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Biol Psychiatry. 2002 Jul 1;52(1):9-14.

Frontal white matter microstructure, aggression, and impulsivity in men with schizophrenia: a preliminary study.

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  • 1Division of Clinical Research and the Center for Advanced Brain Imaging, Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, New York 10962, USA.



Aggression and impulsivity may involve altered frontal white matter.


Axial diffusion tensor images were acquired in 14 men with schizophrenia using a pulsed gradient, double spin echo, echo planar imaging method. White matter microstructural measures (fractional anisotropy and trace) were calculated from these data. Regions of interest were placed in frontal white matter on four slices. Impulsivity was measured using the Motor Impulsiveness factor of the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale. Aggressiveness was measured using the Assaultiveness scale of the Buss Durkee Hostility Inventory and the Aggression scale of the Life History of Aggression.


Lower fractional anisotropy in right inferior frontal white matter was associated with higher motor impulsiveness. Higher trace in these regions was associated with aggressiveness.


Inferior frontal white matter microstructure was associated with impulsivity and aggression in men with schizophrenia. These results implicate frontal lobe dysfunction in aggression and certain aspects of impulsivity.

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