Research Topic

Understanding Early Detection Markers in Schizophrenia

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Schizophrenia is a chronic debilitating disorder that affects 1% of the population. It refers to a heterogeneous set of symptoms including psychosis, cognitive deficits, and social or functional impairments, and typically emerges in young adulthood. It is of note, though, that several symptoms as well as ...

Schizophrenia is a chronic debilitating disorder that affects 1% of the population. It refers to a heterogeneous set of symptoms including psychosis, cognitive deficits, and social or functional impairments, and typically emerges in young adulthood. It is of note, though, that several symptoms as well as other cognitive, neurobiological, and neuroanatomical indices are already impaired prior to diagnosis in individuals at increased genetic or clinical risk for the disorder. As the study of schizophrenic processes in patients has important methodological limitations (e.g. the effects of illness chronicity), the study of high-risk populations can provide valuable information on the early mechanisms associated with schizophrenia. This information (a) can be further elaborated and applied at a clinical level in early-intervention programs and prevention regimes for schizophrenia and spectrum disorders and (b) can help identify individuals with a higher risk for converting into the disease state (it is well-established now that only a percentage of high-risk individuals are typically diagnosed with either schizophrenia or related disorders).

Animal studies are also critical for understanding the neuronal mechanisms that may be involved in the emergence of schizophrenia. Revealing the effect of genetic risk factors in the brain, identifying molecular, biochemical, electrophysiological, or neuroimaging biomarkers at different time points during development and understanding the neurodevelopmental trajectory of schizophrenia symptoms will further enable the delineation of underlying mechanisms for the manifestation of different symptoms.

This Research Topic will provide a collection of both animal and human studies investigating behavioral and other phenotypes as well as neurobiological adaptations that can be used as biomarkers to help predict the emergence of schizophrenia. Contributions can be original research papers, systematic review articles, and meta-analyses that provide a comprehensive overview of the current literature. Indicative subjects include:

a) Behavioral and neurobiological adaptations in the juvenile or adolescent period in well-characterized animal models of schizophrenia

b) Behavioral and neurobiological adaptations in the juvenile or adolescent period in high-risk animal models of schizophrenia

c) Understanding the developmental trajectory of cognitive and emotional processes that are affected in schizophrenia

d) Studies in humans exploring neurocognitive, neuroanatomical, psychophysiological and other early-onset correlates of schizophrenia

e) Studies employing translational methodologies to examine early schizophrenic processes


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