Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Neuropsychiatry Section

Neuropsychiatry Section

Olfaction

Olfaction and the Neurodevelopment of Psychotic Disorders in Adolescence and Adulthood

The purpose of the proposed project is to study neurodevelopmental processes in schizophrenia during the risk period using tissues obtained from living individuals through olfactory epithelial biopsy. Olfactory function and clinical symptomatology will be correlated with the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms in the development of psychotic disorders in adolescence.  This study will be performed in youths and adults (ages 10-55) with psychotic disorders, those at risk for the development of a psychotic disorder, and those with Asperger's Syndrome or other autism spectrum disorder, in comparison to age matched healthy volunteers.  The study design is longitudinal (5 years).  Subjects will be undergo an assessment of olfactory function every 6 months; the epithelial biopsy will be performed at enrollment - a follow-up biopsy will only be requested if the subject converts to a psychotic disorder.  The study consists of measurements of olfactory function (~2-3 hours) and a biopsy of olfactory epithelium under local anesthetic (~30 minutes).  Participants will receive $35 for each visit to test olfactory function; they will receive $50 for the biopsy of olfactory epithelium.  There are no more than minimal risks associated with this study.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Karin Borgmann-Winter, M.D.