Electroretinography may reveal cognitive impairment among a cohort of subjects at risk of a major psychiatric disorder.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Psychiatry Res, Volume 291, p.113227 (2020)


<p><strong>INTRODUCTION: </strong>Almost a third of the offspring of parents diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder could develop a mental disorder or related symptoms. The objectives of this study were to test the existence of two distinct subgroups of youth at-risk, according to their retinal response to luminance measured with electroretinography (ERG), and to relate the resulting cluster memberships with the cognitive clusters previously reported.</p>

<p><strong>METHODOLOGY: </strong>A clustering analysis was performed with ERG measurements in 107 at-risk offspring. Each subgroup was compared to a healthy control group of 203 individuals. The ERG subgroup memberships were then associated with the cognitive clusters.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>A two-cluster solution was obtained: HR-Cluster1 (n=53) showed a control-like ERG profile and HR-Cluster2 (n=54) showed reduced rod amplitudes and prolonged cone latencies of the b-wave. Subjects in the HR-Cluster2 were 2.7 times more likely to belong to the most detrimental cognitive subgroup than subjects in the HR-Cluster1 (49% Vs 18%).</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSION: </strong>At-risk offspring showed two distinct ERG profiles: a control-like and an altered profile. A higher risk of impaired cognitive function was observed in subjects with the altered ERG profile, suggesting the ERG as a potential biomarker of susceptibility to mental illness among youth at risk.</p>

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