Risk indicatorsforschizophrenia across different stagesof illness course

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AbstractSchizophrenia is associated with a range of negative personal, economic andso-cial consequences. Long duration of untreated psychosis can lead tounfavorable chronic illness courses and long-term low functioning. Hence, there is high inter-est in detecting vulnerable individualsearly in the prodromal phase before psy-chotic decompensation tointroduce earlyinterventions.There are various clini-cal, (neuro-)physiological, or cognitive markers and risk factors discussed as be-ing suitable for early detection of schizophrenia. The present dissertation inves-tigatedseveral of these risk indicators concerning their presence in vulnerable at-risk individuals and patients with manifest psychosisto gain further insights about their qualification for at-risk assessments. The three clinical samples (at-risk subjects, early, and chronic schizophrenia patients) werecompared to a healthy control group.Study (1)examinedthe event-related brain potential of the mismatch negativity and cognitive test performance as potential risk markers of schizophrenia. These two indices wereexpected to differentiate between healthy individuals and the clinical samples and as markers for illness progression they werehypothesized being further reducedin manifest psychotic patients compared to at-risk indi-viduals. Additionally, associations of these measures withsymptom severitywereassessed at index assessments and at6-month follow-up.Results yieldedsignificantly reduced mismatch negativity in schizophrenia patients, but incon-
IVspicuous findings in at-risk individuals.