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Schizophr Bull. 2017 May 1;43(3):601-610. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbw112.

Temporal Lobe Volume Decrements in Psychosis Spectrum Youths.

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Department of Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatry Division, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Department of Radiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Smell and Taste Center, Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Structural brain abnormalities have been amply demonstrated in schizophrenia. These include volume decrements in the perirhinal/entorhinal regions of the ventromedial temporal lobe, which comprise the primary olfactory cortex. Olfactory impairments, which are a hallmark of schizophrenia, precede the onset of illness, distinguish adolescents experiencing prodromal symptoms from healthy youths, and may predict the transition from the prodrome to frank psychosis. We therefore examined temporal lobe regional volumes in a large adolescent sample to determine if structural deficits in ventromedial temporal lobe areas were associated, not only with schizophrenia, but also with a heightened risk for psychosis. Seven temporal lobe regional volumes (amygdala [AM], hippocampus, inferior temporal gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, temporal pole, and entorhinal cortex [EC]) were measured in 386 psychosis spectrum adolescents, 521 adolescents with other types of psychopathology, and 359 healthy adolescents from the Philadelphia Neurodevelopment Cohort. Total intracranial and left EC volumes, which were both smallest among the psychosis spectrum, were the only measures that distinguished all 3 groups. Left AM was also smaller in psychosis spectrum compared with healthy subjects. EC volume decrement was strongly correlated with impaired cognition and less robustly associated with heightened negative/disorganized symptoms. AM volume decrement correlated with positive symptoms (persecution/special abilities). Temporal lobe volumes classified psychosis spectrum youths with very high specificity but relatively low sensitivity. These MRI measures may therefore serve as important confirmatory biomarkers denoting a worrisome preclinical trajectory among at-risk youths, and the specific pattern of deficits may predict specific symptom profiles.


MRI; negative symptoms; neurodevelopment; olfaction; psychosis risk

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