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Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Jun 15;55(12):1138-45.

Reduced frontal white matter integrity in early-onset schizophrenia: a preliminary study.

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  • 1Department of Research, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, New York 11004, USA.



Research suggests that brain frontal white matter (WM) might be qualitatively altered in adolescents with early onset schizophrenia (EOS). Diffusion tensor imaging provides a relatively new approach for quantifying possible connectivity of WM in vivo.


Diffusion tensor imaging was used to examine the WM integrity of frontal regions at seven levels from 25 mm above to 5 mm below the anterior commissure-posterior commissure (AC-PC) plane. Three other regions were examined: the occipital region at the AC-PC plane and the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum. Fractional anisotropy was compared between 12 adolescents (nine male, 3 female) with EOS (onset of psychotic symptoms by age 18 years) and nine age-similar healthy comparison subjects (six male, 3 female).


Adolescents with EOS had significantly reduced fractional anisotropy in the frontal WM at the AC-PC plane in both hemispheres and in the occipital WM at the AC-PC plane in the right hemisphere.


These preliminary data support a hypothesis that alterations in brain WM integrity occur in adolescents with EOS. Abnormalities found in this study were similar to those reported in adults with chronic schizophrenia. Additional studies are needed to assess whether there is progression of WM abnormalities in schizophrenia.

Copyright 2004 Society of Biological Psychiatry

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