Changes in the brain occur before disease is diagnosed
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder, affecting 1% of the population worldwide. The disease usually develops in the early adult years. Patients have difficulties distinguishing what is real from what is imagined and can sometimes have auditory hallucinations. Common symptoms may include abnormal social behaviour, confusion and lack of motivation.
New study shows that brain irregularities start developing before a person develops schizophrenia and gets diagnosed. Previous research of the Yale University linked schizophrenia with major changes in connections between different parts of the brain: the thalamus and the frontal cortex. According to the new study, these connection changes are already present before patient is diagnosed, offering doctors the possibility of using these findings as a specific marker for the disease, better and earlier predict diagnosis.
“Up until this study, we did not know whether this pattern was a result of the disease or a potential byproduct of medication or some other factor. We show these same abnormalities already exist in people who are at higher risk for developing psychosis” study lead author, assistant professor of psychiatry Dr. Alan Anticevic declared.
The brains of 243 people with early warning signs of schizophrenia and 154 healthy people were analyzed and observed for a period of two years, but researchers consider further large group research to confirm that the brain transformation can be considered a typical sign for schizophrenia.