Wave of schizophrenic brain loss uncovered

Schizophrenic teenagers undergo a wave of grey matter loss that envelopes increasing amounts of the cortex throughout adolescence.

SPIS MedWire(MedWire@sciencenow.com)
Sep 25, 2001

Schizophrenia is a neurological disorder that typically strikes when the victim is in their early 20s, but despite its relative prevalence little is understood about the causes of this debilitating disease. In 25 September Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Paul Thompson and colleagues from the University of California at Los Angeles examined the anatomical progression of the disease in the brain (PNAS 2001, 98:11650-11655).

Thompson et al. used repeated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and brain mapping algorithms to study a number of adolescents with early-onset schizophrenia. Scans were taken at two-year intervals at three time points to uncover the dynamics and timing of disease progression.

They found that the earliest deficits occurred in the parietal regions, which underlie visuospatial and associative thinking and are known to mediate adult deficits through environmental factors. Over five years, the deficits spread to the temporal lobes, encompassing sensorimotor...

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