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Psychiatry Res. 1999 Nov 8;92(1):1-9.

Defining the course of brain structural change and plasticity in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, SUNY-Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA.


Recent evidence from controlled CT and MRI longitudinal studies suggests that some cerebral ventricular enlargement and hemispheric volumetric reductions (e.g. cerebral atrophy) may have a progressive component in patients with schizophrenia. These studies vary in cohort composition, stage of illness examined, duration of follow-up interval, imaging techniques used, and specific brain regions with findings. They also conflict with earlier evidence suggesting that schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disorder with brain pathological deviance occurring prior to the illness onset. The newer brain imaging reports may be detecting subtle brain plasticity that results from a continuing cortical disruptive process, may be epi-phenomena caused by scanning and image analysis artifacts or may possibly reflect systemic physiological fluctuations. Future longitudinal studies of subjects at all stages of illness using a variety of new technologies are needed to clarify these findings.

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