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Int J Neurosci. 1991 Apr;57(3-4):205-12.

Atrophy of the cerebellar vermis: relevance to the symptoms of schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York, NY 10461.


Degeneration of the cerebellar vermis is a common pathological and neuroradiological feature of chronic schizophrenia, but its relationship to symptoms of the disease are poorly understood. We investigated the relationship of vermal cerebellar atrophy on CT scan to features of positive (productive) and negative (defect) dimensions of schizophrenia as well as to symptoms of general psychopathology in a sample of 23 chronic schizophrenic patients. For comparison, we also studied the relationship of third ventricular width (TVW), which reflects periventricular and diencephalic atrophy, to these features of schizophrenic symptomatology. Vermal cerebellar atrophy was found in 43.5% of patients and correlated significantly with general psychopathology and, more specifically, with feelings of guilt and disturbance of volition. It was unrelated to global positive or negative features of schizophrenia. By contrast, TVW was uniquely associated with global negative syndrome. These observations indicate that degeneration of the cerebellar vermis and enlargement of the third ventricle are integral aspects of schizophrenia, and that each contributes independently to specific clinical aspects of the disease.

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