This is the third submission of a competitive renewal of an R01. Originally titled """"""""Eye Movements: Children of Schizophrenics,"""""""" we have re-titled to application to """"""""Childhood Physiology and Risk for Schizophrenia,"""""""" to more accurately represent the expansion of goals in this resubmission. An increasingly important issue for child psychiatry has been to develop strategies for the primary prevention of schizophrenia. This clinical issue is mirrored in a correspondingly fundamental biological issues: """"""""When"""""""" during development does alteration in brain development occur, """"""""What"""""""" is the alteration in brain development, and """"""""Why"""""""" does the alteration occur (what are the genetic and environmental etiologic factors)? It is hoped that answers to these Where, What, and Why questions will guide decisions on """"""""How"""""""" we can intervene to normalize brain development and reduce risk for schizophrenia. The first five years of this project focused on the When question, utilizing a basic physiological phenotype, smooth pursuit eye movements (SPEM), to demonstrate that at least one component of schizophrenia associated brain dysfunction is fully expressed by 6 years of age. A specific measure, the frequency of leading saccades during SPEM, is sensitive and specific to genetic risk for schizophrenia, and is fully expressed by 6 years of age. The leading saccade measure is normalized, in adults, by acute nicotine exposure, supporting nicotinic mechanisms as part of the Why does this happen. This competitive renewal is designed to extend these findings. Physiological measures, and in particular, sensory gating of the P50 auditory evoked potential, will be examined in a longitudinal study of young infants to explore when the ability to screen sensory information develops (Specific Aim # 1). The role of nicotine (tobacco) in this early developing sensory gating capacity will be examined in infants whose mothers smoke (Specific Aim #2). Clarification of these developmental issues will allow whether physiological measurements of genetic vulnerability to psychosis can be identified in the young infant (Specific Aim #3). Clarification of this methodology may lead to a novel prenatal intervention strategy designed to decrease risk for adolescent and adult onset of psychosis.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-DBD (01))
Program Officer
Delcarmen-Wiggins, Rebecca
Project Start
Project End
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Budget End
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University of Colorado Denver
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Hutchison, Amanda K; Hunter, Sharon K; Wagner, Brandie D et al. (2017) Diminished Infant P50 Sensory Gating Predicts Increased 40-Month-Old Attention, Anxiety/Depression, and Externalizing Symptoms. J Atten Disord 21:209-218
Ross, Randal G; Hunter, Sharon K; Hoffman, M Camille et al. (2016) Perinatal Phosphatidylcholine Supplementation and Early Childhood Behavior Problems: Evidence for CHRNA7 Moderation. Am J Psychiatry 173:509-16
Hunter, Sharon K; Gillow, Sabreena J; Ross, Randal G (2015) Stability of P50 auditory sensory gating during sleep from infancy to 4 years of age. Brain Cogn 94:4-9
Brodsky, Kimberly; Willcutt, Erik G; Davalos, Deana B et al. (2014) Neuropsychological functioning in childhood-onset psychosis and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 55:811-8
Pellegrino, Laurel; Ross, Randal G; Hunter, Sharon K (2013) In Six-month-old Infants, Prenatal Exposure to Maternal Anxiety is Associated with Less Developed Smooth Pursuit Eye Movements: An Initial Study. Int Neuropsychiatr Dis J 1:89-103
Ross, Anne Spencer; Hunter, Sharon Kay; Groth, Mark A et al. (2013) P50 sensory gating in infants. J Vis Exp :50065
D'Anna-Hernandez, Kimberly L; Zerbe, Gary O; Hunter, Sharon K et al. (2013) Paternal psychopathology and maternal depressive symptom trajectory during the first year postpartum. Ment Illn 5:e1
Ross, Randal G; Hunter, Sharon K; McCarthy, Lizbeth et al. (2013) Perinatal choline effects on neonatal pathophysiology related to later schizophrenia risk. Am J Psychiatry 170:290-8
Reidy, Rosemary E; Ross, Randal G; Hunter, Sharon K (2013) Theory of Mind Development is Impaired in 4-year-old Children with Prenatal Exposure to Maternal Tobacco Smoking. Int Neuropsychiatr Dis J 1:24-34
Sparks, Tierney A; Hunter, Sharon K; Backman, Toni L et al. (2012) Maternal parenting stress and mothers' reports of their infants' mastery motivation. Infant Behav Dev 35:167-73

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