The type of thalamic dysconnectivity usually seen in patients with schizophrenia has been observed in people at high risk for psychosis. Further, it was seen more prominently in individuals who later went on to develop full psychosis, according to a multicenter, two-year, case-control study.
The trial involved 397 subjects between 12 and 35 years of age; 243 were at clinical high risk of psychosis (including 21 of whom developed psychosis), and 154 healthy controls.
Investigators found thalamocortical dyconnectivity in the at risk group; it was particularly elevated in those who developed psychosis. There was both significant hyperconnectivity between the thalamus and prefrontal areas, and thalamic hyperconnectivity with sensory motor areas in the at-risk group. In both instances, it was more pronounced in those with full-blown illness.
Investigators concluded that thalamic connectivity may help predict risk of developing psychosis.
Citation: Tsai A, Lucas M, Kawachi. Association of Thalamic Dysconnectivity and Conversion to Psychosis in Youth and Young Adults at Elevated Clinical Risk. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015; Published online Aug 12, 2015. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.0566.