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August 1989

Ventricle-Brain Ratio, Computed Tomographic Density, and Brain Area in 50 Schizophrenics

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Drs Pearlson, Jayaram, Chase, and Tune, Mr Moberg, and Ms Bascom), Radiology, Division of Neuroradiology (Dr Kim), Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine (Dr Kubos), and Mental Hygiene (Dr Chase), The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md; and the Applied Physics Laboratory, The Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, Md (Dr Goldfinger).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1989;46(8):690-697. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1989.01810080020003

• A sample of 50 DSM-III—diagnosed schizophrenics (mean age, 34 years) intentionally biased to contain a relatively high proportion of persistently unemployed persons was compared with a sample of 87 normal volunteers on three computed tomographic measures. These were lateral ventricle-brain ratio, regional brain computed tomographic density values, and brain slice area. Images were made with the same computed tomographic scanner and identical scan parameters. Computed tomographic data were assessed blindly using a computer-linked image array processor and electronic planimeter. Ventricle-brain ratios were significantly higher in schizophrenics, with 28% of the patient sample exceeding 2 SDs of the control mean. Brain area measures were not associated with an enlarged ventriclebrain ratio. Contrary to our prediction, ventricular enlargement was unassociated with most negative symptom ratings, but was correlated with the absence of positive symptoms. A history of abnormal delivery and the presence of left-handedness were significant predictors of an enlarged ventricle-brain ratio on multiple regression analysis. Schizophrenics had a significantly smaller brain slice area compared with normal controls, a finding not attributable to height differences between groups. Brain slice area was inversely correlated with computed tomographic brain density across all subjects. After correction of computed tomographic density values for area using a linear regression model, no significant regional density differences were detectable between normal controls and schizophrenics. Within normal controls there was a significant relationship between social class and brain slice area, but not ventricle-brain ratio.