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Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987 Feb;44(2):126-9.

Regional brain function in schizophrenia. II. Repeated evaluation with positron emission tomography.


Cerebral glucose metabolism was measured twice in a sample of 15 schizophrenics and eight controls, using positron emission tomography (PET) with 18-F-fluorodeoxyglucose. Studies were separated by three to 33 weeks. Patients were unmedicated during the first study, and the majority were receiving neuroleptics during the second study. There were no changes from study 1 to study 2 in average whole-brain metabolic rates, regional cortical activity, or the gradient of subcortical to cortical activity. The steeper subcortical to cortical gradient in schizophrenics, present in the first study, persisted in the second. Changes in this gradient were uncorrelated with changes in clinical status. Laterality (right-left) was stable across studies, and changes toward higher right relative to left hemispheric metabolism were correlated with clinical improvement. The results support the hypothesis of abnormal hemispheric activity in schizophrenia and implicate the subcortical-cortical gradient as another dimension that merits further exploration.

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