(Press-News.org) TORONTO (March 18, 2015) - People with a severe form of schizophrenia have major differences in their brain networks compared to others with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and healthy individuals, a new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) shows.
The study, which used a novel approach to map brain networks, was led by researchers at the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at CAMH and published in this week's JAMA Psychiatry.
"Finding ways to help this particular group of people with schizophrenia is a priority as recovery is unlikely, even up to 20 years after the initial diagnosis. Social isolation, lack of work and relationships, and chronic disability are very common," says Dr. Aristotle Voineskos, senior author on the paper and Director of the Slaight Family Centre for Youth in Transition at CAMH.
Schizophrenia, which affects one in 100 people, is generally known for symptoms of delusions and hallucinations, which can be treated with antipsychotic medications. However, lack of motivation and social withdrawal are also characteristic symptoms of the illness. These are known as negative symptoms.
Approximately one in five people with schizophrenia experience these negative symptoms in a pronounced way, says lead author Dr. Anne Wheeler, CAMH post-doctoral fellow. At this point, there is no treatment for negative symptoms, yet they have the greatest impact on a person's daily functioning once the psychosis is managed.
The value of having a biological, brain-based indicator is that it may help identify this group of patients when they initially present for treatment of psychosis. Otherwise it can take years to determine social disability through clinical observation, says Dr. Voineskos.
The study involved magnetic resonance brain imaging (MRI) with 128 people with schizophrenia and 130 healthy individuals at two sites, and with 39 patients with bipolar disorder and 43 healthy individuals at a third site. Patients with bipolar disorder also experience psychotic symptoms but not negative symptoms, so these patients served as an additional comparison group. The three sites were at CAMH, the Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York, and the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany.
Researchers used a unique approach called network analysis to study the overall network density, or level of connectivity, in the brain.
"We found alterations in a number of relationships between brain regions among those with more severe schizophrenia compared with the other groups, including those with less severe schizophrenia," says Dr. Voineskos. "This provides strong evidence that schizophrenia is not just one brain disorder."
The study also confirms previous research from his team showing changes in the white matter tissues connecting those same regions in the brain, among those with more severe schizophrenia.
These impaired networks are important to the brain processes related to negative symptoms and social function that patients experience, the authors write. Based on these findings, the investigators are also funded by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health to conduct a multi-centre study of a large number of people with schizophrenia to establish the full range of impairment in brain circuitry that predicts social impairment.
Through this research, specific brain circuits can be targeted to develop new therapeutic approaches for negative symptoms and social impairment. Such studies are now underway at CAMH using virtual reality technology and brain stimulation.
The current study was funded through the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, and the CAMH Foundation.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, and one of the world's leading research centres in its field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit http://www.camh.ca.
COLLEGE STATION - A ground-breaking Texas A&M AgriLife Research-led study on corn has identified useful gene variations for yield increases, drought tolerance and aflatoxin resistance that could make a real difference to Texas producers in the years to come, according to researchers.
The study, titled "Genome Wide Association Study for Drought, Aflatoxin Resistance, and Important Agronomic Traits of Maize Hybrids in the Sub-Tropics" was recently published in PLOS ONE, an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication.
The study included the growing years ...
From computers, tablets, and smartphones to cars, homes, and public transportation, our world is more digitally connected every day. The technology required to support the exchange of massive quantities of data is critical. That's why scientists and engineers are intent on developing faster computing units capable of supporting much larger amounts of data transfer and data processing.
A new study published in Nature Photonics by Tel Aviv University researchers finds that new optical materials could serve as the nuts and bolts of future ultra-high-speed optical computing ...
TORONTO, March 18, 2015--Researchers have defined a new bodily process in mice that may explain why blood oxygen levels are lower for patients with cystic fibrosis when they get a lung infection.
"Infected areas of the lung are not as capable as healthy tissue at adding oxygen to the bloodstream, but no one has shown why this is the case," said Dr. Wolfgang Kuebler, a scientist in the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science of St. Michael's Hospital. "We've shown that the protein produced by a gene known as CFTR is required to direct blood flow away from infected ...
This news release is available in Spanish. Using discarded electronic boards, the UPV/EHU researcher Andoni Salbidegoitia has, in collaboration with international researchers, developed a system for obtaining clean hydrogen that can be used as fuel. The researchers have already registered the patent of the process in Japan.
The Chemical Technologies for Environmental Sustainability (TQSA) Group of the Department of Chemical Engineering of the UPV/EHU's Faculty of Science and Technology is aiming to make use of discarded plastic as effectively as possible from the ...
Bats are not as stereotyped when they hunt as previously believed. New research shows that these flying mammals are capable of making ultra-fast decisions about how to attack their prey - or maybe even call off the attack. It takes only milliseconds.
Bats use echolocation for orientation. They emit ultrasonic sounds, which hit potential prey nearby, sending an echo back to the bat. From this echo the bat can define where the prey is and attack it. A new study has examined how hunting bats react when approaching their prey. The study concludes that bats are capable of ...
Imagine a loved relative suffering from cancer - and you could not afford a treatment because the drugs are too expensive. The Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib) developed a method with the power to reduce production costs of highly valued drugs significantly.
Without antibodies we would be at the mercy of pathogens or cancer cells. Therapeutic antibodies are used as passive vaccines, for cancer therapy or for controlling autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. According to "bccresearch.com" the global market for antibody drugs was worth nearly ...
Researchers have fine-tuned a technique for coating gold nanorods with silica shells, allowing engineers to create large quantities of the nanorods and giving them more control over the thickness of the shell. Gold nanorods are being investigated for use in a wide variety of biomedical applications, and this advance paves the way for more stable gold nanorods and for chemically functionalizing the surface of the shells.
Gold nanorods have a lot of potential applications, because they have a surface plasmon resonance - meaning they can absorb and scatter light. And by ...
This news release is available in Spanish. Alzheimer's disease is the most significant cause of dementia in the elderly: it affects over 35 million people worldwide. It is reckoned that Alzheimer's could reach epidemic proportions in developed countries unless therapies to cure or prevent it are obtained. Studies conducted so far reveal that the therapies are more effective when they are applied before the brain has become severely damaged. What is more, the spotting of early phases of the disease may help to develop new treatments. Right now, to make a clinical diagnosis ...
A new microarray-based tool, called VaginArray, offers the potential to provide a fast, reliable and low-cost assessment of vaginal health and diagnoses of infections. The research is published ahead of print March 2, in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
The VaginArray has 17 probe sets, each one specific for one of the most representative bacterial species inhabiting the vaginal ecosystem, including those associated with both healthy and unhealthy conditions. Each probe set is designed to be complementary to the ...
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories' Z machine have helped untangle a long-standing mystery of astrophysics: why iron is found spattered throughout Earth's mantle, the roughly 2,000-mile thick region between Earth's core and its crust.
At first blush, it seemed more reasonable that iron arriving from collisions between Earth and planetesimals -- ranging from several meters to hundreds of kilometers in diameter -- during Earth's late formative stages should have powered bullet-like directly to Earth's core, where so much iron already exists.