Negative symptoms and longitudinal grey matter tissue loss in adolescents at risk of psychosis: preliminary findings from a 6-year follow-up study

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Abstract

Background

Negative symptoms are perhaps the most disabling feature of schizophrenia. Their pathogenesis remains poorly understood and it has been difficult to assess their development over time with imaging techniques.

Aims

To examine, using tensor-based structural imaging techniques, whether there are regions of progressive grey matter volume change associated with the development of negative symptoms.

Method

A total of 43 adolescents at risk of psychosis were examined using magnetic resonance imaging and whole brain tensor-based morphometry at two time points, 6 years apart.

Results

When comparing the individuals with significant negative symptoms with the remaining participants, we identified five regions of significant grey matter tissue loss over the 6-year period. These regions included the left temporal lobe, the left cerebellum, the left posterior cingulate and the left inferior parietal sulcus.

Conclusions

Negative symptoms are associated with longitudinal grey matter tissue loss. The regions identified include areas associated with psychotic symptoms more generally but also include regions uniquely associated with negative symptoms.

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