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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2013 Mar;15(3):345. doi: 10.1007/s11920-012-0345-0.

Neuroimaging schizophrenia: a picture is worth a thousand words, but is it saying anything important?

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior, Georgia Health Sciences University, 997 Saint Sebastian Way, Augusta, GA 30912, USA. aahmed@georgiahealth.edu


Schizophrenia is characterized by neurostructural and neurofunctional aberrations that have now been demonstrated through neuroimaging research. The article reviews recent studies that have attempted to use neuroimaging to understand the relation between neurological abnormalities and aspects of the phenomenology of schizophrenia. Neuroimaging studies show that neurostructural and neurofunctional abnormalities are present in people with schizophrenia and their close relatives and may represent putative endophenotypes. Neuroimaging phenotypes predict the emergence of psychosis in individuals classified as high-risk. Neuroimaging studies have linked structural and functional abnormalities to symptoms; and progressive structural changes to clinical course and functional outcome. Neuroimaging has successfully indexed the neurotoxic and neuroprotective effects of schizophrenia treatments. Pictures can inform about aspects of the phenomenology of schizophrenia including etiology, onset, symptoms, clinical course, and treatment effects but this assertion is tempered by the scientific and practical limitations of neuroimaging.

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