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December 1992

Frontostriatal Disorder of Cerebral Metabolism in Never-Medicated Schizophrenics

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of California at Irvine (Drs Buchsbaum, Haier, Potkin, Katz, Wu, Lottenberg, Jerabek, Tafalla, and Bunney and Mss Ternary and Reynolds); the Department of Psychiatry, University of California at Los Angeles (Dr Nuechterlein); and the Department of Psychiatry, University of California at San Diego (Drs Bracha and Lahr). Dr Buchsbaum is now with Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1992;49(12):935-942. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1992.01820120023005

• We scanned 18 patients with schizophrenia who had never received neuroleptic medication and 20 age- and sex-matched controls by positron emission tomography with 18-F-fluorodeoxyglucose (fludeoxyglucose F 18) as a tracer of glucose metabolism. Subjects performed the Continuous Performance Test during 18-F-fluorodeoxyglucose uptake. Scan results were converted to metabolic rates, and computer algorithms were used to identify cortical regions. Pervious reports of relative hypofrontality in schizophrenia were confirmed, indicating that this finding is not an artifact of previous treatment. Significantly reduced ratios of inferior and medial frontal regions to occipital cortex were found, together with diminished metabolism in the basal ganglia. This suggests the presence of a combined frontostriatal dysfunction in schizophrenia.