Mental illness is now the largest cause of disability in the developed countries, and schizophrenia is ranked among the leading causes of the total burden of disease worldwide. In addition to personal suffering, the disorder also represents a major proble m to society
In spite of more than 75 000 research papers in Medline under the key-word "Schizophrenia", we do not know enough about the causes and how symptoms arise, and our treatments often fail.
The current project is based on a novel combination of two of the most fruitful research approaches over the last decade. The first is the focus on - and increased understanding of - the very early phases of psychotic disorders and the possible role of early intervention in ameliorating its course and outco me. The second is the possibilities that recent progress in molecular genetics, neurocognition and neuroimaging gives for a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in the development of the disorder.
The main aims of the current project proposal are given above. These aims will be the basis for two PhD projects; one based at Stavanger University Hospital (aim 1) and the second at Ullevål University Hospital (aim 2).
Patients included in the original TIPS-study between 1997 and 2000 will be inte rviewed and assessed concerning clinical symptoms, cognitive status, level of functioning and quality of life 10 years after start of first treatment. After five year follow-up full data sets were available for 206 patients. Bias testing indicated that t he five year sample is representative of all study participants, and preliminary analyses indicate that the early intervention advantage on negative symptoms is kept after 5 years. With the exception of five, all patients have given oral permission to be contacted for a ten year follow-up. Including patients that we were not able to localize for the five-year follow-up gives a total of 240 potential participants for the ten-year follow-up.