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Schizophr Res. 2003 Nov 1;64(1):41-52.

Brain volumes as predictor of outcome in recent-onset schizophrenia: a multi-center MRI study.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry A.01.126, University Medical Center Utrecht, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Gray matter brain volume decreases have been found in patients with schizophrenia as compared to healthy control subjects measured by using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). An association has been suggested between decreased gray matter volume and poor outcome in chronically ill patients with schizophrenia. The present longitudinal multi-center study investigated whether gray matter volume at illness onset can predict poor outcome in recent-onset schizophrenia after a follow-up of approximately 2 years. An MRI calibration study was performed since scans of patients with recent-onset psychosis were conducted at three sites with 1.5 T MR scanners from two different manufacturers. Applying a linear scaling procedure on the histogram improved comparability between volume measurements acquired from images from the different scanners. Brain scans were obtained from 109 patients with recent-onset schizophrenia. Volumes of intracranium, total brain, cerebral gray and white matter, third and lateral ventricles, and cerebellum were measured. After a mean follow-up period of approximately 2 years, measurements of symptoms, functioning, need for care, and illness history variables were assessed. No significant correlations were found between the brain volume measures and any of these measures. Gray matter volume at illness onset does not predict outcome after 2 years in recent-onset schizophrenia.

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