Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Children at risk for schizophrenia show disordered brain networks Wayne State finds

A team of neuroscientists led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine professor has discovered stark developmental differences in brain network function in children of parents with schizophrenia when compared to those with no family history of mental illness.

The study, led by Vaibhav Diwadkar, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences and co-director of the Division of Brain Research and Imaging Neuroscience, was published in the March 2012 issue of the American Medical Association journal Archives of General Psychiatry and is titled, "Disordered Corticolimbic Interactions During Affective Processing in Children and Adolescents at Risk for Schizophrenia Revealed by Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Dynamic Causal Modeling."

The results provide significant insight into plausible origins of schizophrenia in terms of dysfunctional brain networks in adolescence, demonstrate sophisticated analyses of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data and clarify the understanding of developmental mechanisms in normal versus vulnerable brains. The resulting information can provide unique information to psychiatrists.

The study took place over three years, using MRI equipment at Harper University Hospital in Detroit. Using fMRI the researchers studied brain function in young individuals (8 to 20 years of age) as they observed pictures of human faces depicting positive, negative and neutral emotional expressions. Participants were recruited from the metropolitan Detroit area. Because children of patients are at highly increased risk for psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia, the team was interested in studying brain network function associated with emotional processing and the relevance of impaired network function as a potential predictor for schizophrenia.

To investigate brain networks, the researchers applied advanced analyses techniques to the fMRI data to investigate how brain regions dynamically communicate with each other. The study demonstrated that children at risk for the illness are characterized by reduced network communication and disordered network responses to emotional faces. This suggests that brain developmental processes are going awry in children whose parents have schizophrenia, suggesting this is a subgroup of interest to watch in future longitudinal studies.

"Brain network dysfunction associated with emotional processing is a potential predictor for the onset of emotional problems that may occur later in life and that are in turn associated with illnesses like schizophrenia," Diwadkar said. "If you clearly demonstrate there is something amiss in how the brain functions in children, there is something you can do about it. And that's what we're interested in."

The results don't show whether schizophrenia will eventually develop in the subjects. "It doesn't mean that they have it, or that they will have it," he said.

"The kids we studied were perfectly normal if you looked at them," he said. "By using functional brain imaging we are trying to get underneath behavior."

"We are able to do this because we can investigate dynamic changes in brain network function by assessing changes in the fMRI signal. This allowed us to capture dramatic differences in how regions in the brain network are interacting with each other," he said.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, schizophrenia affects men and women with equal frequency, but generally manifests in men in their late teens or early 20s, and in women in their late 20s or early 30s.

Diwadkar worked with Wayne State medical student Sunali Wadehra, M.A., and colleagues at Harvard Medical School and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Global collaborator Simon Eickhoff, Dr.Med., of Research Center Jülich and the Institute of Clinical Neuroscience and Medical Psychology at Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf, in Germany, also provided significant insight.

Wayne State University is one of the nation's pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit

Julie O'Connor | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>