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MRI May Detect Signs of Schizophrenia

Neuroimaging shows reduction in frontotemporal volume compared with controls

TUESDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Magnetic resonance imaging can detect subtle differences in neuroanatomy of the schizophrenic brain, including a reduction in frontotemporal volume as well as possible differences in the occipital and speech production areas, according to a study in the November issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. The specificity and sensitivity may be sufficient to use MRI as a diagnostic aid, the authors suggest.

Christos Davatzikos, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues used MRI to perform whole-brain morphologic analyses of 69 neuroleptic-naive and previously treated schizophrenics, and 79 matched controls.

The MRI images showed whole-brain increases in cerebrospinal fluid and reduction in gray matter in schizophrenic patients, as well as changes in specific foci in the brain, including the hippocampus, the cingulate and orbitofrontal cortex and vision-associated areas such as the lingual gyrus. The mean classification accuracy was 81.1% for both men and women combined.

"The focal nature of volume reduction in schizophrenia contrasts with that in other brain diseases, such as Alzheimer disease, in which diffuse patterns are evident," the authors conclude.

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