Stanley Zammit

University of Bristol, Bristol, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (134)1104.55 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Psychotic experiences (PEs) occur in the general population, especially in children and adolescents, and are associated with poor psychosocial outcomes, impaired cognition, and increased risk of transition to psychosis. It is unknown how the presence and persistence of PEs during early adulthood affects cognition and brain function. The current study assessed working memory as well as brain function and structure in 149 individuals, with and without PEs, drawn from a population cohort. Observer-rated PEs were classified as persistent or transient on the basis of longitudinal assessments. Working memory was assessed using the n-back task during fMRI. Dynamic causal modeling (DCM) was used to characterize frontoparietal network configuration and voxel-based morphometry was utilized to examine gray matter. Those with persistent, but not transient, PEs performed worse on the n-back task, compared with controls, yet showed no significant differences in regional brain activation or brain structure. DCM analyses revealed greater emphasis on frontal connectivity within a frontoparietal network in those with PEs compared with controls. We propose that these findings portray an altered configuration of working memory function in the brain, potentially indicative of an adaptive response to atypical development associated with the manifestation of PEs. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press.
    Cerebral Cortex 08/2015; DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhv181 · 8.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Depression is common, especially in women of child-bearing age; prevalence estimates for this group range from 8% to 12%, and there is robust evidence that maternal depression is associated with mental health problems in offspring. Suicidal behaviour is a growing concern amongst young people and those exposed to maternal depression are likely to be especially at high risk. The aim of this study was to utilise a large, prospective population cohort to examine the relationship between depression symptom trajectories in mothers over the first eleven years of their child's life and subsequent adolescent suicidal ideation. An additional aim was to test if associations were explained by maternal suicide attempt and offspring depressive disorder. Data were utilised from a population-based birth cohort: the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Maternal depression symptoms were assessed repeatedly from pregnancy to child age 11 years. Offspring suicidal ideation was assessed at age 16 years. Using multiple imputation, data for 10,559 families were analysed. Using latent class growth analysis, five distinct classes of maternal depression symptoms were identified (minimal, mild, increasing, sub-threshold, chronic-severe). The prevalence of past-year suicidal ideation at age 16 years was 15% (95% CI: 14-17%). Compared to offspring of mothers with minimal symptoms, the greatest risk of suicidal ideation was found for offspring of mothers with chronic-severe symptoms [OR 3.04 (95% CI 2.19, 4.21)], with evidence for smaller increases in risk of suicidal ideation in offspring of mothers with sub-threshold, increasing and mild symptoms. These associations were not fully accounted for by maternal suicide attempt or offspring depression diagnosis. Twenty-six percent of non-depressed offspring of mothers with chronic-severe depression symptoms reported suicidal ideation. Risk for suicidal ideation should be considered in young people whose mothers have a history of sustained high levels of depression symptoms, even when the offspring themselves do not have a depression diagnosis.
    PLoS ONE 07/2015; 10(7):e0131885. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0131885 · 3.23 Impact Factor
  • Leon Fonville · Stanley Zammit · Glyn Lewis · Anthony S David
    Early Intervention in Psychiatry 07/2015; DOI:10.1111/eip.12254 · 1.74 Impact Factor
  • Maria Niarchou · Stanley Zammit · Glyn Lewis
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to highlight the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) as a resource to study psychopathology. To demonstrate this, we review the studies related to depression and psychosis in childhood and adolescence and discuss the results in relation to the aetiology of depression and psychotic experiences (PEs) and possible underlying mechanisms. We examined the list of publications from ALSPAC and then classified them as examining (a) the course and risk factors of maternal and paternal depression, (b) the effects of maternal and paternal depression on child development, (c) risk factors for depression in childhood and adolescence, (d) the frequency, clinical relevance and risk factors of PEs, and (e) shared risk factors for depression and PEs. There was evidence that environmental stressors and the way these are interpreted contribute to risk of depression and evidence that biological factors related to puberty are also likely to play a role. With regards to PEs, the findings further support the existence of 'a continuum of psychosis' while they also suggest that PEs might be of limited clinical utility in predicting psychotic disorder during adolescence and early adulthood. Finally, most risk factors examined were found to be shared between depression and PEs. The ALSPAC birth cohort has provided important insights for our understanding of the aetiological mechanisms underlying depression and PEs. Future research could aim to incorporate measures of automatic psychological mechanisms to provide insights into the brain mechanisms that underlie these clinical phenomena.
