Potential risk for healthy siblings to develop schizophrenia: evidence from pattern classification with whole-brain connectivity

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Recent resting-state functional connectivity MRI studies using group-level statistical analysis have demonstrated the inheritable characters of schizophrenia. The objective of the present study was to use pattern classification as a means to investigate schizophrenia inheritance based on the whole-brain resting-state functional connectivity at the individual subject level. One-against-one pattern classifications were made amongst three groups (i.e. patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, healthy siblings, and healthy controls after preprocessing), resulting in an 80.4% separation between patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls, a 77.6% separation between schizophrenia patients and their healthy siblings, and a 78.7% separation between healthy siblings and healthy controls, respectively. These results suggest that the healthy siblings of schizophrenia patients have an altered resting-state functional connectivity pattern compared with healthy controls. Thus, healthy siblings may have a potential higher risk for developing schizophrenia compared with the general population. Moreover, this pattern differed from that of schizophrenia patients and may contribute to the normal behavior exhibition of healthy siblings in daily life.

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