April 25, 2017

1:30 pm / 2:30 pm


Clark Hall 314

April 25, 2017 at 1:30 pm
(lunch at 1:00 pm)

Vijay Anand Mittal, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor with the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry
Northwestern University

Hosted by: Laurent Younes, Ph.D.
Motor dysfunction and Risk for Psychosis: a Translational Clinical Science Perspective

A body of evidence suggest that up to one-third of ultra high-risk youth (adolescents who exhibit recent subtle positive symptoms as well as declines in social, emotional, motor and cognitive functioning) will go on develop a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia within a two-year period. While the ultra high-risk or prodromal period represents an promising opportunity to improve etiological understanding and intervene prior to onset (when third variable confounds can cloud research and treatment), to date, we are unclear about what differentiates those who do go on to develop a psychotic disorder, from the phenotypically similar adolescents who do not. Furthermore, preliminary evidence suggests that while early interventions may be effective in reducing transition rates, the available treatments are associated with significant costsand side-effects, and factors unique to this population significantly limit efficacy. Taken together, this suggests a critical need for effective biomarkers and targeted interventions. As psychosis onset typically occurs at the end of the adolescent period, promising empirically driven conceptualizations point to the significant role that adolescent neurodevelopment may play. To this end, understanding aberrant processes during adolescent neuroreorganization may help to significantly improve etiological understanding, bolster early identification, and inform interventions. In this presentation, I discuss characteristics and research priorities in the psychosis prodrome and then review my ongoing biomarker and treatment development studies. Specifically, I focus on the relationship between adolescent motor and brain development, presenting longitudinal behavioral and imaging research that suggests that abnormalities in movement reflect a pattern of aberrant neurodevelopment that can eventually lead to the onset of psychosis. In addition I discuss basic psychopathology research from my laboratorythat was used to inform the development of targeted interventions. Finally, I will discuss plans for future projects and emphasize the significant utility of cross-disciplinary collaboration in this area.