23% of adolescents at risk of psychosis end up developing the disorder

The study led by the Research in Child and Adolescent Mental Health team reveals that one in four adolescents at clinical risk of psychosis end up developing this mental disorder within 18 months. The work has been published in the scientific journal European Child and Adolescente Psychiatry.

The team, led by Dr. Montserrat Dolz, coordinator of the Research in Child and Adolescent Mental Health group at the Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu · SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital, in collaboration with the Hospital Clínic Barcelona, is conducting several studies to identify the factors that contribute to the development of severe mental illnesses, such as psychotic disorders in children and young people. These studies aim to detect these factors to prevent or alleviate mental disorders and their consequences.

"Through this study, we followed 101 children and adolescents aged between 10 and 18 years with a high clinical risk of psychosis, finding that 23% experienced a psychotic episode during this period. Among more than 60 factors evaluated, only three are associated with the development of psychosis: delay in language acquisition, attenuated psychotic symptoms (such as grandiosity ideas), and treatment with antipsychotic medications," commented Dr. Jordina Tor, co-author of the article and researcher of the Research in Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

The authors emphasize that, unlike the adult population, psychosis is less prevalent in children and adolescents, with a more heterogeneous clinical presentation, making it difficult to draw definitive conclusions.

Study on stress, nutrition and perinatal complications

The research team has been studying the factors related to the development of psychosis in children and adolescents for over ten years, including the impact of stress and nutrition.

Recently, they have started a new study to determine whether perinatal complications, such as low birth weight or complications during pregnancy, can influence the development of psychotic disorders during adolescence. This study will analyze patients from the SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital with symptoms that often lead to severe mental disorders, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, but also requires healthy volunteers aged between 10 and 17 years.

To participate in the study, children and young people aged between 10 and 17 years must have normative functioning, meaning they should not have any prior mental health diagnosis, and should not have close relatives diagnosed with schizophrenia. Participation requires one visit, completing some questionnaires, and undergoing an MRI scan.

If you want to know more about the study and leave your contact information for the research team to explain it to you, you can:

Reference paper

Dolz M, Tor J, Puig O, de la Serna E, Muñoz-Samons D, Pardo M, Alvarez- Subiela X, Rodriguez-Pascual M, Supañas G, Ilzarbe D, Baeza I. Clinical and neurodevelopmental predictors of psychotic disorders in children and adolescentes at clinical high risk for psychosis: the CAPRIS study. Eur Child Adolesco Psychiatry. 2024 Apr 20. doi: 10.1007/s00787-024-02436-4. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38642116.

Researchers from the Mental Health Area of SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital - IRSJD have started a study to determine if perinatal complications and low birth weight play a significant role.