“Identifying cognitive and neural mechanisms involved in the development of schizophrenia requires longitudinal observation of individuals prior to onset. Here recent studies of prodromal individuals who progress to full psychosis are briefly reviewed in relation to models of schizophrenia pathophysiology. Together, this body of work suggests that disruption in brain connectivity, driven primarily by a progressive reduction in dendritic spines on cortical pyramidal neurons, may represent a key triggering mechanism. The earliest disruptions appear to be in circuits involved in referencing experiences according to time, place, and agency, which may result in a failure to recognize particular cognitions as self-generated or to constrain interpretations of the meaning of events based on prior experiences, providing the scaffolding for faulty reality testing.”
Cannon TD: How Schizophrenia Develops: Cognitive and Brain Mechanisms Underlying Onset of Psychosis. Trends Cognitive Science 19(12):744-756 (2015).

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