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Psychiatry Res. 2013 Nov 30;214(2):83-93. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2013.05.003. Epub 2013 Aug 21.

Age-related brain trajectories in schizophrenia: a systematic review of structural MRI studies.

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  • 1Laboratory of Clinical and Behavioral Neurology, IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation, Via Ardeatina 306, 00179 Rome, Italy.


Using the Pubmed database, we performed a detailed literature search for structural magnetic resonance imaging studies on patients with schizophrenia, investigating the relationship between macroscopic and microscopic structural parameters and age, to delineate an age-related trajectory. Twenty-six studies were considered for the review, from January 2000 to June 2012. Research results are heterogeneous because of the multifactorial features of schizophrenia and the multiplicity of the methodological approaches adopted. Some areas, within the amygdala-hippocampus complex, which are affected early in life by schizophrenia, age in a physiological way. Other regions, such as the superior temporal gyrus, appear already impaired at the onset of symptoms, undergo a worsening in the acute phase but later stabilize, progressing physiologically over years. Finally, there are regions, such as the uncinate fasciculus, which are not altered early in life, but are affected around the onset of schizophrenia, with their impairment continuously worsening over time. Further extensive longitudinal studies are needed to understand the timing and the possible degenerative characteristics of structural impairment associated with schizophrenia.

© 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI); Longitudinal studies; Neurodevelopment; Progression; Volume

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