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Introduction: Velo-cardio-facial syndrome (VCFS) has been identified as an important risk factor for psychoses, with up to 32% of individuals with VCFS developing a psychotic illness. Individuals with VCFS thus form a unique group to identify and explore early symptoms and biological correlates of psychosis. In this study, we examined if cortical gyrification pattern, i.e. gyrification index (GI) can be a potential neurobiological marker for psychosis.

Method: GIs of 91 individuals with VCFS were compared with 29 siblings and 54 controls. Further, 58 participants with VCFS, 21 siblings and 18 normal controls were followed up after 3 years and longitudinal changes in GI were compared. Additionally, we also correlated longitudinal changes in GI in individuals with VCFS with prodromal symptoms of psychosis on the Scale of Prodromal Symptoms (SOPS).

Result: Individuals with VCFS had significantly lower GIs as compared to their siblings and normal controls. Longitudinal examination of GI did not reveal any significant group–time interactions between the three groups. Further, longitudinal change in GI scores in the VCFS group was negatively correlated with positive prodromal symptoms, with the left occipital region reaching statistical significance.

Conclusion: The study confirms previous reports that individuals with VCFS have reduced cortical folding as compared to normal controls. However over a period of three years, there is no difference in the rate of change of GI among both individuals with VCFS and normal controls. Finally, our results suggest that neuroanatomical alterations in areas underlying visual processing may be an early marker for psychosis.


At the time of publication Robert J. Shprintzen was affiliated with Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, State University of New York at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY.




Schizophrenia Research



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