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Over the past two decades, early detection and early intervention in psychosis have become essential goals of psychiatry. However, clinical impressions are insufficient for predicting psychosis outcomes in clinical high-risk (CHR) individuals; a more rigorous and objective model is needed. This study aims to develop and internally validate a model for predicting the transition to psychosis within 10 years.
Two hundred and eight help-seeking individuals who fulfilled the CHR criteria were enrolled from the prospective, naturalistic cohort program for CHR at the Seoul Youth Clinic (SYC). The least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO)-penalized Cox regression was used to develop a predictive model for a psychotic transition. We performed k-means clustering and survival analysis to stratify the risk of psychosis.
The predictive model, which includes clinical and cognitive variables, identified the following six baseline variables as important predictors: 1-year percentage decrease in the Global Assessment of Functioning score, IQ, California Verbal Learning Test score, Strange Stories test score, and scores in two domains of the Social Functioning Scale. The predictive model showed a cross-validated Harrell's C-index of 0.78 and identified three subclusters with significantly different risk levels.
Overall, our predictive model showed a predictive ability and could facilitate a personalized therapeutic approach to different risks in high-risk individuals.
Refugees commonly experience difficulties with emotional processing, such as alexithymia, due to stressful or traumatic experiences. However, the functional connectivity of the amygdala, which is central to emotional processing, has yet to be assessed in refugees. Thus, the present study investigated the resting-state functional connectivity of the amygdala and its association with emotional processing in North Korean (NK) refugees.
This study included 45 NK refugees and 40 native South Koreans (SK). All participants were administered the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Clinician-administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), and differences between NK refugees and native SK in terms of resting-state functional connectivity of the amygdala were assessed. Additionally, the association between the strength of amygdala connectivity and the TAS score was examined.
Resting-state connectivity values from the left amygdala to the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) were higher in NK refugees than in native SK. Additionally, the strength of connectivity between the left amygdala and right dlPFC was positively associated with TAS score after controlling for the number of traumatic experiences and BDI and CAPS scores.
The present study found that NK refugees exhibited heightened frontal–amygdala connectivity, and that this connectivity was correlated with alexithymia. The present results suggest that increased frontal–amygdala connectivity in refugees may represent frontal down-regulation of the amygdala, which in turn may produce alexithymia.
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