Approaches for adolescents with an affected family member with schizophrenia

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Prospective studies of adolescents at risk for schizophrenia (high-risk studies) can shed light on the possible premorbid precursors of schizophrenia. Recent studies have provided evidence of neurobehavioral, brain structural, physiologic, and neurochemical deficits in adolescent nonpsychotic high-risk relatives that may date back to childhood or earlier. These results are collectively providing a critical window into the inter-relationships between genetic predisposition, neurodevelopment, and premorbid indicators of risk in schizophrenia. Convergent approaches are inherently powerful in mutually informing each other in enriching the knowledge of the risk factors that predict the eventual onset of schizophrenia. Defining such reliable predictors of the onset of schizophrenia may provide us with the tools to better understand the etiology and pathophysiology of the illness, and may pave the way for innovative methods of treatment and possibly prevention. The authors review the relevant literature in this promising field of inquiry and summarize recent findings from high-risk studies.

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