Some “irregularities” in the human brain are present long before a person develops schizophrenia symptoms, according to a research published in the JAMA Psychiatry Review.
In a previous study, researchers at Yale University in the US found that schizophrenia was associated with significant changes in the connections between the chamber and the frontal cortex in the brain. The chamber is an important relay system in the brain and the frontal cortex is involved in the highest level of thinking.
In this new study, the researchers found that these changes are already present before the diagnosis of schizophrenia, a serious mental illness. The findings offer a potential “biomarker” for the disease that affects 1% of people around the world, the researchers said.
“Until this study, we did not know whether this pattern was the result of the disease or a potential byproduct of drugs or some other factor,” said lead author Alan Antisevich, assistant professor of psychiatry.
“We have shown that these same anomalies already exist in people who are at greater risk of developing psychosis,” he explained.
Schizophrenia usually develops at the end of puberty, or early adulthood, but patients often experience early warning signs, such as mild suspicion or head voices early. In this new study, the researchers analyzed the brains of 243 people with early warning signs of schizophrenia and 154 healthy people, and then followed their course of health for two years.
Scientists, however, point out that further research is needed to confirm whether the changes in the brain identified in this study are those that cause upcoming schizophrenia or not.