February 18, 2005

Schiz. Direct link to Grey Matter

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology

Australian Schizophrenia researchers claimed a breakthrough in the search for the cause of schizophrenia this week, linking the impaired thought processes involved with the disorder directly to thinning grey matter in the brain. If confirmed, this would be an important step forward in understanding the direct mechanisms by which schizophrenia is caused by changes in the brain.

It was reported that "The importance of this research is that it links together for the first time abnormal brain structure and function in the one image and ties that with abnormal thinking in schizophrenia," Vaughan Carr of the Neuroscience Institute of Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders said said. "Now this is a remarkable achievement."

The researchers used advanced computing technology to give them a "new window" into the brains of schizophrenia sufferers, Carr said.

They examined the thickness and function of the brain in 10 Australian patients with early onset schizophrenia while they performed a planning task involving attention and memory in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner.

They compared the results with a healthy control group and found those with schizophrenia had difficulty completing the task.

The computer analysis showed impaired thought processes and inability to problem solve among those with the debilitating mental illness were directly related to the thinning outer layer of grey matter and reduced activity of the affected part of the brain.

Carr said the find, to be published in the international journal Neuroimage, would open new areas of research examining post-mortem tissue samples of the affected grey matter in schizophrenia sufferers.

"It means we can now focus on the genetics of a very specific area of the brain and delve deeper and deeper into why the tissue located there deteriorates in schizophrenia sufferers," he said.

Source: Neuroimage journal

More information:
Test Brings New Hope to Schizophrenia Patients

Schizophrenia Breakthrough

I can't seem to find the on-line abstract for this research. We'll add it when we find it.


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