Objective: Recent research suggests that early signs of schizophrenia can be detected several years before its onset. Evidence suggests that the identification of at-risk individuals before the psychotic onset can significantly improve the course of the disorder. However, instruments employed for the detection of prodromal symptoms are far from being accurate in the prediction of a future transition to psychosis. The aim of the present review is to summarize literature on the early signs of schizophrenia and to identify physiological markers that may aid the identification of the disorder before psychotic transition. Method: This critical review includes studies published between 1979 and 2018 that were indexed in major databases with the following keywords: schizophrenia, prodromal phase, basic symptoms, autonomic nervous system, heart rate variability. Results: The examination of the relevant literature showed that, despite recent progress in the identification of atrisk states, the currently employed instruments do not allow an effective prediction of a future psychotic onset. Also, evidence suggests a significant association between alterations in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) functioning and psychotic disorders. However, literature on the association between ANS functioning and at-risk states for psychosis is still scarce. The addition of physiological risk indicators may represent a step forward in the detection of at-risk individuals. Conclusions: Overall, the present literature review highlights that a future schizophrenic onset cannot be strongly predicted with current available measures. Given the established correlation between schizophrenia and autonomic dysregulation, an investigation of the ANS functioning in individuals who are at increased risk of developing schizophrenia may be particularly useful to improve the quality of the assessment, to identify at an early stage the dysregulated physiological patterns that have been linked with schizophrenia, and therefore to develop tailored interventions. Accordingly, it is crucial that future research investigates the presence of autonomic deficits in individuals at risk for psychosis.

Early signs of schizophrenia and autonomic nervous system dysregulation: A literature review

Schimmenti Adriano);
2019

Abstract

Objective: Recent research suggests that early signs of schizophrenia can be detected several years before its onset. Evidence suggests that the identification of at-risk individuals before the psychotic onset can significantly improve the course of the disorder. However, instruments employed for the detection of prodromal symptoms are far from being accurate in the prediction of a future transition to psychosis. The aim of the present review is to summarize literature on the early signs of schizophrenia and to identify physiological markers that may aid the identification of the disorder before psychotic transition. Method: This critical review includes studies published between 1979 and 2018 that were indexed in major databases with the following keywords: schizophrenia, prodromal phase, basic symptoms, autonomic nervous system, heart rate variability. Results: The examination of the relevant literature showed that, despite recent progress in the identification of atrisk states, the currently employed instruments do not allow an effective prediction of a future psychotic onset. Also, evidence suggests a significant association between alterations in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) functioning and psychotic disorders. However, literature on the association between ANS functioning and at-risk states for psychosis is still scarce. The addition of physiological risk indicators may represent a step forward in the detection of at-risk individuals. Conclusions: Overall, the present literature review highlights that a future schizophrenic onset cannot be strongly predicted with current available measures. Given the established correlation between schizophrenia and autonomic dysregulation, an investigation of the ANS functioning in individuals who are at increased risk of developing schizophrenia may be particularly useful to improve the quality of the assessment, to identify at an early stage the dysregulated physiological patterns that have been linked with schizophrenia, and therefore to develop tailored interventions. Accordingly, it is crucial that future research investigates the presence of autonomic deficits in individuals at risk for psychosis.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11387/135921
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