Schizophrenia Patients Have Less Prefrontal Lobe Gray Matter

By Blum, Karen | Clinical Psychiatry News, May 2014 | Go to article overview

Schizophrenia Patients Have Less Prefrontal Lobe Gray Matter


Blum, Karen, Clinical Psychiatry News


FROM SCHIZOPHRENIA RESEARCH

Schizophrenia patients and their unaffected relatives have smaller volumes of prefrontal lobe gray matter, a new report suggests.

In schizophrenia patients, this finding was associated with worse working memory performance, compared with their unaffected relatives and healthy controls, noted Vina M. Goghari, Ph.D., of the University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute and her colleagues at the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

The investigators recruited about 30 schizophrenia patients and their nonpsychotic relatives from the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. They completed the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM Disorders and the psychosis module of the Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies for each participant. They assessed Axis II cluster A traits using the Structured Interview for Schizotypy in relatives and a control group of healthy volunteers. The patients' current symptoms were assessed using the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms and the Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms.

Finally, all participants' psychiatric functioning was assessed using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale.

After noting the participants' medication use, Dr. Goghari and her colleagues found that schizophrenia patients tended to be on more antidepressants and other psychiatric medications, compared with controls. Relatives were more likely to be on more antidepressants, compared with controls (Schizophr. Res. 2014;153:113-21).

The researchers used structural MRI (a standard MP-RAGE sequence) to study the brains of 24 schizophrenia patients, 21 nonpsychotic relatives of schizophrenia patients, and 37 control subjects. A Freesurfer image analysis suite was used to better measure volumetric segmentation, cortical reconstruction, and cortical and subcortical parcels. …

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