Brain scans of children with a family history of schizophrenia show neural circuits that are hyperactivated by tasks that peers with no family history of the illness handle without stress, report scientists at the University of North Carolina (Hart SJ et al. Psychiatry Res. 2013;212:19-27). The differences appear before the onset of neuropsychiatric symptoms such as paranoid beliefs or hallucinations.
In the study, 42 children and adolescents aged 9 to 18 years (half with a parent or sibling with schizophrenia) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while they were asked to identify a specific image out of a lineup of emotionally evocative images, such as cute or scary animals.
Hampton T. Signal of Schizophrenia Risk. JAMA. 2013;309(17):1765. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.4283