Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Twin studies confirm brain differences in schizophrenia patients

Schizophrenia is known to be associated with subtle changes in brain anatomy. Postmortem studies have shown that the brain as a whole is smaller in people who have suffered from schizophrenia with less grey matter in the medial, temporal and frontal lobes, the cerebellum and the thalamus. A British study looked at pairs of twins. Some twins both suffered from schizophrenia, in other pairs one twin had the disease and the other did not and some pairs were both well. The researchers gave all the twins MRI scans and looked at the thalamus and the area of brains cells linking the two halves of the thalamus called the adhesion interthalamica. The study found that schizophrenia was linked to a reduction in the size of the thalamus although the adhesion interthalamica was not affected. This led the researchers to conclude that a smaller thalamus could be a good indicator of the genetic link to schizophrenia.

Ettinger, Ulrich ... [et al] - Magnetic resonance imaging of the thalamus and adhesio interthalamica in twins with schizophrenia Archives of General Psychiatry April 2007, 64(4), 401-409

No comments: