Anyone might experience a psychotic episode, which commonly involves delusions, hallucinations or disorganized thinking.
However, now the onset of psychosis can be predicted before it occurs, using a machine-learning tool which can classify MRI brain scans into those who are healthy and those at risk of a psychotic episode. An international consortium including researchers from the University of Tokyo, used the classifier to compare scans from over 2,000 people from 21 global locations. About half of the participants had been identified as being clinically at high risk of developing psychosis. Using training data, the classifier was 85 per cent accurate at differentiating between people who were not at risk and those who later experienced overt psychotic symptoms. Using new data, it was 73 per cent accurate. This tool could be helpful in future clinical settings, as while most people who experience psychosis make a full recovery, earlier intervention typically leads to better outcomes with less negative impact on people’s lives.