Schizophrenia is characterized by symptoms, including hallucinations and delusions (positive symptoms), emotional stupor and withdrawal (negative symptoms), and cognitive dysfunction, which occur at the onset of the disease.
The prognosis of schizophrenia can be improved by taking the appropriate interventions at the at-risk mental state (ARMS) stage before the onset of psychosis or as early as possible after the onset of the disease.
As psychiatric disorders are mainly diagnosed by the symptoms, there is no objective index that can be expressed in numerical values as can be done for other disease, like hypertension or diabetes, thus making it difficult to detect and intervene in the treatment of the patients who do not present any severe symptoms.
Therefore, this research group aimed at clarifying the specific serum concentrations of substances in the subjects at the ARMS stage, which might aid in the development of improved early interventions strategies for the effective treatment of the patients. Using 30 μL of serum from every subject in the ARMS and the healthy control groups, serum metabolomics analysis was performed using high-performance liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry. The group found that the concentrations of several endogenous substances in the serum of the subjects in the ARMS group differed from those in the serum of the subjects in the healthy control group. The results of this study are expected to accelerate the research on the elucidation of the pathogenesis of ARMS, which is largely unknown.
The results of this study will aid in the future development of effective methods of intervention with few side effects for the treatment of patients in the ARMS stage before the onset of schizophrenia.