Motion energy analysis reveals altered body movement in youth at risk for psychosis

Derek J. Dean*, Alayna T. Samson, Raeana Newberry, Vijay A. Mittal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Growing evidence suggests that movement abnormalities occur prior to the onset of psychosis. Innovations in technology and software provide the opportunity for a fine-tuned and sensitive measurement of observable behavior that may be particularly useful to detecting the subtle movement aberrations present during the prodromal period. Methods: In the present study, 54 youth at ultrahigh risk (UHR) for psychosis and 62 healthy controls participated in structured clinical interviews to assess for an UHR syndrome. The initial 15 min of the baseline clinical interview was assessed using Motion Energy Analysis (MEA) providing frame-by-frame measures of total movement, amplitude, speed, and variability of both head and body movement separately. Results: Result showed region-specific group differences such that there were no differences in head movement but significant differences in body movement. Specifically, the UHR group showed greater total body movement and speed of body movements, and lower variation in body movement compared to healthy controls. However, there were no significant associations with positive, negative or disorganized symptom domains. Conclusion: This study represents an innovative perspective on gross motor function in the UHR group. Importantly, the automated approach used in this study provides a sensitive and objective measure of body movement abnormalities, potentially guiding novel assessment and prevention of symptom development in those at risk for psychosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Gross motor
  • Motion energy analysis
  • Movement abnormalities
  • Psychosis
  • Ultrahigh risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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