Predicting psychopathology: What has the familial high risk strategy taught us?

Presentation First Author: 
Matcheri Keshavan MD

Neurocognitive and neurobiological alterations in schizophrenia (SZ) have been utilized as potential predictive trait markers that may predate the illness and manifest in relatives of patients. Adolescence is the age of maximum vulnerability to the onset of SZ and may be an opportune window to observe such biobehavioral changes close to but prior to the onset of psychosis. I will review the extant studies assessing premorbid alterations in young relatives at high risk (HR) for SZ. We also provide some additional data pertaining to the relation of these deficits to later psychopathology using longitudinal data from the Pittsburgh Risk Evaluation Program (PREP). Cognitive deficits and elevations in schizotypy are noted in the HR population. Premorbid cognitive and psychopathological deficits may be related to brain structural, neurochemical and functional abnormalities, underlining the neurobiological basis of this illness. Schizotypy might predict later emergence of a broad range of psychopathology including, but not limited to psychosis as well as functional disability in at-risk subjects and may be targets of early remediation and preventive strategies.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
January, 2015
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