    Social Psychiatry 05/2015; 50(7). DOI:10.1007/s00127-015-1072-8 · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Sleep disturbances are commonly reported in the psychosis prodrome, but rarely explored in relation to psychotic experiences. Aims To investigate the relationship between specific parasomnias (nightmares, night terrors and sleepwalking) in childhood and later adolescent psychotic experiences. Method The sample comprised 4720 individuals from a UK birth cohort. Mothers reported on children's experience of regular nightmares at several time points between 2 and 9 years. Experience of nightmares, night terrors and sleepwalking was assessed using a semi-structured interview at age 12. Psychotic experiences were assessed at ages 12 and 18 using a semi-structured clinical interview. Results There was a significant association between the presence of nightmares at 12 and psychotic experiences at 18 when adjusted for possible confounders and psychotic experiences at 12 (OR = 1.62, 95% CI 1.19-2.20). The odds ratios were larger for those who reported persistent psychotic experiences. Conclusions The presence of nightmares might be an early risk indicator for psychosis. © The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2015.
    The British journal of psychiatry: the journal of mental science 05/2015; 153. DOI:10.1192/bjp.bp.113.144089 · 7.34 Impact Factor
  • PLoS ONE 04/2015; 10(4):e0122896. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0122896 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is often regarded as a "dysconnectivity" disorder and recent work using graph theory has been used to better characterize dysconnectivity of the structural connectome in schizophrenia. However, there are still little data on the topology of connectomes in less severe forms of the condition. Such analysis will identify topological markers of less severe disease states and provide potential predictors of further disease development. Individuals with psychotic experiences (PEs) were identified from a population-based cohort without relying on participants presenting to clinical services. Such individuals have an increased risk of developing clinically significant psychosis. 123 individuals with PEs and 125 controls were scanned with diffusion-weighted MRI. Whole-brain structural connectomes were derived and a range of global and local GT-metrics were computed. Global efficiency and density were significantly reduced in individuals with PEs. Local efficiency was reduced in a number of regions, including critical network hubs. Further analysis of functional subnetworks showed differential impairment of the default mode network. An additional analysis of pair-wise connections showed no evidence of differences in individuals with PEs. These results are consistent with previous findings in schizophrenia. Reduced efficiency in critical core hubs suggests the brains of individuals with PEs may be particularly predisposed to dysfunction. The absence of any detectable effects in pair-wise connections illustrates that, at less severe stages of psychosis, white-matter alterations are subtle and only manifest when examining network topology. This study indicates that topology could be a sensitive biomarker for early stages of psychotic illness. Hum Brain Mapp, 2015.© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 04/2015; 36:2629–2643. DOI:10.1002/hbm.22796 · 6.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has been suggested that those who both bully and are victims of bullying (bully/victims) are at the highest risk of adverse mental health outcomes. However, unknown is whether most bully/victims were bullies or victims first and whether being a bully/victim is more detrimental to mental health than being a victim. A total of 4101 children were prospectively studied from birth, and structured interviews and questionnaires were used to assess bullying involvement at 10 years (elementary school) and 13 years of age (secondary school). Mental health (anxiety, depression, psychotic experiences) was assessed at 18 years. Most bully/victims at age 13 (n = 233) had already been victims at primary school (pure victims: n = 97, 41.6 % or bully/victims: n = 47, 20.2 %). Very few of the bully/victims at 13 years had been pure bullies previously (n = 7, 3 %). After adjusting for a wide range of confounders, both bully/victims and pure victims, whether stable or not from primary to secondary school, were at increased risk of mental health problems at 18 years of age. In conclusion, children who are bully/victims at secondary school were most likely to have been already bully/victims or victims at primary school. Children who are involved in bullying behaviour as either bully/victims or victims at either primary or secondary school are at increased risk of mental health problems in late adolescence regardless of the stability of victimization. Clinicians should consider any victimization as a risk factor for mental health problems.
