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Psychiatry Res. 2005 Apr 30;138(3):221-33.

Abnormal development of the anterior cingulate in childhood-onset schizophrenia: a preliminary quantitative MRI study.

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Department of Psychiatry, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA.


The anterior cingulate is a key component of neural networks subserving attention and emotion regulation, functions often impaired in patients with psychosis. The study aimed to examine anterior cingulate volumes and sulcal morphology in a group of patients with childhood-onset schizophrenia (COS) compared with controls. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were obtained in 13 COS and 18 matched control children, ages 6-17 years. Volume measures for the anterior cingulate gyrus (ACG) were obtained through manual labeling. A determination of cingulate sulcal pattern (single or double) was made for each hemisphere. The COS group had a reduced leftward skew of the double cingulate sulcal pattern, and absence of the normal left>right ACG volume asymmetry. The right ACG was larger in the COS than in controls. The schizophrenic children showed decreases in all ACG volumes with age, while the controls showed increases or no change. The data suggest that significant cingulate abnormalities may result from deviations in progressive neurodevelopmental processes, beginning before birth and continuing through childhood and adolescence, in persons who develop schizophrenia. These structural differences may relate to the well-described cognitive deficits these children display, and to the cardinal symptoms of schizophrenia.

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