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Abnormal reward functioning is central to anhedonia and amotivation symptoms of schizophrenia (SCZ). Reward processing encompasses a series of psychological components. This systematic review and meta-analysis examined the brain dysfunction related to reward processing of individuals with SCZ spectrum disorders and risks, covering multiple reward components.
After a systematic literature search, 37 neuroimaging studies were identified and divided into four groups based on their target psychology components (i.e. reward anticipation, reward consumption, reward learning, effort computation). Whole-brain Seed-based d Mapping (SDM) meta-analyses were conducted for all included studies and each component.
The meta-analysis for all reward-related studies revealed reduced functional activation across the SCZ spectrum in the striatum, orbital frontal cortex, cingulate cortex, and cerebellar areas. Meanwhile, distinct abnormal patterns were found for reward anticipation (decreased activation of the cingulate cortex and striatum), reward consumption (decreased activation of cerebellum IV/V areas, insula and inferior frontal gyri), and reward learning processing (decreased activation of the striatum, thalamus, cerebellar Crus I, cingulate cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, and parietal and occipital areas). Lastly, our qualitative review suggested that decreased activation of the ventral striatum and anterior cingulate cortex was also involved in effort computation.
These results provide deep insights on the component-based neuro-psychopathological mechanisms for anhedonia and amotivation symptoms of the SCZ spectrum.
Glutamatergic dysfunction has been implicated in sensory integration deficits in schizophrenia, yet how glutamatergic function contributes to behavioural impairments and neural activities of sensory integration remains unknown.
Fifty schizophrenia patients and 43 healthy controls completed behavioural assessments for sensory integration and underwent magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) for measuring the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) glutamate levels. The correlation between glutamate levels and behavioural sensory integration deficits was examined in each group. A subsample of 20 pairs of patients and controls further completed an audiovisual sensory integration functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) task. Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) activation and task-dependent functional connectivity (FC) were assessed based on fMRI data. Full factorial analyses were performed to examine the Group-by-Glutamate Level interaction effects on fMRI measurements (group differences in correlation between glutamate levels and fMRI measurements) and the correlation between glutamate levels and fMRI measurements within each group.
We found that schizophrenia patients exhibited impaired sensory integration which was positively correlated with ACC glutamate levels. Multimodal analyses showed significantly Group-by-Glutamate Level interaction effects on BOLD activation as well as task-dependent FC in a ‘cortico-subcortical-cortical’ network (including medial frontal gyrus, precuneus, ACC, middle cingulate gyrus, thalamus and caudate) with positive correlations in patients and negative in controls.
Our findings indicate that ACC glutamate influences neural activities in a large-scale network during sensory integration, but the effects have opposite directionality between schizophrenia patients and healthy people. This implicates the crucial role of glutamatergic system in sensory integration processing in schizophrenia.
Young people are most vulnerable to suicidal behaviours but least likely to seek help. A more elaborate study of the intrinsic and extrinsic correlates of suicidal ideation and behaviours particularly amid ongoing population-level stressors and the identification of less stigmatising markers in representative youth populations is essential.
Participants (n = 2540, aged 15–25) were consecutively recruited from an ongoing large-scale household-based epidemiological youth mental health study in Hong Kong between September 2019 and 2021. Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of suicidal ideation, plan, and attempt were assessed, alongside suicide-related rumination, hopelessness and neuroticism, personal and population-level stressors, family functioning, cognitive ability, lifetime non-suicidal self-harm, 12-month major depressive disorder (MDD), and alcohol use.
The 12-month prevalence of suicidal ideation, ideation-only (no plan or attempt), plan, and attempt was 20.0, 15.4, 4.6, and 1.3%, respectively. Importantly, multivariable logistic regression findings revealed that suicide-related rumination was the only factor associated with all four suicidal outcomes (all p < 0.01). Among those with suicidal ideation (two-stage approach), intrinsic factors, including suicide-related rumination, poorer cognitive ability, and 12-month MDE, were specifically associated with suicide plan, while extrinsic factors, including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) stressors, poorer family functioning, and personal life stressors, as well as non-suicidal self-harm, were specifically associated with suicide attempt.
Suicide-related rumination, population-level COVID-19 stressors, and poorer family functioning may be important less-stigmatising markers for youth suicidal risks. The respective roles played by not only intrinsic but also extrinsic factors in suicide plan and attempt using a two-stage approach should be considered in future preventative intervention work.
Unplanned readmissions rates are an important indicator of the quality of care provided in a psychiatric unit. However, there is no validated risk model to predict this outcome in patients with psychotic spectrum disorders.
This paper aims to establish a clinical risk prediction model to predict 28-day unplanned readmission via the accident and emergency department after discharge from acute psychiatric units for patients with psychotic spectrum disorders.
Adult patients with psychotic spectrum disorders discharged within a 5-year period from all psychiatric units in Hong Kong were included in this study. Information on the socioeconomic background, past medical and psychiatric history, current discharge episode and Health of the Nation Outcome Scales (HoNOS) scores were used in a logistic regression to derive the risk model and the predictive variables. The sample was randomly split into two to derive (n = 10 219) and validate (n = 10 643) the model.
The rate of unplanned readmission was 7.09%. The risk factors for unplanned readmission include higher number of previous admissions, comorbid substance misuse, history of violence and a score of one or more in the discharge HoNOS overactivity or aggression item. Protective factors include older age, prescribing clozapine, living with family and relatives after discharge and imposition of conditional discharge. The model had moderate discriminative power with a c-statistic of 0.705 and 0.684 on the derivation and validation data-set.
The risk of readmission for each patient can be identified and adjustments in the treatment for those with a high risk may be implemented to prevent this undesirable outcome.
The neuropsychological origins of negative syndrome of schizophrenia remain elusive. Evidence from behavioural studies, which utilised emotion-inducing pictures to elicit motivated behaviour generally reported that that schizophrenia patients experienced similar affective experience as healthy individuals but failed to translate emotional salience to motivated behaviour, a phenomenon called emotion–behaviour decoupling. However, a few studies have examined emotion–behaviour decoupling in non-psychotic high-risk populations, who are relatively unaffected by medication effects.
In this study, we examined the nature and extent of emotion–behaviour decoupling in in three independent samples (65 schizophrenia patients v. 63 controls; 40 unaffected relatives v. 45 controls; and 32 individuals with social anhedonia v. 32 controls). We administered an experimental task to examine their affective experience and its coupling with behaviour, using emotion-inducing slides, and allowed participants to alter stimulus exposure using button-pressing to seek pleasure or avoid aversion.
Schizophrenia patients reported similar affective experiences as their controls, while their unaffected relatives and individuals with high levels of social anhedonia exhibited attenuated affective experiences, in particular in the arousal aspect. Compared with their respective control groups, all of the three groups showed emotion–behaviour decoupling.
Our findings support that both genetically and behaviourally high-risk groups exhibit emotion–behaviour decoupling. The familial association apparently supports its role as a putative trait marker for schizophrenia.