, 2022-09-22 06:30:00,
A 6-year-old boy began seeing ghosts, aliens in trees, and colored footprints. More disturbingly, he heard voices coming from the walls and the school intercom telling him to hurt himself and others. Joseph Gonzalez-Heydrich, MD, a psychiatrist at Boston Children’s Hospital, put him on antipsychotic medications at age 9. The frightening hallucinations stopped.
While children are known for their active imaginations, it’s extremely rare for them to have true psychotic symptoms. Concerned, Gonzalez-Heydrich arranged for the boy to have genetic testing. One test, known as a chromosomal microarray analysis, found that he had lost a piece of his DNA: He had just one copy of the chromosome area 16p13.11 when he should have had two.
Another child, at age 4, had hallucinations with monsters, a big black wolf, spiders, and a man with blood on his face. She was found to have a duplicated piece of DNA.
Today, Drs. Gonzalez-Heydrich and his colleague David Glahn, PhD, have formed the Early Psychosis Investigation Center (EPICenter) at Boston Children’s to better understand these rare cases. In a study just published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, they have now…
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