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Impaired inhibitory signalling as an explanation for cognitive and positive symptoms in disorders of psychosis

Authors: Sumedha Nalluru, Jill O'Reilly, Helen Barron

Presented by Sumedha Nalluru, Jill O'Reilly, Helen Barron

Abstract: Psychosis diagnosis relies on behavioural rather than physiological assessment and antipsychotic medications remain ineffective in over 1/3 of patients. Here, we aim to establish whether symptoms reported in psychosis manifest from reduced neural inhibition, which is a well-established pathology. To investigate the relationship between reduced neural inhibition and symptoms of psychosis we have designed a human paradigm that allows us to quantify participants propensity to distinguish causal and statistical relationships, as observed in delusional beliefs. In this project we will start by testing this paradigm in a group of healthy controls. We will use a between-subject design to manipulate levels of neural inhibition using anodal/sham transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). We will use 7T MRI to test the effect of altered neural inhibition on memory expression, memory reactivation, and false belief. As a follow up to this study, we will employ a simplified version of this paradigm in individuals who have experienced a first-episode of psychosis.