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J Psychiatr Res. 1998 May-Aug;32(3-4):161-7.

Superior temporal gyrus and the course of early schizophrenia: progressive, static, or reversible?

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  • 1Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2593, USA.


Accumulating evidence suggests alterations in brain structure, especially in the prefrontal and temporal cortex, in schizophrenia. Previous studies examining the progression of brain structural alterations in schizophrenia have led to conflicting results. Morphometric studies of the superior temporal gyrus (STG) volumes were conducted in a series of neuroleptic-naive first-episode schizophrenic patients, non-schizophrenic first-episode psychotic patients, and matched healthy controls. Three-dimensional MRI scans were carried out in these subjects before and after one year of treatment. Volume reductions were seen at baseline in the left superior temporal gyrus (adjusted for intracranial volume) in both of the patient groups. Pretreatment illness duration was inversely related to the volume of the left superior temporal gyrus; this relation was confined to males. One-year follow-up MRI investigations in a smaller subset of patients suggested that the STG volume reductions may be reversible. No significant changes were noted in the STG volumes in matched healthy controls who were also scanned at baseline as well as at one-year follow-up. These findings have implications for understanding the nature of the neuropathological processes in early schizophrenia, as well as the potential impact of early treatment.

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