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January 1986

Postmortem Evidence of Structural Brain Changes in Schizophrenia: Differences in Brain Weight, Temporal Horn Area, and Parahippocampal Gyrus Compared With Affective Disorder

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neuropathology, Runwell Hospital, Wickford, England (Ms Brown and Dr Corsellis); the Division of Psychiatry, Clinical Research Centre, Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, England (Messers Colter and Jagoe and Drs Crow, Frith, and Johnstone); and Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus (Ms Marsh). Ms Marsh was the recipient of a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986;43(1):36-42. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800010038005

• The brains of 232 patients with a case-note diagnosis of schizophrenia or affective disorder who died in one mental hospital over a period of 22 years were weighed, and were assessed in a coronal section at the level of the interventricular foramina. From this sample were eliminated the brains of patients whose illnesses did not meet the Washington University criteria for a diagnosis of definite schizophrenia or primary affective disorder and those brains that showed significant histopathologic evidence of Alzheimer's-type change or cerebrovascular disease. This left a sample of 41 patients with schizophrenia and 29 patients with affective disorder. With age, sex, and year of birth controlled for, the brains of the patients with schizophrenia (1) were 6% lighter, (2) had lateral ventricles that were larger in the anterior (by 19%), and particularly in the temporal, (by 97%) horn cross section, and (3) had significantly thinner parahippocampal cortices (by 11%). The findings provide postmortem confirmation of reports of ventricular enlargement in radiological studies and suggest that such enlargement is associated with tissue loss in the temporal lobe. The changes in schizophrenia were of a lesser degree than those seen in a sample of brains of patients with Alzheimer's-type dementia and Huntington's chorea.

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