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The schizophrenic brain is different in adolescents

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It appears that adolescents diagnosed with schizophrenia and other types of psychoses have decreased gray matter in the brain and increased cerebrospinal fluid in the frontal lobe compared to their healthy peers.

“Progressive loss of brain gray matter (GM) has been reported in childhood-onset schizophrenia; however, it is uncertain whether these changes are shared by pediatric patients with different psychoses,” according to the study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, one of JAMA’s publications.

The research team looked at medical data from first-episode early-onset psychosis and the relationship to diagnosis and prognosis at a two year follow-up exam. They performed MRIs for the patients, 25 of whom had schizophrenia, 16 with bipolar disorder and 20 with other psychoses. They compared the data to 70 adolescents in a control group.

During the two year follow-up, researchers found that those diagnosed with schizophrenia showed greater gray matter volume loss in the frontal lobe. They also showed cerebrospinal fluid increase in the left frontal lobe. When compared to the control group, changes for total brain gray matter and left parietal gray matter were significantly different.

The scientists did not find similar differences in those diagnosed with other diseases like bi-polar.

“In conclusion, we found progression of gray matter volume loss after a two-year follow-up in patients who ended up with a diagnosis of schizophrenia but not bipolar disease compared with healthy controls. Some of these pathophysiologic processes seem to be markers of poorer prognosis. To develop therapeutic strategies to counteract these pathologic progressive brain changes, future studies should focus on their neurobiological underpinnings,” the report stated.

Source: Archives of General Psychiatry, ScienceDaily

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