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Progressive brain changes in children and adolescents with early-onset psychosis: A meta-analysis of longitudinal MRI studies

David Fraguas; Covadonga M Díaz Caneja; Laura Pina Camacho; Joost Janssen; Celso Arango. Progressive brain changes in children and adolescents with early-onset psychosis: A meta-analysis of longitudinal MRI studies. Schizophrenia research. 173 – 3, pp. 132 – 141. 06/2016. ISSN 1573-2509.

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Studies on longitudinal brain volume changes in patients with early-onset psychosis (EOP) are particularly valuable for understanding the neurobiological basis of brain abnormalities associated with psychosis. However, findings have not been consistent across studies in this population. We aimed to conduct a meta-analysis on progressive brain volume changes in children and adolescents with EOP.

METHODS: A systematic literature search of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies comparing longitudinal brain volume changes in children and adolescents with EOP and healthy controls was conducted. The annualized rates of relative change in brain volume by region of interest (ROI) were used as raw data for the meta-analysis. The effect of age, sex, duration of illness, and specific diagnosis on volume change was also evaluated.

RESULTS: Five original studies with 156 EOP patients (mean age at baseline MRI in the five studies ranged from 13.3 to 16.6years, 67.31% males) and 163 age- and sex-matched healthy controls, with a mean duration of follow-up of 2.46years (range 2.02-3.40), were included. Frontal gray matter (GM) was the only region in which significant differences in volume change over time were found between patients and controls (Hedges’ g -0.435, 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.678 to -0.193, p<0.001). Younger age at baseline MRI was associated with greater loss of temporal GM volume over time in patients as compared with controls (p=0.005). Within patients, a diagnosis of schizophrenia was related to greater occipital GM volume loss over time (p=0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Compared with healthy individuals, EOP patients show greater progressive frontal GM loss over the first few years after illness onset. Age at baseline MRI and diagnosis of schizophrenia appear to be significant moderators of particular specific brain volume changes.

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