Cerebellar activity in young people with familial risk for psychosis--The Oulu Brain and Mind Study

Schizophr Res. 2015 Dec;169(1-3):46-53. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2015.10.010. Epub 2015 Oct 30.


Objective: The cerebellum plays a critical role in cognition and behavior. Altered function of the cerebellum has been related to schizophrenia and psychosis but it is not known how this applies to spontaneous resting state activity in young people with familial risk for psychosis.

Methods: We conducted resting-state functional MRI (R-fMRI) in 72 (29 male) young adults with a history of psychosis in one or both parents (FR) but without their own psychosis, and 72 (29 male) similarly healthy control subjects without parental psychosis. Both groups in the Oulu Brain and Mind Study were drawn from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986. Participants were 20-25 years old. Parental psychosis was established using the Care Register for Health Care. R-fMRI data pre-processing was conducted using independent component analysis with 30 and 70 components. A dual regression technique was used to detect between-group differences in the cerebellum with p<0.05 threshold corrected for multiple comparisons.

Results: FR participants demonstrated statistically significantly increased activity compared to control subjects in the anterior lobe of the right cerebellum in the analysis with 70 components. The volume of the increased activity was 73 mm(3). There was no difference between the groups in the analysis with 30 components.

Conclusion: The finding suggests that increased activity of the anterior lobe of the right cerebellum may be associated with increased vulnerability to psychosis. The finding is novel, and needs replication to be confirmed.

Keywords: Cerebellum; Parental psychosis; Psychosis; R-fMRI; Schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebellum / physiopathology*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Psychotic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Psychotic Disorders / genetics
  • Psychotic Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Registries
  • Rest
  • Young Adult