Brain patterns signs of mental illness risk
London: British scientists believe they have found specific patterns of brain activity in children and young people which could be signs or "markers" of those who will later go on to develop mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.
Researchers from Nottingham University, who presented their study at the Forum for European Neuroscience in Amsterdam, said the patterns suggest it may be possible in future to identify those at risk of becoming ill before they develop symptoms.
"If we can identify people who are at particularly high risk of developing schizophrenia, perhaps using neurocognitive brain markers, then we might be able to reduce that risk and also help them to function better," said Dr Maddie Groom, who worked on the study and gave a briefing to reporters in London.
"If we give them a better start, they may encounter the illness in a more positive way and not get quite so ill."
Hundreds of millions of people worldwide are affected by mental, behavioral and neurological illnesses such as schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, epilepsy and dementia.
Many people who go on to develop diverse mental health problems will have a history of behavioral problems going back to childhood, but experts say the problem with finding them at that stage is that differences then are often extremely subtle.
In one study, Groom and her colleagues investigated looked at the healthy siblings of people with schizophrenia, who also have a very slightly increased risk of developing schizophrenia compared with the general population.
Using brain imaging to read activity levels, the scientists asked the siblings to perform task which involved playing an alien-zapping computer game in which they needed to respond quickly, and crucially, halt the urge to respond if the wrong kind of alien popped up. The task was called a "go, no-go" task.
"When we measured the brain activity of the siblings of people with schizophrenia, their brain activity was reduced at the time when they needed to pay attention to the stimulus, and when they needed to inhibit their response," Groom explained.
She said this suggested the subtle differences in brain activity may act as a risk marker for the disorder.
In a second study, scientists compared brain activity of children with ADHD -- a mental disorder that affects between 8 and 12 percent of children, and 4 percent of adults worldwide.
The researchers used the same "go, no-go" task in various scenarios, including when the children were taking their medication, Ritalin, and when they were not, and then using an additional system of rewards and penalties.
Millions of people take ADHD drugs including Novartis Ritalin, which is known generically as methylphenidate, and Shire Plc`s Adderall and Vyvanse. In the United States alone, 2008 sales for these drugs was about $4.8 billion, according to data from IMS Health.
Groom`s results showed that children who were taking medication, and children given an incentive, performed better than those who had neither medicines nor incentives.
This suggests, Groom said, that doctors may be able to find new ways to treat children with ADHD using a combination of behavioral strategies and drugs.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- IAF Mirage fighter plane lands on Yamuna Expressway!
- 'Maggi' under regulatory scanner for excess amount of lead, MSG
- Watch: Michelle Obama's 'Gimme Five' fitness video
- When Subramanian Swamy shocked people at a wedding!
- Mumbaikars join hands to save Pakistani teen with rare illness
- Mumbai: Diamond export company denies job to Muslim youth
- PM Modi speaks at Golden Jubilee celebrations of poet Dinkar’s works
- Aapke Sitare: Astro prediction for May 21, 2015
- Mirage 2000 fighter jet landing was part of capability demonstration: IAF
- DNA: IAF Mirage 2000 fighter plane lands successfully on Yamuna expressway
- Vadodara: Policemen seen dancing with bar girls
- Coal scam: Naveen Jindal, Madhu Koda and others get bail
- DNA: Osama documents show 'Indian brother in Madinah' financed al Qaeda
- One year of Modi govt: Arun Jaitley addresses press conference
- ISIS executes Syrian fighter using anti-tank rocket launcher
- CBSE Class 10 Results 2015 to be announced today?
- IAF jet lands on Yamuna expressway
- Check Jharkhand Board jac.nic.in: Class 12th Art Results 2015 declared
- Fawad Khan doesn’t want intimate scenes with Sonam Kapoor?
- Log on to apeamcet.org AP EAMCET Results 2015: Andhra Pradesh EAMCET Marks and AP EAMCET Ranks 2015 declared
- We hire only non-Muslim candidates, diamond export firm tells Muslim youth
- Is MSG in 'Maggi' noodles harmful for you?
- Mumbai firm booked for denying Muslim MBA graduate job on religious grounds, probe ordered
- Jayalalithaa makes public appearance, meets Governor: As it happened
- New IPL rules could see Chennai Super Kings lose MS Dhoni
- `Piku` hits jackpot, does Rs 100 crore business worldwide
- Anurag Kashyap to bid goodbye to India, settle in 'cinema-friendly' France!
- IPL 2015, Qualifier 2, Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore: Preview
- Geelani's passport application incomplete, cannot be processed: MEA
- Tamil Nadu SSLC Results 2015 on tnresults.nic.in