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Title: A multi-modal assessment of brain alterations in young adults with psychotic experiences : results from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children
Author: Fonville, Leon Michel
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 6053
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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The work presented in this doctoral thesis examines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data on a sample of young adults who were assessed for the presence of psychotic experiences (PEs) such as delusions, hallucinations, and thought interference. The manifestation of PEs is considered a risk factor for psychosis that becomes greater with persistence of symptoms. The aim of this body of work was to examine the state of the brain using MRI in individuals with PEs, taking into account previous reports on psychosis as well as typical neurodevelopment. We have carried out a range of imaging techniques and analyses on a large multi-modal imaging dataset of 111 healthy controls, 67 with transient PEs, and 69 with persistent PEs. I initially set out to examine brain structure and function in relation to working memory through voxel-based morphometry of grey matter and investigating neurofunctional signalling in relation to a working memory task. In addition, I sought to characterise the temporal dynamics of regional activation in frontal and parietal regions involved in working memory using dynamic causal modelling. Next, we carried out an in-depth analysis of the cortical surface morphometry and sought to characterise the underlying white matter connectivity using atlas-based tractography. Finally, we carried out virtual dissections of the corpus callosum, the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, and the superior longitudinal fasciculus. We found qualitative evidence of protracted development of working memory network configuration in relation to duration of PEs but neuroanatomical evidence did not show consistent support. We found evidence of disturbances in cortical folding in relation to persistence of PEs but little evidence of accompanying alterations in white matter. Analyses of dissected tracts did highlight differences along the tract in relation to PEs. We discuss these findings in relation to their implication for PEs as a risk factor for a psychotic disorder and as a manifestation of an atypical neurodevelopment trajectory.
Supervisor: David, Anthony Sion Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available