Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Plastic Adaptation to Pathology in Psychiatry. Are Patients with Psychiatric Disorders Pathological Experts?

Version 1 : Received: 30 November 2018 / Approved: 3 December 2018 / Online: 3 December 2018 (16:18:31 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.


Psychiatric disorders share the same pattern of longitudinal evolution and have courses that tend to be chronic and recurrent. These aspects of chronicity and longitudinal evolution of psychiatric disorders are currently studied under the neuroprogression framework. Interestingly, considering the plasticity of the brain, it is necessary to emphasize the bidirectional nature of neuroprogression. We review evidence highlighting alterations of the brain associated with the longitudinal evolution of psychiatric disorders from the framework of neuroplastic adaptation to pathology. This new framework highlights that substantial plasticity and remodelling may occur beyond the classic neuroprogressive framework, which is characterized only by loss of grey matter volume, decreased brain connectivity, and chronic inflammation. We also integrate the brain economy concept in the neuroplastic adaptation to pathology framework, emphasizing that to preserve its economy, i.e., function, the brain learns how to cope with the disease by adapting its architecture. This approach can disentangle both the specific pathophysiology of psychiatric symptoms and the adaptation to pathology, thus offering a new framework for both diagnosis and treatment.


neuroplasticity; neuroprogression; psychiatric disorders; brain economy; severe mental illness; biomarkers


Medicine and Pharmacology, Psychiatry and Mental Health

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