What are neurologic findings of schizophrenia?

Updated: Mar 16, 2018
  • Author: Frances R Frankenburg, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Neuroimaging studies show differences between the brains of those with schizophrenia and those without this disorder. For example, the ventricles are somewhat larger, there is decreased brain volume in medial temporal areas, and changes are seen in the hippocampus. [2, 3, 4]

Interest has also focused on the various connections within the brain rather than on localization in a single part of the brain. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies show anatomic abnormalities in a network of neocortical and limbic regions and interconnecting white-matter tracts. [5] A meta-analysis of studies using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to examine white matter found that 2 networks of white-matter tracts are reduced in schizophrenia. [6]

In the Edinburgh High-Risk Study, brain imaging showed reductions in whole-brain volume and in left and right prefrontal and temporal lobe volumes in 17 of 146 people who were at high genetic risk for schizophrenia. The changes in prefrontal lobes were associated with increasing severity of psychotic symptoms. [7]

In a meta-analysis of 27 longitudinal MRI studies comparing schizophrenic patients with control subjects, schizophrenia was associated with structural brain abnormalities that progressed over time. The abnormalities identified included loss of whole-brain volume in both gray and white matter and increases in lateral ventricular volume. [8]

These findings are of interest more for research purposes than for clinical application.

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