Psychiatry - Research Publications

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    Rich club and reward network connectivity as endophenotypes for alcohol dependence: a diffusion tensor imaging study
    Zorlu, N ; Capraz, N ; Oztekin, E ; Bagci, B ; Di Biase, MA ; Zalesky, A ; Gelal, F ; Bora, E ; Durmaz, E ; Besiroglu, L ; Saricicek, A (WILEY, 2019-03-01)
    We aimed to examine the whole-brain white matter connectivity and local topology of reward system nodes in patients with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and unaffected siblings, relative to healthy comparison individuals. Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging scans were acquired from 18 patients with AUD, 15 unaffected siblings of AUD patients and 15 healthy controls. Structural networks were examined using network-based statistic and connectomic analysis. Connectomic analysis showed a significant ordered difference in normalized rich club organization (AUD < Siblings < Controls). We also found rank ordered differences (Control > Sibling > AUD) for both nodal clustering coefficient and nodal local efficiency in reward system nodes, particularly left caudate, right putamen and left hippocampus. Network-based statistic analyses showed that AUD group had significantly weaker connectivity than controls in the right hemisphere, mostly in the edges connecting putamen and hippocampus with other brain regions. Our results suggest that reward system network abnormalities, especially in subcortical structures, and impairments in rich-club organization might be related to the familial predisposition for AUD.
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    Differences in cognitive impairment between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder: Considering the role of heterogeneity
    Bora, E (WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2016-10-01)
    Schizophrenia is associated with significant cognitive impairment. Bipolar disorder (BD) also presents with cognitive deficits that are similar to, albeit less severe, than those reported in schizophrenia. There has been controversy over whether selective deficits in social cognition or developmental trajectory of cognitive deficits can distinguish schizophrenia from BD. Also, available studies have not generally considered the potential effect of cognitive heterogeneity within the two disorders on between-group differences. The current review examines the evidence on the specificity of social cognitive deficits and early neurocognitive impairment to schizophrenia and explores the overall outcome of studies investigating within and cross-diagnosis cognitive heterogeneity in schizophrenia and BD. Current evidence does not support the specificity of social cognitive impairment to schizophrenia. Available studies also suggest that cognitive impairment in premorbid and early stages is evident not only in schizophrenia but also in many BD patients. Both schizophrenia and BD have a number of cognitive subgroups, including severe impairment, good functioning, and one or more selective or modest impairment clusters. While both disorders are represented in each cognitive subgroup, there are significant cross-diagnostic differences regarding prevalences of individuals belonging to the severe impairment and good functioning subgroups. Individuals with schizophrenia are much more likely to exhibit severe cognitive impairment than individuals with BD and good cognitive functioning is more often observed in BD patients than schizophrenia patients. Further identification of the neurobiological and genetic characteristics of the cognitive subgroups in major psychoses can improve the validity of diagnostic systems and can advance the development of personalized management approaches, including cognitive remediation.
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    Divergent effects of first-generation and second-generation antipsychotics on cortical thickness in first-episode psychosis
    Ansell, BRE ; Dwyer, DB ; Wood, SJ ; Bora, E ; Brewer, WJ ; Proffitt, TM ; Velakoulis, D ; McGorry, PD ; Pantelis, C (CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2015-02-01)
    BACKGROUND: Whether there are differential effects of first-generation antipsychotics (FGAs) and second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) on the brain is currently debated. Although some studies report that FGAs reduce grey matter more than SGAs, others do not, and research to date is limited by a focus on schizophrenia spectrum disorders. To address this limitation, this study investigated the effects of medication in patients being treated for first-episode schizophrenia or affective psychoses. METHOD: Cortical thickness was compared between 52 first-episode psychosis patients separated into diagnostic (i.e. schizophrenia or affective psychosis) and medication (i.e. FGA and SGA) subgroups. Patients in each group were also compared to age- and sex-matched healthy controls (n = 28). A whole-brain cortical thickness interaction analysis of medication and diagnosis was then performed. Correlations between cortical thickness with antipsychotic dose and psychotic symptoms were examined. RESULTS: The effects of medication and diagnosis did not interact, suggesting independent effects. Compared with controls, diagnostic differences were found in frontal, parietal and temporal regions. Decreased thickness in FGA-treated versus SGA-treated groups was found in a large frontoparietal region (p < 0.001, corrected). Comparisons with healthy controls revealed decreased cortical thickness in the FGA group whereas the SGA group showed increases in addition to decreases. In FGA-treated patients cortical thinning was associated with higher negative symptoms whereas increased cortical thickness in the SGA-treated group was associated with lower positive symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that FGA and SGA treatments have divergent effects on cortical thickness during the first episode of psychosis that are independent from changes due to illness.
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    Social Cognition in Multiple Sclerosis: a Meta-Analysis
    Bora, E ; Ozakbas, S ; Velakoulis, D ; Walterfang, M (SPRINGER, 2016-06-01)
    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with cognitive decline and impairment in social functioning. Accumulating evidence suggests that patients with MS are impaired in social cognition, including theory of mind (ToM) and emotion recognition. In this meta-analysis of 24 studies, facial emotion recognition and ToM performances of 989 patients with MS and 836 healthy controls were compared. MS was associated with significant impairments with medium effect sizes in ToM (d = 0.57) and facial emotion recognition (d = 0.61). Among individual emotions recognition of fear and anger were particularly impaired. The severity of social cognitive deficits was significantly associated with non-social cognitive impairment. These deficits in social cognition may underpin difficulties in social functioning in MS. However, there is a need for further studies investigating the longitudinal evolution of social cognitive deficits and their neural correlates in MS.
