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Psychol Med. 2012 Sep;42(9):1847-56. doi: 10.1017/S0033291712000098. Epub 2012 Feb 23.

Brain volume reductions in medication-naive patients with schizophrenia in relation to intelligence quotient.

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  • 1Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Global brain abnormalities such as brain volume loss and grey- and white-matter deficits are consistently reported in first-episode schizophrenia patients and may already be detectable in the very early stages of the illness. Whether these changes are dependent on medication use or related to intelligence quotient (IQ) is still debated.

METHOD:

Magnetic resonance imaging scans were obtained for 20 medication-naive patients with first-episode schizophrenia and 26 matched healthy subjects. Volume measures of total brain grey and white matter, third and lateral ventricles and cortical thickness/surface were obtained. Differences between the groups were investigated, taking into account the effect of intelligence.

RESULTS:

Medication-naive patients showed statistically significant reductions in whole-brain volume and cerebral grey- and white-matter volume together with lateral ventricle enlargement compared to healthy subjects. IQ was significantly lower in patients compared to controls and was positively associated with brain and white-matter volume in the whole group. No significant differences in cortical thickness were found between the groups but medication-naive patients had a significantly smaller surface in the left superior temporal pole, Heschl's gyrus and insula compared to controls.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings suggest that brain volume loss is present at illness onset, and can be explained by the reduced surface of the temporal and insular cortex. These abnormalities are not related to medication, but IQ.

PMID:
22357376
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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