Background: A body of work focusing on brain connectivity, language dominance, and motor laterality research suggests that reduced hemispheric asymmetry is a core feature in schizophrenia. However, there is little consensus about whether reduced dominance is present in those at ultrahigh risk (UHR) for psychosis.
Methods: A total of 94 demonstrated right-handed neuroleptic free participants (38 UHR and 56 matched healthy controls) were assessed with structured clinical interviews and completed an innovative handwriting task using a digital tablet computer. A laterality quotient (LQ) was calculated using kinematic variables from the participant's left and right hands. A subset of the sample (26 UHR and 29 controls) returned after 12-months to complete clinical interviews in order to examine relationships between handwriting laterality and progression of psychosis risk symptoms.
Results: The UHR group showed decreased dextrality compared to healthy controls. At the 12-month follow-up, decreased dextrality accounted for 8% of the variance in worsened positive symptoms within the UHR group.
Conclusion: The current results suggest that disrupted cerebral dominance is also present in the ultrahigh risk period and that decreased dextrality may serve as a novel biomarker for the progression of psychosis risk.
Keywords: Cerebral dominance; Dextrality; Handwriting; Laterality; Psychosis; Ultrahigh risk.
Published by Elsevier B.V.