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Deficient information processing in ADHD theoretically results in sensory overload and may underlie the symptoms of the disorder. Mismatch negativity (MMN) and P3a amplitude reflect an individual's detection and subsequent change in attention to stimulus change in their environment. Our primary aim was to explore MMN and P3a amplitude in adult ADHD patients and to examine the effects of methylphenidate (MPH) on these measures.
Forty initially psychostimulant-naïve, adult ADHD patients without comorbid ASD and 42 matched healthy controls (HC) were assessed with an MMN paradigm at baseline. Both groups were retested after 6 weeks, in which patients were treated with MPH.
Neither significant group differences in MMN nor P3a amplitude were found at baseline. Although 6-week MPH treatment significantly reduced symptomatology and improved daily functioning of the patients, it did not significantly affect MMN amplitude; however, it did significantly reduce P3a amplitude compared to the HC. Furthermore, more severe ADHD symptoms were significantly associated with larger MMN amplitudes in the patients, both at baseline and follow-up.
We found no evidence for early information processing deficits in patients with ADHD, as measured with MMN and P3a amplitude. Six-week treatment with MPH decreased P3a but not MMN amplitude, although more severe ADHD-symptoms were associated with larger MMN amplitudes in the patients. Given that P3a amplitude represents an important attentional process and that glutamate has been linked to both ADHD and MMN amplitude, future research should investigate augmenting MPH treatment of less responsive adults with ADHD with glutamatergic antagonists.
Early identification is important for patients with early-onset schizophrenia (SZ). Assessment of (candidate) endophenotypic markers for SZ, such as prepulse inhibition of the startle reflex (PPI), may help distinguish between the early-onset SZ and other psychiatric disorders. We explored whether PPI deficits usually seen in adult-onset SZ are present in young adolescents with either early-onset psychosis or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Twenty-five adolescents with first-episode, non-affective psychosis (FEP), 28 adolescents with ADHD and 43 healthy controls (HC), aged 12–17 years, were assessed with an auditory PPI paradigm.
No significant group differences were found in PPI. However, when the FEP group was divided into those already diagnosed with SZ (n = 13) and those without (N-SZ) (n = 12), and all four groups (SZ, N-SZ, ADHD and HC) were compared on percentage PPI in the 85/60 trials, significantly less PPI was found in patients with SZ than in the HC as well as the ADHD group. No significant group differences were found in explorative analyses on the other trial types. Additionally, startle magnitude was significantly higher in SZ than in N-SZ patients.
Young adolescents with SZ showed sensorimotor gating deficits similar to those usually found in adults with SZ and had larger startle magnitude than patients with other types of non-affective early-onset psychosis. No sensorimotor gating deficits were found in adolescents with ADHD. Our findings support the theory that deficient PPI is endophenotypic for SZ.
A wealth of clinical studies have identified objective biomarkers, which separate schizophrenia patients from healthy controls on a group level, but current diagnostic systems solely include clinical symptoms. In this study, we investigate if machine learning algorithms on multimodal data can serve as a framework for clinical translation.
Forty-six antipsychotic-naïve, first-episode schizophrenia patients and 58 controls underwent neurocognitive tests, electrophysiology, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Patients underwent clinical assessments before and after 6 weeks of antipsychotic monotherapy with amisulpride. Nine configurations of different supervised machine learning algorithms were applied to first estimate the unimodal diagnostic accuracy, and next to estimate the multimodal diagnostic accuracy. Finally, we explored the predictability of symptom remission.
Cognitive data significantly classified patients from controls (accuracies = 60–69%; p values = 0.0001–0.009). Accuracies of electrophysiology, structural MRI, and diffusion tensor imaging did not exceed chance level. Multimodal analyses with cognition plus any combination of one or more of the remaining three modalities did not outperform cognition alone. None of the modalities predicted symptom remission.
In this multivariate and multimodal study in antipsychotic-naïve patients, only cognition significantly discriminated patients from controls, and no modality appeared to predict short-term symptom remission. Overall, these findings add to the increasing call for cognition to be included in the definition of schizophrenia. To bring about the full potential of machine learning algorithms in first-episode, antipsychotic-naïve schizophrenia patients, careful a priori variable selection based on independent data as well as inclusion of other modalities may be required.
Cognitive deficits are already present in early stages of schizophrenia. P3a and P3b event-related potentials (ERPs) are believed to underlie the processes of attention and working memory (WM), yet limited research has been performed on the associations between these parameters. Therefore, we explored possible associations between P3a/b amplitudes and cognition in a large cohort of antipsychotic-naïve, first-episode schizophrenia (AN-FES) patients and healthy controls (HC).
Seventy-three AN-FES patients and 93 age- and gender-matched HC were assessed for their P3a/b amplitude with an auditory oddball paradigm. In addition, subjects performed several subtests from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB).
AN-FES patients had significantly reduced P3a/b amplitudes, as well as significantly lower scores on all cognitive tests compared with HC. Total group correlations revealed positive associations between P3b amplitude and WM and sustained attention and negative associations with all reaction time measures. These associations appeared mainly driven by AN-FES patients, where we found a similar pattern. No significant associations were found between P3b amplitude and cognitive measures in our HC. P3a amplitude did not correlate significantly with any cognitive measures in either group, nor when combined.
Our results provide further evidence for P3a/b amplitude deficits and cognitive deficits in AN-FES patients, which are neither due to antipsychotics nor to disease progress. Furthermore, our data showed significant, yet weak associations between P3b and cognition. Therefore, our data do not supply evidence for deficient P3a/b amplitudes as direct underlying factors for cognitive deficits in schizophrenia.
Impairments in mechanisms underlying early information processing have been reported in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); however, findings in the existing literature are inconsistent. This current study capitalizes on technological advancements of research on electroencephalographic event-related potential and applies it to a novel PTSD population consisting of trauma-affected refugees.
A total of 25 trauma-affected refugees with PTSD and 20 healthy refugee controls matched on age, gender, and country of origin completed the study. In two distinct auditory paradigms sensory gating, indexed as P50 suppression, and sensorimotor gating, indexed as prepulse inhibition (PPI), startle reactivity, and habituation of the eye-blink startle response were examined. Within the P50 paradigm, N100 and P200 amplitudes were also assessed. In addition, correlations between psychophysiological and clinical measures were investigated.
PTSD patients demonstrated significantly elevated stimuli responses across the two paradigms, reflected in both increased amplitude of the eye-blink startle response, and increased N100 and P200 amplitudes relative to healthy refugee controls. We found a trend toward reduced habituation in the patients, while the groups did not differ in PPI and P50 suppression. Among correlations, we found that eye-blink startle responses were associated with higher overall illness severity and lower levels of functioning.
Fundamental gating mechanisms appeared intact, while the pattern of deficits in trauma-affected refugees with PTSD point toward a different form of sensory overload, an overall neural hypersensitivity and disrupted the ability to down-regulate stimuli responses. This study represents an initial step toward elucidating sensory processing deficits in a PTSD subgroup.