Background: Psychotic disorders have been suggested to derive from dysfunctional integration of signaling between brain regions. Earlier studies have found several changes in functional network synchronization as well as altered network topology in patients with psychotic disorders. However, studies have used mainly resting-state that makes it more difficult to link functional alterations to any specific stimulus or experience. We set out to examine functional connectivity as well as graph (topological) measures and their association to symptoms in first-episode psychosis patients during movie viewing. Our goal was to understand whole-brain functional dynamics of complex naturalistic information processing in psychosis and changes in brain functional organization related to symptoms. Methods: 71 first-episode psychosis patients and 57 control subjects watched scenes from the movie Alice in Wonderland during 3 T fMRI. We compared functional connectivity and graph measures indicating integration, segregation and centrality between groups, and examined the association between topology and symptom scores in the patient group. Results: We identified a subnetwork with predominantly decreased links of functional connectivity in first-episode psychosis patients. The subnetwork was mainly comprised of nodes of and links between the cingulo-opercular, sensorimotor and default-mode networks. In topological measures, we observed between-group differences in properties of centrality. Conclusions: Functional brain networks are affected during naturalistic information processing already in the early stages of psychosis, concentrated in salience- and cognitive control-related hubs and subnetworks. Understanding these aberrant dynamics could add to better targeted cognitive and behavioral interventions in the early stages of psychotic disorders.
- Functional connectivity
- Naturalistic stimulus