples have implicated independent effects of paranoid delusions. Research findings suggest that individual psychotic-like-experiences on the psychosis continuum in the general population are associated with violence; it remains unclear whether this association is due to psychiatric comorbidity. We pooled data from 7 UK general population surveys (n = 23 444) and conducted a meta-analysis of individual subject data. Further meta-analyses were performed to identify heterogeneity. Main exposure variables: 5 psychotic-like-experiences and a categorical measure of psychosis. Comorbidity was established through standardized self-report instruments. Information was collected on violence, severity, victims. Paranoid ideation was associated with violence (AOR 2.26, 95% CI 1.75–2.91), severity and frequency, even when controlling for effects of other psychotic-like-experiences. Associations were not explained by comorbid conditions, including substance dependence. Psychotic disorder was associated with violence and injury to the perpetrator but associations were explained by paranoid ideation. Individual associations between hypomania, thought insertion, hallucinations, and violence were nonsignificant after adjustments, and significantly associated only when comorbid with antisocial personality disorder. Strange experiences were only associated with intimate partner violence. Paranoid ideation on a psychosis-continuum in the general population was associated with violence. All other associations were explained by comorbidity. Further investigation should determine whether paranoid ideation among persons in the community require preventive interventions, similar to those presenting to mental health services. Nevertheless, risks are considerably increased for psychotic-like-experiences with co-occurring antisocial personality disorder.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am

Altered Neural Correlate of the Self-Agency Experience in First-Episode Schizophrenia-Spectrum Patients: An fMRI Study

Background:

The phenomenology of the clinical symptoms indicates that disturbance of the sense of self be a core marker of schizophrenia.

Aims:

To compare neural activity related to the self/other-agency judgment in patients with first-episode schizophrenia-spectrum disorders (FES, n = 35) and healthy controls (HC, n = 35).

Method:

A functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) using motor task with temporal distortion of the visual feedback was employed. A task-related functional connectivity was analyzed with the use of independent component analysis (ICA).

Results:

(1) During self-agency experience, FES showed a deficit in cortical activation in medial frontal gyrus (BA 10) and posterior cingulate gyrus, (BA 31; P < .05, Family-Wise Error [FWE] corrected). (2) Pooled-sample task-related ICA revealed that the self/other-agency judgment was dependent upon anti-correlated default mode and central-executive networks (DMN/CEN) dynamic switching. This antagonistic mechanism was substantially impaired in FES during the task.

Discussion:

During self-agency experience, FES demonstrate deficit in engagement of cortical midline structures along with substantial attenuation of anti-correlated DMN/CEN activity underlying normal self/other-agency discriminative processes.

Posted on 11 June 2016 | 8:17 am