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Psychotic Symptoms Tied to Altered Brain Dynamics

Psychotic Symptoms Tied to Altered Brain Dynamics

A new study finds that healthy people who experience subtle symptoms like those in psychotic disorders, such as hallucinations and delusions, have altered brain dynamics — alterations in patterns of brain activity that reoccur, or “states” that the brain moves in and out of over time.

Previous studies of PLEs have found alterations in specific brain networks, but the findings reveal that it is not just damaged connections but the amount of time in uncommon brain states that may contribute to psychosis.

“These altered brain dynamics are important because they provide a new biomarker for subclinical psychosis,” said Dr. Anita Barber of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in New York, first author of the study. It appears in the journal Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.

The participants were all considered healthy, yet their subtle symptoms demonstrated unique brain fluctuations that could potentially be used to identify signs of psychosis.

In the study, Barber and colleagues analyzed brain imaging data from the Human Connectome Project of 76 otherwise healthy participants reporting PLEs and 153 control participants. Those experiencing PLEs spent less time in a more “typical” reoccurring brain state involving cognitive networks.

They also spent more time in a state characterized by excessive communication in visual regions of the brain, which could be the basis for visual hallucinations experienced in psychosis.

The study didn’t include people with a psychotic disorder, but the findings line up with brain alterations found in patients with schizophrenia.

According to Dr. Cameron Carter, Editor of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, the study is an important example of how sophisticated imaging techniques improve diagnostic capabilities.

Carter said technology can measure altered brain dynamics during brain transitions. The new data is then used to identify subtle risk states or even track the transition from subclinical to clinical psychopathology.

“This has implications for improving health and well-being and for preventing conversion to a psychotic disorder,” said Barber.

PLEs affect many more people than the number who will be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder, and can cause impairments in social and occupational functioning similar to, though less severe than, those experienced by people with psychosis.

Source: Elsevier

Psychotic Symptoms Tied to Altered Brain Dynamics

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2017). Psychotic Symptoms Tied to Altered Brain Dynamics. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 18, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2017/11/02/psychotic-symptoms-tied-to-altered-brain-dynamics/128229.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 2 Nov 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Nov 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.