The Youth Mental Health Risk and Resilience Study (YouR-Study)

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Uhlhaas, Peter J. ; Gajwani, Ruchika ; Gross, Joachim ; Gumley, Andrew I. ; Lawrie, Stephen M. ; Schwannauer, Matthias (2017)

Background:\ud The transition from adolescence to adulthood is associated with the emergence of psychosis and other mental health problems, highlighting the importance of this developmental period for the understanding of developing psychopathology and individual differences in risk and resilience. The Youth Mental Health Risk and Resilience Study (YouR-Study) aims to identify neurobiological mechanisms and predictors of psychosis-risk with a state-of-the-art neuroimaging approach (Magnetoencephalography, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Magnetic Resonance Imaging) in combination with core psychological processes, such as affect regulation and attachment, that have been implicated in the development and maintenance of severe mental health problems.\ud \ud Methods/Design:\ud One hundred participants meeting clinical high-risk criteria (CHR) for psychosis through the Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental State and Schizophrenia Proneness Instrument, Adult Version, in the age range from 16 to 35 years of age will be recruited. Mental-state monitoring up to a total of 2 years will be implemented to detect transition to psychosis. In addition, a sample of n = 40 help-seeking participants will be recruited who do not meet CHR-criteria, a group of n = 50 healthy control participants and a sample of n = 25 patients with first-episode psychosis. MEG-activity will be obtained during auditory and visual tasks to examine neural oscillations and event-related fields. In addition, we will obtain estimates of GABA and Glutamate levels through Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) to examine relationships between neural synchrony and excitatory-inhibition (E/I) balance parameters. Neuroimaging will be complemented by detailed neuropsychological assessments as well as psychological measures investigating the impact of childhood abuse, attachment experiences and affect regulation.\ud \ud Discussion:\ud The YouR-study could potentially provide important insights into the neurobiological mechanisms that confer risk for psychosis as well as biomarkers for early diagnosis of severe mental health problems. Moreover, we expect novel data related to the contribution of affect regulation and attachment-processes in the development of mental health problems, leading to an integrative model of early stage psychosis and the factors underlying risk and resilience of emerging psychopathology.
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