We investigated the relationship between brain structure and NSS in a sample of 66 patients at their first episode of psychosis. We used the Neurological Evaluation Scale for neurological assessment and high-resolution MRI and Freesurfer to explore cortical thickness and surface area. Higher rates of NSS were associated with a reduction of cortical thickness in the precentral and postcentral gyri, inferior-parietal, superior temporal, and fusiform gyri. Higher rates of NSS were also associated with smaller surface areas of superior temporal gyrus and frontal regions (including middle frontal, superior and orbito-frontal gyri). Finally, more sensory integration signs were also associated with larger surface area of the latero-occipital region.
We conclude that the presence of NSS in psychosis is associated with distinct but widespread changes in cortical thickness and surface area, in areas crucial for sensory-motor integration and for the fluid execution of movement. Studying these morphological correlates with advanced neuroimaging techniques can continue to improve our knowledge on the neurobiological substrate of these important functional correlates of psychosis.
- Neurological soft signs
- First-episode psychosis
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Cortical thickness