Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Dr. Wendy Kates, Ph.D.
Dr. Larry Lewandowski, Ph.D.
Arts and Science
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Child Psychology | Clinical Psychology | Health Psychology | Psychology
Up to 30% of young adults with velocardiofacial syndrome (VCFS; 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome) develop schizophrenia or psychosis. As a result, identifying the neuroanatomic trajectories that increase risk for psychosis in youth with VCFS is of great interest. Pinpointing a specific subregion of the brain that has a pattern of change in VCFS could aid in further research of schizophrenia and help to distinguish neuroanatomic changes.
In this study, high-resolution anatomic magnetic resonance brain images and measures of psychiatric function (i.e. symptoms of psychosis) were recorded in 40 youth with VCFS, 14 unaffected siblings, and 19 age-matched community control subjects at two time points: between mid-adolescence (approximately 15 years of age) and late adolescence (approximately 18 years of age). These data were then analyzed for correlations between reduced brain volume in various regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and symptom scores for early, subthreshold negative symptoms, positive symptoms, and total symptoms of psychosis.
Results indicated a significant relationship between the reduction in certain PFC subregions and both negative symptoms and total symptom scores. Prefrontal cortex reductions were not associated with an increase in positive symptoms, although this was the expected finding. Thus, a reduction in PFC volume in VCFS patients cannot be linked to the onset of psychosis or schizophrenia prior to age 18. It appears that specific PFC subregion volumes that decrease in adolescence may contribute to a higher incidence of negative psychiatric symptoms in VCFS patients. Perhaps when patients reach the age of typical schizophrenia onset we will see a stronger relationship.
Addonizio, Nicole, "The Prefrontal Cortex: A Predictor of Psychotic Symptoms in Children with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome?" (2012). Honors Capstone Projects - All. 126.
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