MRI SCANS REVEAL SUBTLE BRAIN DIFFERENCES IN PEOPLE WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA, UF RESEARCHERS FIND
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Wed Sep 15 23:14:50 EST 1999
MRI SCANS REVEAL SUBTLE BRAIN DIFFERENCES IN PEOPLE WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA, UF
GAINESVILLE---Scientists have tried through the years to attribute
schizophrenia to one brain abnormality or another, but solid proof has been
lacking. Now University of Florida researchers have found that subtle
differences in 10 brain structures can provide a strong indicator of whether
someone has the disorder.
In an article published in the current issue of the Journal of Biological
Psychiatry, UF Brain Institute researchers report that by analyzing magnetic
resonance imaging scans, they were able to correctly determine 77 percent of
time which study participants had schizophrenia.
The finding holds promise as a tool for diagnosis or for predicting who
might develop the often-devastating psychiatric illness, which typically
first strikes in the late teens to early 30s. Useful in treatment,
prediction also is critical in the quest to identify environmental
contributions to schizophrenia.
"The first wave of MRI studies searched for the 'smoking gun' that could
explain the symptoms of schizophrenia," said Dr. John Kuldau, a professor of
psychiatry in the UF College of Medicine and chief of psychiatry for the
Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Gainesville. "But the
disease is much more complicated than that. Like diabetes, it is thought to
be caused by an interplay between genetic and environmental factors."
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