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Abnormal cortisol levels reveal clues in children at risk for psychosis

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Key clinical point: A strategy for reducing the risk of psychosis early is to target patients’ hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function.

Major finding: Children with a family history of schizophrenia had significantly lower cortisol levels in the hour after waking up (mean -33.8 nmol min/L) than typically developing participants (mean 121.6 nmol min/L; d = -.73; P = .01). .

Data source: Findings are based on an analysis of morning and daytime cortisol levels, and psychosocial and neurocognitive assessments of 40 typically developing children, 22 children with a family history of schizophrenia and 33 children presenting with multiple antecedents of schizophrenia, all aged 11 to 14.

Disclosures: The study was supported by the National Institute for Health Research, the Bial Foundation, a NARSAD Young Investigator Award, the British Medical Association, the Waterloo Foundation and the Medical Research Council. No disclosures were reported.

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