The relationship between brain structure, electrophysiology and synchrony in healthy subjects and patients with first-episode psychosis

Proposal details

Title: The relationship between brain structure, electrophysiology and synchrony in healthy subjects and patients with first-episode psychosis
Research Area(s): Schizophrenia and Allied Psychoses
Background: One of the greatest challenges facing modern neuroscience is understanding the relationship between the structure, electrophysiolgy and electrical synchrony of the brain. While these three indices of neural functioning are clearly inter-related, the mechanisms linking them are as yet unknown. This challenge is especially relevant in the case of patients with first-episode psychosis, given the recent rise of the 'connectivity' models of psychosis which emphasise the role of the dysfunctional neural integration in the development of the disease.
Aims: Based on our previous work, we predicted that in healthy subjects, EEG power could be described as a function of regional grey matter volume and the electrical synchrony of the relevant neural activity. Following from this, we predicted that patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) would show a reduction in fronto-parietal grey matter volume relative to controls, but would exhibit a corresponding increase in absolute regional EEG power. Based on our model, we predicted that this abnormal elevation in EEG power would correspond to an abnormal increase in neural synchrony in the relvant frequency bands.
Method: Patients and controls will all undergo a structural MRI scan and a resting and task-related EEG scan. Regional grey matter volumes, power spectra and phase synchrony measures will be extracted for each subject. The relationship between these three indices will be investigated for both patients and controls, and between-group differences will be explored.