A ‘Brain Wave’ Test for Schizophrenia Risk?

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There is a significant need for objective tests that could improve clinical prediction of future psychosis.

In this new study, the researchers followed a group of people clinically at high risk for developing psychosis. They found that the individuals who went on to develop schizophrenia had smaller MMN than the subgroup who did not. This finding suggests that MMN might be useful in predicting the later development of schizophrenia.

One strategy has been to determine whether physiologic measures that are abnormal in people diagnosed with schizophrenia might also be useful in estimating the risk for developing this illness. This is the strategy taken by German and Swiss researchers in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry.

They used electroencephalography (EEG), which measures the brain’s electrical activity or “brain waves,” to study the brain’s response to commonly and rarely presented tones that differed in length.

When these rare “deviant” tones are presented to healthy people, the brain automatically generates a particular electrical wave called mismatch negativity, or MMN. People diagnosed with schizophrenia have reduced MMN…..

Elsevier (2011, May 17). A ‘brain wave’ test for schizophrenia risk?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 4
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110517105148.htm

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