The Parahippocampal Gyrus as a Neural Marker of Early Remission in First-Episode Psychosis: A Voxel-Based Morphometry StudyAuthor(s): Michael Bodnar , Philippe-Olivier Harvey , Ashok K. Malla, Ridha Joober, Martin Lepage
Introduction: Outcome from psychotic disorders is heterogeneous with poor long-term clinical outcome associated with such markers as decreased internal capsule volume and increased ventricular volumes. No previous study has examined neuroimaging markers in relation to early remission. Methods: This neuroimaging study included 68 previously untreated first episode of psychosis (FEP) patients, of whom 28 achieved remission and 40 did not after six months of treatment, and 42 healthy controls. Using voxel-based morphometry (VBM), we set out to determine if specific neural correlates could be identified in FEP patients not achieving remission in a specialized early-intervention service. Results: Nonremitted patients had significant lower grey matter concentration (GMC) in the parahippocampal gyrus bilaterally compared to remitted patients. A classification model utilizing parahippocampal GMC correctly classified remission status 79% of the time and accounted for 56% of the variance. Moreover, GMC on the left (r=-0.35, p=0.004) and right (r=-0.47, p<0.0001) side correlated with social withdrawal while only the left side correlated with verbal memory (r=0.21, p=0.03). Conclusions: Neural markers of early remission are present in first-episode patients. A better understanding of the neural etiology of psychosis and its relationship to outcome may encourage the search for new medications to help improve outcome in relation to the identified brain regions like the parahippocampal gyrus.