Tracking Outcomes in Psychosis (TOPSY)

  • End date
    Dec 1, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Lawson Health Research Institute
Updated on 23 February 2022
Accepts healthy volunteers


The investigators propose to study the brain processes that result in thought and language disorder and influence outcomes seen in patients with schizophrenia using a combination of brain scans and clinical assessments. The project will assess patients at various stages of psychosis (Clinical high risk, first episode and chronic stage >3 years of illness) referred to the Prevention and Early Intervention in Psychosis Programme using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI scans). To track the outcome of this illness, investigators will follow-up patients over 3 years and collect MRI scans over four sessions for each first episode patient, and two sessions for clinical high risk patients, chronic patients, and healthy controls. Participants will also complete a clinical assessment examining symptoms and functioning as per the current clinical practice within the PEPP program at each scanning session.


OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study is to investigate the pathophysiology of Formal Thought Disorder and variable outcomes in the early stages of schizophrenia. In particular, investigators aim to test the hypothesis that 1. Anatomical abnormalities involving the grey matter of the Anterior Insula and Medial Prefrontal Cortex in first episode schizophrenia predicts FTD that persists by 6 months of illness 2. An excess of glutamine/glutamate, or reduction in glutathione, in Medial Prefrontal Cortex at index episode will be associated with persistent FTD 3.Aberrant connectivity between Anterior Insula and Medial Prefrontal Cortex will specifically predict the severity of persistent FTD irrespective of the stage of illness; the change in this connectivity will track the variable 3-year outcome among patients with first episode of psychosis.

METHODS: This study will employ a cross-sectional design recruiting n=126 participants from the Prevention & Early Intervention Program for Psychoses (PEPP). Four groups of participants will be assessed: patients at a later stage of schizophrenia (chronic illness group) (n=42), newly referred first episode group of PEPP patients (n=84), Clinical High Risk patients (n=60) and healthy Controls (n=45). Measurements: Patients will be diagnosed using the criteria for schizophrenia according to DSM-V(34). Demographic variables such as age, gender and parental socioeconomic status will be recorded to adjust for potential confounding effects. Patients will undergo baseline assessments to assess seven features of FTD (poverty of speech, weakening of goal, perseveration, looseness, peculiar word usage, peculiar sentence usage and peculiar logic) in line with the validated procedure for administering Thought Language Index [TLI](17). First episode patients will undergo four 7T MRI scanning sessions over the course of 2.5 years (baseline, 6 months, 18 months, 30 months)lasting for 60 minutes each, as described in our previous work (15). During this time, researchers will perform MR spectroscopy (MPFC voxel (31)), T1 weighted structural scan and eyes-closed, task-free, 6 minutes resting-state functional MRI. 6 months after the onset of first episode, the clinical assessment will be repeated using TLI. Patients with persistent FTD will be identified (from previous studies, 40% of patients are expected to have persistent FTD (9)) and separated from patients who have no FTD at 6-months time point. Patients with established illness will undergo only 2 scans: baseline and 1 year later.

Condition Schizophrenia
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT02882204
SponsorLawson Health Research Institute
Last Modified on23 February 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

-45 years old
Outpatient of the Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychosis

Exclusion Criteria

Drug or alcohol dependence in past year
History of head injury (with associated unconsciousness for any period)
Mental retardation or suffering from medical conditions such as untreated hypertension, diabetes, hepatic/renal insufficiency, neurological illnesses
Otherwise unable to provide informed consent
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