Early brain screening may predict schizophrenia
- By: Tracey Maher
Screening for early brain changes may predict schizophrenia, scientists have claimed. A new brain imaging study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry (2000;157(111);1829-34) shows that there are substantial brain changes in schizophrenia at the earliest stages of the illness, implying that these changes pre- cede the appearance of psychotic symptoms.
The findings from the Institute of Psychiatry indicate that brain changes are evident while the illness is in its earliest stages, and the study raises the possibility of using brain imaging to prevent schizophrenia at some time in the future.
There were 68 people in the study; 37 were experiencing their first episode of psychosis and the rest were healthy volunteers. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans identified differences in the structure of key regions, such as the temporal lobe, between the healthy volunteers and those experiencing psychosis.
Dr Tonmoy Sharma, who led the study, thinks that in future brain