Certain Brain Features Linked to Schizophrenia Symptoms

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Certain features on the brain’s anatomy have been tied to behavioral symptoms associated with schizophrenia.

C. Robert Cloninger, MD, PhD, of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., and colleagues examined conducted magnetic resonance imaging with diffusion tensor imaging on 47 people with schizophrenia and 36 health controls.

The scans showed that people with schizophrenia tended to have abnormalities in a part of the brain called the corpus callosum, which is considered important for neural communication, the researcher reported in the journal NeuroImage.

Upon further review, it was discovered that charteristics shown in the brain scans matched symptoms of schizophrenia. For example, schizophrenia patients with charateristics in one part of the corpus callosum displayed bizarre and disorganized behavior. Other abnormalities were linked to delusions and hallucinations.

The researchers noted that the results provides further evidence that schizophrenia is a heterogeneous group of disorders rather than a single disorder.

“This gives us a new way of thinking about the disease,” Cloninger said in a statement. “We know that not all patients with schizophrenia have the same issues, and this helps us understand why.”

Certain Brain Features Linked to Schizophrenia Symptoms
MRI scans showed that people with schizophrenia tended to have abnormalities in a part of the brain called the corpus callosum.

Using advanced brain imaging, researchers have matched certain behavioral symptoms of schizophrenia to features of the brain's anatomy. The findings, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, could be a step toward improving diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia.

The study, available online in the journal NeuroImage, will appear in print Oct. 15.

The researchers evaluated scans taken with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a technique called diffusion tensor imaging in 36 healthy volunteers and 47 people with schizophrenia. The scans of patients with schizophrenia revealed various abnormalities in portions of the corpus callosum, a bundle of fibers that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain and is considered critical to neural communication.

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