MRI shows that people who are at risk of psychosis, such as schizophrenia for example, have dysfunctions in a specific area of the brain.
Schizophrenia, delusional disorder or schizo-affective disorder: all are psychotic disorders. Detecting these diseases early can better manage them. Researchers at Missouri-Columbia University publish the results of their study, which could improve screening. They find the existence of markers to predict psychotic disorders.
An abnormal level of dopamine
"The major goal of our study," says John Kerns, co-author, "is to understand the origin of the risk of psychosis in order to avoid years of suffering." The team of scientists is part of a finding: psychotic disorders are associated with too much production of dopamine in the striatum, a brain structure. This molecule allows communication between neurons and is related to all our behaviors. The role of the striatum is to preserve impressions about what we have experienced.
For researchers, the abnormal level of dopamine modifies the memory preserved after certain experiences in psychotic people, and causes maladaptive behavior because of poor perceptions of a situation. "Malfunction is most noticeable when individuals have to perform tasks based on how they feel, whether positive or negative," adds the professor. These results were obtained by performing MRIs in patients with psychosis. Researchers now want to go further and study what treatments would reverse the trend and find "normal" MRI.
Schizophrenia is the most common psychotic disorder. According to Inserm, 600,000 people in France would be affected and one in two would make a suicide attempt.