    European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 04/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00787-015-0705-5 · 3.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Offspring of mothers with depression are a high-risk group for the development of suicide-related behavior. These offspring are therefore a priority for preventive interventions; however, pathways contributing to risk, including specific aspects of offspring psychopathology, remain unclear. The aim of this study was to examine whether offspring symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), disruptive behavior disorder (DBD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and alcohol abuse independently mediate the association between maternal depression and offspring suicide-related behavior. Data were used from a population-based birth cohort, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Three distinct classes of depression symptoms across the mothers' first 11 years of their child's life were identified (minimal, moderate, chronic-severe). Offspring psychopathology was assessed at age 15 years and suicide-related behavior at age 16 years. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. There was evidence for increased risk of suicidal ideation in offspring of mothers with chronic-severe depression symptoms in comparison to offspring of mothers with minimal symptoms (odds ratio = 3.04, 95% CI = 2.19, 4.21). This association was independently mediated by offspring MDD, GAD, and DBD symptoms. The same mechanisms were found for offspring of mothers with moderate depression symptoms over time. Results were similar for offspring suicide attempt except for additional evidence of an indirect effect through offspring ADHD symptoms. Findings highlight that suicide prevention efforts in offspring of mothers with depression should not only be targeted at offspring with MDD; it is also important to consider offspring with other forms of psychopathology. Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 02/2015; 47(5). DOI:10.1016/j.jaac.2015.02.006 · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Converging evidence implicates immune abnormalities in schizophrenia (SCZ), and recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified immune-related single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with SCZ. Using the conditional false discovery rate (FDR) approach, we evaluated pleiotropy in SNPs associated with SCZ (n=21 856) and multiple sclerosis (MS) (n=43 879), an inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Because SCZ and bipolar disorder (BD) show substantial clinical and genetic overlap, we also investigated pleiotropy between BD (n=16 731) and MS. We found significant genetic overlap between SCZ and MS and identified 21 independent loci associated with SCZ, conditioned on association with MS. This enrichment was driven by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Importantly, we detected the involvement of the same human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles in both SCZ and MS, but with an opposite directionality of effect of associated HLA alleles (that is, MS risk alleles were associated with decreased SCZ risk). In contrast, we found no genetic overlap between BD and MS. Considered together, our findings demonstrate genetic pleiotropy between SCZ and MS and suggest that the MHC signals may differentiate SCZ from BD susceptibility.
    Molecular Psychiatry 02/2015; 20(2):207-214. DOI:10.1038/mp.2013.195 · 15.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genetic risk prediction has several potential applications in medical research and clinical practice and could be used, for example, to stratify a heterogeneous population of patients by their predicted genetic risk. However, for polygenic traits, such as psychiatric disorders, the accuracy of risk prediction is low. Here we use a multivariate linear mixed model and apply multi-trait genomic best linear unbiased prediction for genetic risk prediction. This method exploits correlations between disorders and simultaneously evaluates individual risk for each disorder. We show that the multivariate approach significantly increases the prediction accuracy for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder in the discovery as well as in independent validation datasets. By grouping SNPs based on genome annotation and fitting multiple random effects, we show that the prediction accuracy could be further improved. The gain in prediction accuracy of the multivariate approach is equivalent to an increase in sample size of 34% for schizophrenia, 68% for bipolar disorder, and 76% for major depressive disorders using single trait models. Because our approach can be readily applied to any number of GWAS datasets of correlated traits, it is a flexible and powerful tool to maximize prediction accuracy. With current sample size, risk predictors are not useful in a clinical setting but already are a valuable research tool, for example in experimental designs comparing cases with high and low polygenic risk. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 01/2015; 90. DOI:10.1016/j.ajhg.2014.12.006 · 10.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine neurocognitive, educational, and psychological functioning during childhood and early adolescence among survivors of early life meningitis who are apparently healthy. In the general population-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children birth cohort, meningitis exposure was determined at age of 18 months. The outcomes of intelligence quotient, short-term memory, working memory, reading and spelling abilities, psychological and behavioral problems, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and psychotic experiences at ages 9 to 13 years were compared between those exposed and unexposed to meningitis. Individuals with special educational needs were excluded. By age of 18 months, 67 of 11,035 children were reported to have suffered from meningitis (0.61%). These children, compared with the unexposed, performed worse on all neurocognitive and educational measures; mean difference in total intelligence quotient 7.36 (95% confidence interval, 1.60-13.11). Meningitis was associated with higher depressive and anxiety symptoms (P = .02), psychological and behavioral problems (P = .09), and increased risk of psychotic experiences; risk ratio 2.22 (95% confidence interval, 1.12-4.38). Exposure to meningitis in the early life is associated with neurocognitive, educational, and psychological difficulties during childhood and early adolescence among survivors who are apparently healthy. Therefore, focusing only on serious neurologic disabilities may underestimate the true impact of early life meningitis. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Annals of Epidemiology 11/2014; 25(4). DOI:10.1016/j.annepidem.2014.11.013 · 2.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Psychotic phenomena are common in the general population but are excluded from diagnostic criteria for mild to moderate depression and anxiety despite their co-occurrence and shared risk factors. We used item response theory modelling to examine whether the co-occurrence of depressive, anxiety and psychotic phenomena is best explained by: (1) a single underlying factor; (2) two separate, uncorrelated factors; (3) two separate yet linked factors; or (4) two separate domains along with an underlying 'common mental distress' (CMD) factor. We defined where, along any latent continuum, the psychopathological items contributed most information.
