Schizophrenia is a complex epigenetic puzzle, the antecedents of which are presumed to lie in neurodevelopmental
dysmaturation. This dysmaturation has an impact on children and adolescents at genetic risk for schizophrenia. In
this framework, normative mechanisms of brain development that are highly dynamic in adolescence are likely to be disrupted
in the at-risk adolescent brain. It is likely that what is affected is the integrity of brain networks that sub-serve fundamental
domains of function such as sustained attention. Notably, expansion in proficiency in sustained attention that is
characteristic of typical development is likely to be compromised in adolescents at risk for schizophrenia. This confluence
of at-risk adolescents and neuro-behavioral domains of inquiry is discussed. We outline the evidence for developmental
antecedents of schizophrenia, and their bases in systems and molecular mechanisms in the brain. Then we juxtapose these
results against neuro-behavioral evidence of attention deficits in high-risk populations, and fMRI evidence of dysfunctional
responses in critical brain regions. We end by advocating the application of systems-based approaches toward understanding
the progression of network dysfunction in the adolescent risk-state.
Keywords: Sustained attention, schizophrenia, risk, Brain networks.
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