Lack of Evidence for Regional Brain Volume or Cortical Thickness Abnormalities in Youths at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis: Findings From the Longitudinal Youth at Risk Study

Schizophr Bull. 2015 Nov;41(6):1285-93. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbv012. Epub 2015 Mar 4.


There is cumulative evidence that young people in an "at-risk mental state" (ARMS) for psychosis show structural brain abnormalities in frontolimbic areas, comparable to, but less extensive than those reported in established schizophrenia. However, most available data come from ARMS samples from Australia, Europe, and North America while large studies from other populations are missing. We conducted a structural brain magnetic resonance imaging study from a relatively large sample of 69 ARMS individuals and 32 matched healthy controls (HC) recruited from Singapore as part of the Longitudinal Youth At-Risk Study (LYRIKS). We used 2 complementary approaches: a voxel-based morphometry and a surface-based morphometry analysis to extract regional gray and white matter volumes (GMV and WMV) and cortical thickness (CT). At the whole-brain level, we did not find any statistically significant difference between ARMS and HC groups concerning total GMV and WMV or regional GMV, WMV, and CT. The additional comparison of 2 regions of interest, hippocampal, and ventricular volumes, did not return any significant difference either. Several characteristics of the LYRIKS sample like Asian origins or the absence of current illicit drug use could explain, alone or in conjunction, the negative findings and suggest that there may be no dramatic volumetric or CT abnormalities in ARMS.

Keywords: early psychosis; magnetic resonance imaging; schizophrenia; surface-based morphometry; voxel-based morphometry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Female
  • Gray Matter / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Psychotic Disorders / pathology*
  • Risk
  • Singapore
  • White Matter / pathology*
  • Young Adult