    Psychological Medicine 11/2014; 45(07):1-11. DOI:10.1017/S003329171400261X · 5.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) of developing psychosis present with widespread functional abnormalities in the brain. Cognitive deficits, including working memory (WM) problems, as commonly elicited by n-back tasks, are observed in CHR individuals. However, functional MRI (fMRI) studies, comprising a heterogeneous cluster of general and social cognition paradigms, have not necessarily demonstrated consistent and conclusive results in this population. Hence, a comprehensive review of fMRI studies, spanning almost one decade, was carried out to observe for general trends with respect to brain regions and cognitive systems most likely to be dysfunctional in CHR individuals. 32 studies were included for this review, out of which 22 met the criteria for quantitative analysis using activation likelihood estimation (ALE). Task related contrast activations were firstly analysed by comparing CHR and healthy control participants in the total pooled sample, followed by a comparison of general cognitive function studies (excluding social cognition paradigms), and finally by only looking at n-back working memory task based studies. Findings from the ALE implicated four key dysfunctional and distinct neural regions in the CHR group, namely the right inferior parietal lobule (rIPL), the left medial frontal gyrus (lmFG), the left superior temporal gyrus (lSTG) and the right fronto-polar cortex (rFPC) of the superior frontal gyrus (SFG). Narrowing down to relatively few significant dysfunctional neural regions is a step forward in reducing the apparent ambiguity of overall findings, which would help to target specific neural regions and pathways of interest for future research in CHR populations.
    Journal of Psychiatric Research 09/2014; 61. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.08.018 · 4.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background The aim of the study was to determinate whether schizophrenia patients with a history of cannabis use have a different prognosis, with regards to readmission and hospital duration, compared with those without a history of cannabis use. Method The present investigation was a cohort study of 50 087 Swedish men with data on cannabis use at the ages of 18–20 years. A total of 357 cases of schizophrenia were identified from in-patient care and followed up from 1973 to 2007. Results Schizophrenia patients with a history of cannabis use had a higher median duration of first hospital episode (59 days v. 30 days). Patients with a history of cannabis use had a higher median rate of readmission (10 times v. four times). Also, total number of hospital days was higher in patients with a history of cannabis use compared with those without (547 days v. 184 days). Patients with a history of cannabis use had an increased odds of having more than 20 hospital readmissions compared with non-users [3.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3–7.3] as well as an increased odds of hospital admission lasting more than 2 years (2.4, 95% CI 1.1–7.4) after controlling for diagnosis of personality disorders, family socio-economic position, IQ score, civil status, place of residence, risky use of alcohol and use of other drugs. Patients with a history of cannabis use were less likely to have paranoid schizophrenia compared with never users (8% v. 17%) in the first admission. Conclusions Schizophrenia patients with a history of cannabis use had a significantly higher burden of lifetime in-patient care than non-cannabis users. Not only does cannabis increase the risk of schizophrenia, but also our findings indicate that the course and prognosis of schizophrenia may be more severe than schizophrenia cases in general.
    Psychological Medicine 09/2014; 44(12):2513-2521. DOI:10.1017/S0033291714000191 · 5.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background An argument often used to support the view that psychotic experiences (PEs) in general population samples are a valid phenotype for studying the aetiology of schizophrenia is that risk factors for schizophrenia show similar patterns of association with PEs. However, PEs often co-occur with depression, and no study has explicitly tested whether risk factors for schizophrenia are shared between PEs and depression, or are psychopathology specific, while jointly modelling both outcomes. Method We used data from 7030 subjects from a birth cohort study. Depression and PEs at age 18 years were assessed using self-report questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. We compared the extent to which risk factors for schizophrenia across sociodemographic, familial, neurodevelopmental, stress–adversity, emotional–behavioural and substance use domains showed different associations with PEs and depression within bivariate models that allowed for their correlation. Results Most of the exposures examined were associated, to a similar degree, with an increased risk of both outcomes. However, whereas female sex and family history of depression showed some discrimination as potential risk factors for depression and PEs, with stronger associations in the former, markers of abnormal neurodevelopment showed stronger associations with PEs. Conclusions The argument that PEs are valid markers for studying the aetiology of schizophrenia, made simply on the basis that they share risk factors in common, is not well supported. PEs seem to be a weak index of genetic and environmental risk for schizophrenia; however, studies disentangling aetiological pathways to PEs from those impacting upon co-morbid psychopathology might provide important insights into the aetiology of psychotic disorders.
