Measuring the brain waves may aid predict the risk of developing schizophrenia, reveals study led by German and Swiss researchers.
The researchers used electroencephalography (EEG), which measures the brain's electrical activity or "brain waves", to study the brain's response to commonly and rarely presented tones that differed in length.
When these rare "deviant" tones are presented to healthy people, the brain automatically generates a particular electrical wave called mismatch negativity, or MMN. People diagnosed with schizophrenia have reduced MMN.
In this new study, the researchers followed a group of people clinically at high risk for developing psychosis. They found that the individuals who went on to develop schizophrenia had smaller MMN than the subgroup who did not.
This finding suggested that MMN might be useful in predicting the later development of schizophrenia.
First author Mitja Bodatsch said that "integration of both biological and clinical measures into multidimensional models might be the crucial next step forward to improve risk staging in psychiatry."
The study was published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry.