The First Episode Psychosis Project

Proposal details

Title: The First Episode Psychosis Project
Research Area(s): Schizophrenia and Allied Psychoses
Background: Psychosis is a severe mental disorder that will affect approximately 3% of the population at some point in their life. Hallucinations, delusions, disorganised thought and blunted emotion are common symptoms of psychosis. Despite the considerable research into psychosis, its causes and its effects on the brain remain unclear.
Aims: This study has four general aims: 1. Identify abnormalities in brain structure and brain function in patients with psychosis at the time of their first psychotic episode. 2. Investigate the relationship between clinical profile, brain structure and brain function in first-episode psychosis (FEP). 3. Investigate the relationship between brain structure and brain function in FEP, compared to observed relationships in matched healthy controls 4. Predict FEP patients' short to medium term clinical outcome on the basis of their brain structure and brain function at the time of first psychotic episode.
Method: Patients who have recently experienced their first psychotic episode were invited to participate in this study. Data on a number of brain structure and function measures were compared to age and sex matched healthy controls. FEP patients' clinical profile was assessed via a structured clinical interview carried out by a psychiatrist. Brain strucure was assessed with structural MRI, while brain function was assessed with functional MRI, EEG, and a standardised neuropsychological test battery.