    Psychological Medicine 09/2014; 44(12):2557-2566. DOI:10.1017/S0033291714000026 · 5.43 Impact Factor
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    Marcus R. Munafò · Stanley Zammit · Jonathan Flint
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    ABSTRACT: Rutter's commentary (Rutter, 2014) on our article (Munafò et al., 2014) provides us the opportunity to clarify some issues that he (and therefore, we suspect, others) may have misunderstood.
    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 08/2014; 55(10). DOI:10.1111/jcpp.12308 · 5.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Several studies suggest a link between early-life infection and adult schizophrenia. Cross-sectional studies have reported: (1) increased prevalence of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), a member of the Herpesviridae family in schizophrenia; (2) a possible role of Herpes simplex virus in cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia and healthy controls. We report a longitudinal serological study of early-life EBV infection, childhood IQ, and subsequent risk of psychotic experiences (PE) in adolescence. Methods: Serum antibodies to EBV (anti-VCA IgG) were measured in 530 participants from the ALSPAC cohort at age 4 years. Assessments for IQ at age 9 and PE at age 13 were attended by 401 and 366 of these individuals, respectively. Logistic regression calculated odds ratio (OR) for PE in EBV-exposed, compared with unexposed group. Mean IQ scores were compared between these groups; effect of IQ on the EBV-PE association was examined. Potential confounders included age, gender, ethnicity, social class, household crowding, and concurrent depression and anxiety. Results: About 25% of the sample was exposed to EBV at age 4. EBV exposure was associated with subsequent risk of definite PE in adolescence; OR 5.37 (95% CI 1.71-16.87), which remained significant after confounding adjustment. EBV-exposed individuals compared with unexposed performed worse on all IQ measures; mean difference in full-scale IQ 4.15 (95% CI 0.44-7.87); however, this was explained by socio-demographic differences. The EBV-PE association was not explained by IQ. Conclusions: Early-life exposure to EBV is associated with PE in adolescence, consistent with a role of infection/immune dysfunction in the aetiology of psychosis. (C) 2014 Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Schizophrenia Research 07/2014; 158(1-3). DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2014.05.019 · 4.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Children reporting psychotic experiences (PEs) are at increased risk of developing psychosis in adulthood. Cognitive deficits and anxiety disorders often precede psychotic disorders and are associated with higher risk of PEs. While the high activity alleles of variants within COMT have been associated with cognitive deficits, and the low activity alleles with higher risk of anxiety disorders, no associations of COMT with PEs have been found. One possible explanation is that the association between COMT and PEs is indirect, through cognitive function and anxiety disorders. We examined whether the association between PEs and COMT (four single nucleotide polymorphisms and three haplotypes) is indirect, through cognition or anxiety disorders. 6,784 individuals from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) were genotyped and completed neurocognitive assessments at ages 8 and 11, as well as semi-structured interviews for anxiety disorders and PEs at ages 10 and 12, respectively. Alleles rs2097603 and rs4680, and two COMT haplotypes, all indexing high activity, were indirectly associated with higher risk of PEs through impaired processing speed, IQ and attention. There was no evidence of a total effect of COMT on PEs, nor for an indirect effect through anxiety disorders. This is the first study to examine indirect effects of COMT on PEs. Evidence of an indirect association suggests a complex developmental pathway underlies the emergence of PEs in children, with possible implications for prevention/intervention strategies. Our findings provide additional support for processing speed and attention as endophenotypes in psychotic disorders. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B Neuropsychiatric Genetics 07/2014; 165(5):410-420. DOI:10.1002/ajmg.b.32245 · 3.27 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

6k Citations
1,104.55 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2007–2015
    • University of Bristol
      • School of Social and Community Medicine
      Bristol, England, United Kingdom
  • 2013–2014
    • University of South Wales
      Понтиприте, Wales, United Kingdom
  • 2005–2014
    • Cardiff University
      • • Department of Psychological Medicine and Neurology
      • • Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences
      Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
  • 2008
    • University of Washington Seattle
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 2000–2008
    • University of Wales
      • College of Medicine
      Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
  • 2004
    • University of Gothenburg
      • Unit of Social Medicine
      Goeteborg, Västra Götaland, Sweden