University of Oulu

Ramsay H, Barnett JH,Murray GK, Miettunen J, Mäki P, Järvelin M-R,Smith GD, Ala-Korpela M, Veijola J (2018). Cognition, psychosis risk and metabolic measures in two adolescent birth cohorts. Psychological Medicine 48, 2609-2623.

Cognition, psychosis risk and metabolic measures in two adolescent birth cohorts

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Author: Ramsay, Hugh1,2,3; Barnett, Jennifer H4,5; Murray, Graham K4;
Organizations: 1Department of Psychiatry, Research Unit of Clinical Neuroscience, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Psychiatry, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
3St. Michael’s House, Dublin, Ireland
4Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
5Cambridge Cognition Ltd, Cambridge, UK
6Faculty of Medicine, Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
7Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
8Department of Psychiatry, Länsi-Pohja Healthcare District, Kauppakatu 25, 94100 Kemi, Finland
9Department of Psychiatry, The Middle Ostrobothnia Central Hospital, Kiuru, Finland
10Mental Health Services, Joint Municipal Authority of Wellbeing in Raahe District, Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland
11Mental Health Services, Basic Health Care District of Kallio, Helsinki, Finland
12Department of Psychiatry, Kainuu Central Hospital, Kainuu Social and Healthcare District, Kainuu, Finland
13Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, Imperial College London, London, W2 1PG, UK
14Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu, Aapistie 5, 90220 Oulu, Finland
15Unit of Primary Health Care, Oulu University Hospital, OYS, Kajaanintie 50, 90220, Oulu, Finland
16Department of Life Sciences, College of Health and Life Sciences, Brunel University London, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, UK
17Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
18Systems Epidemiology, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
19Computational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu and Biocenter Oulu, Oulu, Finland
20NMR Metabolomics Laboratory, School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
21Population Health Science, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
22Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
23Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, The Alfred Hospital, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
24Medical Research Center Oulu, University Hospital of Oulu and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Cambridge University Press, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-01-24


Background: Psychoses, especially schizophrenia, are often preceded by cognitive deficits and psychosis risk states. Altered metabolic profiles have been found in schizophrenia. However, the associations between metabolic profiles and poorer cognitive performance and psychosis risk in the population remain to be determined.

Methods: Detailed molecular profiles were measured for up to 8976 individuals from two general population-based prospective birth cohorts: the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 (NFBC 1986) and the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). A high-throughput nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy platform was used to quantify 70 metabolic measures at age 15–16 years in the NFBC 1986 and at ages 15 and 17 years in ALSPAC. Psychosis risk was assessed using the PROD-screen questionnaire at age 15–16 years in the NFBC 1986 or the psychotic-like symptoms assessment at age 17 years in ALSPAC. Cognitive measures included academic performance at age 16 years in both cohorts and general intelligence and executive function in ALSPAC. Logistic regression measured cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between metabolic measures and psychosis risk and cognitive performance, controlling for important covariates.

Results: Seven metabolic measures, primarily fatty acid (FA) measures, showed cross-sectional associations with general cognitive performance, four across both cohorts (low density lipoprotein diameter, monounsaturated FA ratio, omega-3 ratio and docosahexaenoic acid ratio), even after controlling for important mental and physical health covariates. Psychosis risk showed minimal metabolic associations.

Conclusions: FA ratios may be important in marking risk for cognitive deficits in adolescence. Further research is needed to clarify whether these biomarkers could be causal and thereby possible targets for intervention.

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Series: Psychological medicine
ISSN: 0033-2917
ISSN-E: 1469-8978
ISSN-L: 0033-2917
Volume: 48
Issue: 15
Pages: 2609 - 2623
DOI: 10.1017/S0033291718001794
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3112 Neurosciences
Funding: The UK Medical Research Council and Wellcome (Grant ref: 102215/2/13/2) and the University of Bristol provide core support for ALSPAC, while ALSPAC metabolomics data generation was funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC–MC_UC_12013/1). This research was also supported by funding from the EU (QLG1-CT-2000-01643 (EUROBLCS) grant no. E51560), NorFA (grant nos. 731, 20056, 30167), the NIHH (USA) 2000 (G DF682 grant no. 50945), and the researchers’own funding. JM was supported by the Academy of Finland (Grant no. 268336). MAK was supported by the Sigrid Juselius Foundation, Finland. MAK and GDS work in a Unit that was supported by the University of Bristol and UK Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12013/1). GDS works in the Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol (MC_UU_00011/1).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 268336
Detailed Information: 268336 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: This article has been published in a revised form in Psychological Medicine This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Cambridge University Press 2018.