Researchers Link Brain Abnormalities With Specific Schizophrenia Symptoms
According to a new study from an international team of researchers, specific symptoms of schizophrenia can be linked to distinct anatomical abnormalities in the brain which can be seen through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
The findings, published in the journal NeuroImage, could have a large impact on how schizophrenia is diagnosed and treated in the future.
Using advanced imaging techniques, the team of researchers from University of Granada, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of South Florida, demonstrated the existence of unique subgroups among patients clinically diagnosed with schizophrenia and present different symptoms.
For the study, the team used a specific MRI technique known as “diffusion tensor imaging” on 36 healthy participants and 47 individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. The scans on schizophrenic participants showed they exhibited various abnormalities in distinct parts of the corpus callosum, a bundle of neural fibers connecting the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
Investigating deeper into these abnormalities, the researchers found that specific abnormalities were linked with distinct schizophrenic symptoms. Patients with specific features in a particular region of the corpus callosum typically displayed strange or disorganized behavior, for example.
In others, the researchers saw that irregularities in another part of this brain region were associated with disorganized thought or speech, as well as negative symptoms like lack of emotion. And yet other abnormalities in the corpus callosum were found to be linked with hallucinations.
The researchers who discovered these distinct variations in the brains of schizophrenics have a history of making notable schizophrenia discoveries. In 2014, they discovered that schizophrenia is not a single distinct illness, but rather a category of eight genetically distinct disorders.