Individuals Experiencing Schizophrenia for more than 5 years

We are conducting this part of the study with individuals who have experienced schizophrenia symptoms for more than 5 years to assess changes that may have occurred prior to and since the beginning of the illness. Clinical symptoms, thinking and problem-solving abilities, hormones, electrical activity in the brain (a specialized EEG), and MRI imaging studies will be assessed and the findings compared within the group and with the other two groups. Approximately 84 people (42 individuals with schizophrenia for more than 5 years and 42 healthy volunteers) will participate in this part of the study.

Since schizophrenia has been identified as an illness, speculation has existed that the condition's symptoms result from dysfunction of several brain areas. More recently, consensus has coalesced to implicate specific areas of brain dysfunction, although, the nature and cause of the dysfunction remains unknown. We do know that each person demonstrates the illness with an individual set of symptoms and ability to function, secondary to possible neuronal loss or altered development. This study uses the research expertise of several co-principal investigators to extend our understanding of schizophrenia and ultimately lead to better clinical outcomes.

One assessment will be conducted over approximately 4 to 5 visits. Participation entails clinical interviews, filling out questionnaires, neurocognitive assessment, providing hormonal and genetic samples, a specialized EEG, and MRI scans. A parent, if available, will be interviewed. This is not a treatment study but a study to understand experiences and functioning at this point in time.

Individuals who are experiencing schizophrenia for 5 years or more are invited to consider participation in the study. We are particularly looking to recruit individuals who have had 3 or more hospitalizations for the condition. Referrals to the study can be made by family physicians, pediatricians, psychiatrists, mental health professionals, family members or individuals themselves.