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RTC Waiver Program Research and Evaluation: Study 2

Youth with or At-Risk for Psychosis

Given the devastating nature of psychotic illness, youth with or at risk for psychosis are likely to experience a range of impairment and distress. Understanding and identifying the risk for psychosis increases knowledge about the trajectory of individuals on a course towards schizophrenia, and allows for clinical prediction prior to full illness onset. Recent research in the early course of psychotic disorders has suggested that earlier identification, and perhaps treatment, could benefit individuals on a trajectory toward illness. The well-documented association between the duration of untreated psychosis (the amount of time that lapses between psychotic symptoms onset and treatment initiation), and illness prognosis has created an imperative to improve mechanisms for early intervention in the course of psychotic disorders (Marshall et al., 2005). The purpose of the current study is to assess youth at-risk for psychosis in order to promote early identification and intervention efforts to alter the trajectory of individuals who may develop schizophrenia. This project focuses on both clinical and biological markers of risk. Biological markers of interest include neuroimaging and an environmental infection (toxoplasmosis gondii). If these markers are sensitive indicators of risk and progression towards psychosis, we will have a set of powerful tools to more accurately identify individuals at greatest risk, facilitating more effective treatment, and informing clinical care that might ultimately prevent the development of psychosis. 

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Study Details & Lead Faculty

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