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September 2015

The Enduring Search for the Koplik Spots of Psychosis

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, King's College London, London, United Kingdom
  • 2OASIS Service, South London, United Kingdom
  • 3Maudsley National Health Service Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom
JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(9):863-864. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.0611

In 1995, great expectations laid ahead of the launch of the first preventive service for young people at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis. Researchers hoped to identify not only state-risk factors for psychosis but above all to uncover “specific precursor features that predicted subsequent psychosis in the near future with a high degree of probability,”1(p285) by analogy defined as Koplik spot equivalents of psychosis,1 allowing effective early diagnosis and treatment. Koplik spots are small white lesions on the buccal mucosa that precede measles disease with high sensitivity and are important in the prevention of outbreaks. As for Koplik spots, early signs of psychosis are clinically difficult to detect. Because of this, CHR researchers have relied on neuroimaging techniques in their enduring search for the Koplik spots of psychosis.

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