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May 1997

Magnetic Source Imaging Evidence of Sex Differences in Cerebral Lateralization in Schizophrenia

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry (Drs Reite and Rojas and Ms Sheeder and Mssrs Teale, Adams, and Richardson), Radiology (Dr Simon), and Preventive Medicine and Biometrics (Dr Jones), University of Colorado Health Sciences Center; and Psychiatry Service, Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Dr Reite), Denver.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1997;54(5):433-440. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1997.01830170059009

Background:  It has been postulated that schizophrenia represents a disorder of anomalous cerebral lateralization. This study is a replication of earlier preliminary findings using a multichannel neuromagnetometer, suggesting altered lateralization in schizophrenia in male subjects, with an extension of the findings to female subjects.

Methods:  We used magnetoencephalography-based magnetic source imaging to estimate the intracranial location of the 100-millisecond latency auditory-evoked field component (M100) in both left and right hemispheres of 20 patients with paranoid schizophrenia and 20 controls without schizophrenia. Neuroanatomical data were obtained by means of magnetic resonance imaging, from which we segmented and computed volumes of both total brain and left and right superior temporal gyri.

Results:  Locations of M100 source were compatible with neuronal generators located in the transverse gyri of Heschl on the superior temporal gyri in both study groups; M100 sources were asymmetric in all the control subjects. The male patient subgroup exhibited significantly less asymmetry than the control group, while the female patient subgroup actually showed significantly more asymmetry. The male patient subgroup generally had smaller superior temporal gyri than the control group. No evidence of total brain volume differences was observed.

Conclusions:  Our findings support previous magnetoencephalography-based studies suggesting anomalous cerebral lateralization in schizophrenia. Further, in extending our studies to female patients, our data suggest that the nature of this anomaly is sex specific, a finding that, to our knowledge, has not previously been reported.

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