Vulnerability to psychosis: How to detect it

A new study has identified an early vulnerability brain marker for psychosis. A research team led by University of Montreal and Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center shows that an exaggerated emotional response from the brain to non-threatening and non-emotional cues predicts the emergence of the first signs of psychotic symptoms in late adolescence. The results of this study were published on March 21 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

These results are consistent with hypotheses about how psychosis develops. “Delusions and persecution ideas in psychosis appear as a way to make sense of a person’s tendency to attribute salience to neutral and non-salient environmental stimuli,” explained the study’s lead author, Josiane Bourque, a doctoral student at UdeM’s Department of Psychiatry.

This finding could have important clinical repercussion for early identification of at-risk youth. “We were able to detect brain-related abnormalities in teens before psychotic experiences and substance misuse begin to cause significant cognitive impairment and require medical intervention,” said Patricia Conrod, senior author and professor at UdeM’s Department of Psychiatry. “It has yet to be determined whether exaggerated emotional reactivity to non-salient cues can be modified in young adolescents and whether such modifications can benefit at-risk youth,” further explained Conrod. “This is something that we hope to investigate as a follow-up to these findings.”

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Wish they actually had some sort of early treatment to go with this.

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Wish they had this knowledge back in 1999 before I started showing symptoms. Just being put on lithium with no explanation and no warning from a doctor was not enough to deter me from smoking cannabis again. If I had known how bad psychosis was or that it even existed, I may have changed my ways.

“Delusions and persecution ideas in psychosis appear as a way to make sense of a person’s tendency to attribute salience to neutral and non-salient environmental stimuli,”

This really falls in line with our auditory gating (P50 evoked potential). Too much meaning is given the cacophony of voices and sounds, the fluctuations in their tone, that gives them the quality of making “sense”. This happens to me occasionaly, usually at night, many voices overlap as they speak to each other and on one hand you can sense it is complete gibberish or some pigeon language, yet I “understand” the content of the conversations, sometimes in great detail