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Medical News & Perspectives
May 26, 1999

Schizophrenia Researchers Striving for Early Detection and Intervention

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JAMA. 1999;281(20):1877-1878. doi:10.1001/jama.281.20.1877

Santa Fe, NM—Can early treatment, preferably begun even before psychotic symptoms emerge, improve long-term outcomes for people with schizophrenia? That hope, according to researchers presenting new findings last month at the International Congress on Schizophrenia, is sparking efforts to identify early signs of the disease in high-risk individuals and to develop interventions aimed at delaying its onset or reducing its severity.

Many patients are psychotic for a year or more before receiving treatment—an unfortunate circumstance, given that studies indicate that such a delay results in a poorer outcome, including a longer time to remission of symptoms, lesser degree of remission, and higher relapse rate. Such findings have spurred a number of efforts to reduce the duration of untreated psychosis.