Adolescent brain development links risk of schizophrenia, study
CGTN

Abnormal brain structure during adolescence might foreshadow a higher risk of schizophrenia in adulthood, according to a recent Chinese study.

A hypothesis about neurodevelopmental disorders of schizophrenia thought that neurological defects caused by genetic and environmental factors during synaptic pruning in adolescence and early adulthood lead to increased risk of mental illness in adulthood.

Scientists from the Institute of Science and Technology for Brain-inspired Intelligence of Fudan University have discovered that the abnormal volume of putamen, a subcortical brain area, in adolescents indicates a higher possibility of the development of schizophrenia after adulthood.

Abnormal brain structure during adolescence might foreshadow a higher risk of schizophrenia in adulthood, said scientists. /VCG Photo

Abnormal brain structure during adolescence might foreshadow a higher risk of schizophrenia in adulthood, said scientists. /VCG Photo

The scientists sampled the brain structural images of healthy adolescents with an average age of around 14 years old, and based on a computational analysis of more than 10,000 data samples of imaging genetics from over 20 institutions in six countries including the U.S. and the UK, they found that grey matter volume of putamen in adolescents is linked to a genetic variation, while the latter had already been found related to risk for schizophrenia.

"One of the major difficulties this kind of research needs to overcome is that genetic control of brain changes with age. Previous studies have not strictly controlled the confounding effect of age on the gene-brain association, and this confounding effect may blur such association," said Luo Qiang, first author of the research.

The findings help reveal the generative mechanism of schizophrenia. It also provides new ideas for preemptive intervention before the onset of clinical symptoms.

The study was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

(Cover via VCG)

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency