Michael J. Minzenberg, M.D.

Michael J. Minzenberg, M.D., University of California, Davis

Young Investigator Grant (2008): $85,000

Mentor: Cameron Carter, MD, University of California, Davis

Dysfunction of Prefrontal Cortex, Cognitive Control and Suicide Risk in Schizophrenia

Abstract: This study will test if there are functional changes in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, and the associated inability to control cognition is a determinant of suicide risk in patients with schizophrenia. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) will be obtained on first year schizophrenia patients while they perform a task measuring cognitive control. These subjects will also be evaluated on clinical measures of suicide risk, depression, impulsivity and the characteristic symptoms of schizophrenia. It is predicted that these patients will show impaired activity in the frontal cortex of the brain, and problems in the cognitive control, which is associated with the degree of suicide risk. Identification of how brain dysfunction relates to elevated suicide risk is critical to the development of new treatments to minimize this risk.