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Eur Psychiatry. 1999 Jun;14(3):163-6.

Computed tomography study of pineal calcification in schizophrenia.

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3rd Psychiatric Clinic, University of Rome 'La Sapienza', Rome, Italy.


Computed tomography studies concerning pineal calcification (PC) in schizophrenia have been conducted mainly by one author who correlated this calcification with several aspects of the illness. On the basis of these findings the aim of the present study was to analyze size and incidence of pineal gland calcification by CT in schizophrenics and healthy controls, and to verify the relationship between pineal calcification and age, and the possible correlation with psychopathologic variables. Pineal calcification was measured on CT scans of 87 schizophrenics and 46 controls divided into seven age subgroups of five years each. No significant differences in PC incidence and mean size between patients and controls were observed as far as the entire group was considered. PC size correlated with age both in schizophrenics and controls. We found a higher incidence of PC in schizophrenics in the age subgroup of 21-25 years, and a negative correlation with positive symptoms of schizophrenia in the overall group. These findings could suggest a premature calcific process in schizophrenics and a probable association with 'non-paranoid' aspects of the illness. Nevertheless the potential role of this process possibly related to some aspects of the altered neurodevelopment in schizophrenia is still unclear.

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