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Title: Illuminating novel predictors of psychosis: Investigations of environmental and bioelectromagnetic predictors of psychosis symptoms in healthy adults
Authors: Hossack, Victoria
Issue Date: 29-Jun-2023
Abstract: Schizophrenia is a debilitating disorder, which often results in irreversible tissue loss in the brain, making it a difficult disorder to treat. The defining feature of schizophrenia is psychosis, which also occurs in schizoaffective disorder, substance use disorders, bipolar disorder, delusional disorder, and dementia. We are slowly getting a better understanding of schizophrenia as novel biomarkers are discovered and we learn what influences its prevalence rates. For example, many studies have shown that schizophrenia is positively correlated with latitude. This knowledge compliments our understanding of the importance of inflammation and vitamin D deficiency as risks for schizophrenia. The purpose of the current thesis was three-fold: first, to determine seasonal variability of background photons as a novel environmental variable to use as a psychosis predictor. Second, to determine if the relationship with latitude was present with psychosis symptoms in healthy adults. And third, to investigate a novel biomarker, biophotons, as a predictor of psychosis/schizotypy symptoms in healthy adults. There were three different studies completed to investigate these questions. The first measured background photon over the course of a year to understand seasonal variations and correlations with other geophysical variables. In the second study, online psychological questionnaires were administered to a global sample. The results suggested the symptoms of psychosis were negatively correlated with latitude, opposite of the previous findings with schizophrenia. Negative correlations were present in spirituality and hypomanic scores, but not depression or anxiety. Additionally, regression analysis revealed that in females but not males, components of the Earth’s electromagnetic field were better at predicting psychosis symptoms. In the third study, biophoton emissions from the hands (BPEs), quantitative electroencephalographic (QEEG), electrocardiographic (ECG), and psychological questionnaires were measured from participants in Sudbury, ON, Canada. The psychological questionnaires used were the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI-IV) and the Temperament Character Inventory (TCI-R). The results suggested that biophotons showed some specificity, with overall BPEs from the hands predictive of affective scales in females, and the absolute difference between hands predictive of Schizotypal, Paranoid, and Schizophrenic Spectrum scores in females. Surprisingly, there were very few significant correlations in males. We also found that BPE and QEEG variables combined were able to predict scores on a Depression/Somatic Symptom factor. These results demonstrate that biophotons could be a potential biomarker for mental health disturbances. Taken together, these results demonstrate the importance of investigating the environmental electromagnetic and bioelectromagnetic variables to predict and understand psychosis.
Appears in Collections:Human Studies and Interdisiplinarity - Doctoral Theses

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