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Am J Psychiatry. 2000 Sep;157(9):1475-84.

Brain abnormalities in early-onset schizophrenia spectrum disorder observed with statistical parametric mapping of structural magnetic resonance images.

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  • 1Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1769, USA. esowell@loni.ucla.edu



The purpose of this study was to assess neuroanatomic abnormalities in children and adolescents with childhood-onset schizophrenia by using whole-brain voxel-based morphometric analyses. Previous volumetric studies of brain abnormalities in childhood-onset schizophrenia have revealed anomalies similar to those in subjects with adult-onset schizophrenia. Specifically, low cerebral volume, high ventricular volume, and thalamic, basal ganglia, callosal, and temporal lobe abnormalities have been observed in childhood-onset schizophrenia. Relatively few anatomical structures have been delineated and measured in this rare population, partly because of the labor involved in the slice-by-slice region definition required of conventional volumetric image analyses.


The subjects were 10 normal children and adolescents and nine children and adolescents with early-onset schizophrenia (mean age at diagnosis, 11.0 years; range, 7-16 years). The authors conducted voxel-by-voxel and volumetric statistical analyses of high-resolution structural magnetic resonance images.


Statistical parametric maps of gray matter, white matter, and CSF differences between the groups revealed that the subjects with early-onset schizophrenia had larger ventricles, predominantly in the posterior horns of the lateral ventricles, and midcallosal, posterior cingulate, caudate, and thalamic abnormalities. Volumetric analyses of the lateral ventricles in native image data space confirmed significantly higher volume in posterior, but not anterior, regions. Randomization tests confirmed the overall statistical significance of the group differences and validity of the parametric maps.


These findings are generally consistent with the findings of other research groups, but localization of enlarged ventricles specific to the posterior region may be a new finding in the literature on childhood-onset schizophrenia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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