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Failure to deactivate medial prefrontal cortex in people at high risk for psychosis

Falkenberg I, Chaddock C, Murray RM, McDonald C, Modinos G, Bramon E, Walshe M, Broome M, McGuire P, Allen P.

Abstract
 

Impaired working memory is a core feature of schizophrenia and is linked with altered engagement the lateral prefrontal cortex. Although altered PFC activation has been reported in people with increased risk of psychosis, at present it is not clear if this neurofunctional alteration differs between familial and clinical risk states and/or increases in line with the level of psychosis risk. We addressed this issue by using functional MRI and a working memory paradigm to study familial and clinical high-risk groups. We recruited 17 subjects at ultra-high-risk (UHR) for psychosis, 10 non-affected siblings of patients with schizophrenia (familial high risk [FHR]) and 15 healthy controls. Subjects were scanned while performing the N-back working memory task. There was a relationship between the level of task-related deactivation in the medial PFC and precuneus and the level of psychosis risk, with deactivation weakest in the UHR group, greatest in healthy controls, and at an intermediate level in the FHR group. In the high-risk groups, activation in the precuneus was associated with the level of negative symptoms. These data suggest that increased vulnerability to psychosis is associated with a failure to deactivate in the medial PFC and precuneus during a working memory task, and appears to be most evident in subjects at clinical, as opposed to familial high risk.

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New levels of schizophrenia care through optimal delivery of treatment

Available to download for your personal use - Professor Emsley presents a selection of slides from ‘Empowering the Healthcare community: Reaching new levels in schizophrenia care’ as developed by the PsyAcademy Continuous Treatment Expert Committee.

 

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Therapeutic actions of antipsychotics

Download lectures and guides on antipsychotics by Dr. Stephen M. Stahl:

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