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Cognitive impairments are well-established features of psychotic disorders and are present when individuals are at ultra-high risk for psychosis. However, few interventions target cognitive functioning in this population.
To investigate whether omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n−3 PUFA) supplementation improves cognitive functioning among individuals at ultra-high risk for psychosis.
Data (N = 225) from an international, multi-site, randomised controlled trial (NEURAPRO) were analysed. Participants were given omega-3 supplementation (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) or placebo over 6 months. Cognitive functioning was assessed with the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS). Mixed two-way analyses of variance were computed to compare the change in cognitive performance between omega-3 supplementation and placebo over 6 months. An additional biomarker analysis explored whether change in erythrocyte n−3 PUFA levels predicted change in cognitive performance.
The placebo group showed a modest greater improvement over time than the omega-3 supplementation group for motor speed (ηp2 = 0.09) and BACS composite score (ηp2 = 0.21). After repeating the analyses without individuals who transitioned, motor speed was no longer significant (ηp2 = 0.02), but the composite score remained significant (ηp2 = 0.02). Change in erythrocyte n-3 PUFA levels did not predict change in cognitive performance over 6 months.
We found no evidence to support the use of omega-3 supplementation to improve cognitive functioning in ultra-high risk individuals. The biomarker analysis suggests that this finding is unlikely to be attributed to poor adherence or consumption of non-trial n−3 PUFAs.
We applied voxel-based morphometry to high-resolution magnetic resonance images of 99 participants with schizophrenia. Voxel-wise correlations with a score of auditory hallucination severity identified areas in the left and right superior temporal cortex (including Heschl's gyrus), left supramarginal/angular gyrus, left postcentral gyrus and left posterior cingulate cortex. This study extends previous region-of-interest studies demonstrating main effects of auditory hallucinations related to modality-specific superior temporal areas including primary and secondary auditory cortices.
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