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Schizophr Bull. 1990;16(3):453-76.

Brain magnetic resonance imaging: approaches for investigating schizophrenia.

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  • 1Psychiatry Service, VA Medical Center, Palo Alto, CA 94304.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers the potential for identifying, in vivo, specific brain abnormalities associated with schizophrenia. The detection of small morphological differences in areas such as the prefrontal cortex, limbic structures, and basal ganglia requires attention to a number of technical and methodological details. The effects of age, height, sex, head size, and overall tissue loss are of particular concern and are discussed. MRI acquisition and processing techniques for improving gray/white tissue contrast and image resolution are described, as are techniques for quantitative, volumetric measurement of localized regions of interest and specific brain structures as well as of the brain as a whole. Techniques for evaluating frontal lobes, temporal lobes, and basal ganglia integrity are reviewed, and recent observations on these brain regions in patients with schizophrenia are described.

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