Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Schizophrenia and shrinking brains
Schizophrenia is associated with a decrease in the volume of people's brains. Researchers from the University of Iowa in Iowa City looked further into this topic in a study of 211 schizophrenia patients who underwent regular brain scans over a period of just over seven years. The study examined four factors: how long people had been ill; how severe their illness was; whether they used illegal drugs and whether they had been treated with antipsychotic drugs. Being ill for longer and being treated with antipsychotic drugs were both linked to loss of brain tissue. Higher doses of antipsychotics were linked to overall brain tissue loss, reduced grey matter and progressive declines in white matter. However, illness severity and substance abuse had little or no association with brain tissue changes.