kenya treePsychosis risk traits

Faculty members in the department of epidemiology in the College of Public Health and Health Professions and the College of Medicine are studying the development and progression of psychosis risk traits among adolescents and young adults in areas around Nairobi, Kenya. Schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders are among the most disabling illnesses worldwide and cause enormous economic costs to society and distress to patients and families. Linda B. Cottler, Ph.D., M.P.H., chair of the department of epidemiology and PHHP associate dean for research and planning, and Catherine W. Striley, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.P.E., an assistant professor, are collaborating with lead investigator Daniel Mamah, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, on a National Institutes of Health-funded study of “ultra high risk” symptoms for developing psychosis among young adults. The team will train local mental health personnel on the use of standardized diagnostic, neuro-cognitive, neurological and anthropological assessments in Kenya. Researchers will compare profiles of youth with ultra high risk symptoms to matched controls, evaluate the progression of symptoms, and identify the rate of transition to psychotic disorders and the traits indicating progression towards psychosis. These longitudinal studies will characterize the development of ultra high risk symptoms in youth for the first time in Africa.