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    Abnormal white matter integrity in synthetic cannabinoid users
    Zorlu, N ; Di Biase, MA ; Kalayci, CC ; Zalesky, A ; Bagci, B ; Oguz, N ; Gelal, F ; Besiroglu, L ; Gulseren, S ; Saricicek, A ; Bora, E ; Pantelis, C (ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2016-11-01)
    Synthetic cannabinoids have become increasingly popular in the last few years especially among adolescents and young adults. However, no previous studies have assessed the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on the structure of the human brain. Understanding the harms of synthetic cannabinoid use on brain structure is therefore crucial given its increasing use. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was performed in 22 patients who used synthetic cannabinoids more than five times a week for at least 1 year and 18 healthy controls. Fractional anisotropy (FA) was significantly reduced in the cannabinoid group compared to controls in a cluster of white matter voxels spanning the left temporal lobe, subcortical structures and brainstem. This cluster was predominantly traversed by the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, inferior longitudinal fasciculus, fornix, cingulum-hippocampus and corticospinal tracts. Long-term use of synthetic cannabinoids is associated with white matter abnormalities in adolescents and young adults. Disturbed brain connectivity in synthetic cannabinoid users may underlie cognitive impairment and vulnerability to psychosis.
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    The Impact of Cannabis Use on Cognitive Functioning in Patients With Schizophrenia: A Meta-analysis of Existing Findings and New Data in a First-Episode Sample
    Yuecel, M ; Bora, E ; Lubman, DI ; Solowij, N ; Brewer, WJ ; Cotton, SM ; Conus, P ; Takagi, MJ ; Fornito, A ; Wood, SJ ; McGorry, PD ; Pantelis, C (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2012-03-01)
    Cannabis use is highly prevalent among people with schizophrenia, and coupled with impaired cognition, is thought to heighten the risk of illness onset. However, while heavy cannabis use has been associated with cognitive deficits in long-term users, studies among patients with schizophrenia have been contradictory. This article consists of 2 studies. In Study I, a meta-analysis of 10 studies comprising 572 patients with established schizophrenia (with and without comorbid cannabis use) was conducted. Patients with a history of cannabis use were found to have superior neuropsychological functioning. This finding was largely driven by studies that included patients with a lifetime history of cannabis use rather than current or recent use. In Study II, we examined the neuropsychological performance of 85 patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) and 43 healthy nonusing controls. Relative to controls, FEP patients with a history of cannabis use (FEP + CANN; n = 59) displayed only selective neuropsychological impairments while those without a history (FEP - CANN; n = 26) displayed generalized deficits. When directly compared, FEP + CANN patients performed better on tests of visual memory, working memory, and executive functioning. Patients with early onset cannabis use had less neuropsychological impairment than patients with later onset use. Together, these findings suggest that patients with schizophrenia or FEP with a history of cannabis use have superior neuropsychological functioning compared with nonusing patients. This association between better cognitive performance and cannabis use in schizophrenia may be driven by a subgroup of "neurocognitively less impaired" patients, who only developed psychosis after a relatively early initiation into cannabis use.
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    Cognitive deficits in youth with familial and clinical high risk to psychosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis
    Bora, E ; Lin, A ; Wood, SJ ; Yung, AR ; McGorry, PD ; Pantelis, C (WILEY, 2014-07-01)
    OBJECTIVE: It is likely that cognitive deficits are vulnerability markers for developing schizophrenia, as these deficits are already well-established findings in first-episode psychosis. Studies at-risk adolescents and young adults are likely to provide information about cognitive deficits that predate the onset of the illness. METHOD: We conducted meta-analyses of studies comparing familial-high risk (FHR) or ultra-high risk (UHR; n = 2113) and healthy controls (n = 1748) in youth studies in which the mean age was between 15 and 29. RESULTS: Compared with controls, high risk subjects were impaired in each domain in both UHR (d = 0.34-0.71) and FHR (d = 0.24-0.81). Heterogeneity of effect sizes across studies was modest, increasing confidence to the findings of the current meta-analysis (I(2) = 0-0.18%). In both risk paradigms, co-occurrence of genetic risk with attenuated symptoms was associated with more severe cognitive dysfunction. In UHR, later transition to psychosis was associated with more severe cognitive deficits in all domains (d = 0.31-0.49) except sustained attention. However, cognitive impairment has a limited capacity to predict the outcome of high-risk patients. CONCLUSION: Cognitive deficits are already evident in adolescents and young adults who have familial or clinical risk for psychosis. Longitudinal developmental studies are important to reveal timing and trajectory of emergence of such deficits.
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    Meta-analysis of Cognitive Impairment in First-Episode Bipolar Disorder: Comparison With First-Episode Schizophrenia and Healthy Controls
    Bora, E ; Pantelis, C (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2015-09-01)
    Neurocognitive deficits are evident both in established schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (BP). However, it has been suggested that schizophrenia, but not BP, is characterized by neurodevelopmental abnormalities that can lead to cognitive deficits at the earliest stages of the illness. The aim of this meta-analytic review was to compare neurocognitive deficits in first-episode BP (FEBP) with healthy controls and first-episode schizophrenia (FES) patients. The current meta-analysis included a total of 22 adult studies and involved comparisons of 533 FEBP patients with 1417 healthy controls and 605 FEBP and 822 FES patients. FEBP patients were significantly impaired in all cognitive domains (d = 0.26-0.80) and individual tasks (d = 0.22-0.66) investigated. FES patients significantly underperformed FEBP patients in most cognitive domains (d = 0.05-0.63) and on individual tasks (d = 0.13-0.77). Neuropsychological impairment, which is comparable to chronic BP, was evident in FEBP. Similar to chronic patients, cognitive functions in FEBP lie intermediate between FES and healthy controls. Neurodevelopmental factors are likely to play a significant role not only in schizophrenia but also in BP.