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Schizophr Bull. 2009 Jan;35(1):233-43. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbm160. Epub 2008 Jan 24.

Progression of brain volume changes in adolescent-onset psychosis.

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Department of Psychiatry, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Dr Esquerdo 46, Madrid 28007, Spain.


Little is known about the changes that take place in the adolescent brain over the first few years following the onset of psychosis. The present longitudinal study builds on an earlier cross-sectional report demonstrating brain abnormalities in adolescent-onset psychosis patients with a recent-onset first episode of psychosis. Magnetic resonance imaging studies were obtained at baseline and 2 years later from 21 adolescents with psychosis and 34 healthy controls matched for age, gender, and years of education. Whole-brain volumes and gray matter (GM) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volumes of the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes were measured at baseline and at 2-year follow-up. In the frontal lobe, the rate of GM volume loss was significantly higher in male patients (2.9% and 2.0%, respectively, for left and right) than in controls (1.2% and 0.7%, respectively, for left and right). In the left frontal lobe, male patients showed a significantly higher rate of CSF volume increase than controls (8.6% vs 6.4%). These differences in rates of volume change were observed in male and female patients, although only males showed significant time x diagnosis interactions. This negative finding in females should be interpreted with caution as the study was underpowered to detect change in women due to limited sample size. An exploratory analysis revealed that schizophrenia and nonschizophrenia psychotic disorders showed similar volume change patterns relative to controls. Change in clinical status was not correlated with longitudinal brain changes. Our results support progression of frontal lobe changes in males with adolescent-onset psychosis.

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