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April 1985

Brain Function in Psychiatric Disorders: III. Regional Cerebral Blood Flow in Unmedicated Schizophrenics

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry (Drs R. E. and R. C. Gur, Caroff, and Resnick) and the Cerebrovascular Research Center (Drs R. E. and R. C. Gur, Obrist, and Reivich), University of Pennsylvania, and the Department of Neurology, The Graduate Hospital (Drs R. C. Gur and Skolnick), Philadelphia.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1985;42(4):329-334. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1985.01790270015001

• Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was measured during resting baseline and the performance of a verbal and a spatial task in 19 unmedicated schizophrenics and 19 matched controls. Abnormalities in rCBF were evident in schizophrenics both for resting and activated measures. Resting flows were higher in the left hemisphere for schizophrenics, supporting the hypothesis of left hemispheric overactivation. This effect was stronger in the more severely disturbed patients. The pattern of rCBF changes during activation with the verbal and spatial tasks was also different in schizophrenics. Laterality of flow changes further supported the hypothesis of left hemispheric overactivation. Furthermore, whereas normals had greater increase in flow for the spatial than the verbal task, schizophrenics showed the reverse pattern. This effect also was more pronounced in the severely disturbed patients. Comparison with an earlier sample of medicated schizophrenics suggested that neuroleptics restore symmetry of resting flows before they produce symptomatic relief. Medication did not affect the abnormalities in pattern of rCBF changes during activation with cognitive tasks.