Early Detection and Prevention of Schizophrenic Psychosis : a review

Psychotic disorders often run a chronic course and are associated with a considerable emotional and social impact for patients and their relatives. Therefore, early recognition, combined with the possibility of preventive intervention, is urgently warranted since the duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) significantly determines the further course of the disease. In addition to established diagnostic tools, neurobiological factors in the development of schizophrenic psychoses are increasingly being investigated. It is shown that numerous molecular alterations already exist before the clinical onset of the disease. As schizophrenic psychoses are not elicited by a single mutation in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequence, epigenetics likely constitute the missing link between environmental influences and disease development and could potentially serve as a biomarker. The results from transcriptomic and proteomic studies point to a dysregulated immune system, likely evoked by epigenetic alterations. Despite the increasing knowledge of the neurobiological mechanisms involved in the development of psychotic disorders, further research efforts with large population-based study designs are needed to identify suitable biomarkers. In conclusion, a combination of blood examinations, functional imaging techniques, electroencephalography (EEG) investigations and polygenic risk scores should be considered as the basis for predicting how subjects will transition into manifest psychosis.


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