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Hum Brain Mapp. 2006 Mar;27(3):230-8.

Age effects on diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging tractography measures of frontal cortex connections in schizophrenia.

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Section on Tissue Biophysics and Biomimetics, LIMB, NICHD, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


Diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DT-MRI) has previously been used to investigate white matter tracts in schizophrenia, with inconsistent results. The aim of the study was to use a novel method for tract-specific measurements of fronto-temporal fasciculi in early-onset schizophrenia. We hypothesized that by making tract-specific measurements, clear diffusion abnormalities would be revealed in specific fasciculi in schizophrenia. Measurements of diffusion anisotropy and mean diffusivity were localized within fronto-temporal fasciculi by forming 3-D reconstructions of the cingulum, uncinate, superior longitudinal, and inferior fronto-occipital fasciculi using diffusion tensor tractography. We were limited in our ability to test our hypothesis by the important and surprising finding that age affected DT-MRI-based measures in schizophrenia patients in a different way from comparison subjects, most notably in the left superior longitudinal fasciculus. The youngest schizophrenia patients that we studied had lower diffusion anisotropy than age-matched comparison subjects, but this difference diminished with increasing age. The main conclusion of this study was that direct comparisons of absolute DT-MRI-based measures between individuals with schizophrenia and comparison subjects may be problematic and misleading because of underlying age-related differences in brain maturation between groups.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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