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September 1981

Structural Brain Deficits in SchizophreniaIdentification by Computed Tomographic Scan Density Measurements

Author Affiliations

From the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1981;38(9):1014-1017. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1981.01780340066008

• Research has suggested the presence of brain damage as a cause or concomitant of chronic schizophrenia. The most recent research in this area has been the identification of abnormalities in schizophrenia by computed tomographic (CT) scans. A study was done to investigate localized changes in CT scan density numbers in the brains of schizophrenic patients, as opposed to the brains in normal control subjects. Twenty-four normal subjects and 23 schizophrenic patients were tested with CT scans. Density measurements in each area of the brain (left, right, anterior, and posterior) were compared to three separate CT scan levels. Of six measurements of anterior left-hemisphere density, it was found that five showed lower density in schizophrenic brains, as compared with normal brains. Of the remaining 18 measurements that evaluated other areas of the brain, only three differentiated between schizophrenic patients and normal subjects. The results support the hypothesis that there are primary structural deficits in some schizophrenic patients, and these deficits are centered in and around the anterior area of the left (dominant) hemisphere. The results also demonstrated further implications.