UCI News

Brain abnormalities ID’d in people with schizophrenia

Performing the largest structural brain meta-analysis to date for schizophrenia, an international team of scientists – including a UCI psychiatric researcher – has identified structural brain abnormalities in patients with the disabling brain disorder, providing insight into how the condition may develop and respond to treatment.

by Tom Vasich, UC Irvine | July 14, 2015
Brain abnormalities ID’d in people with schizophrenia
Theo van Erp is co-chair of the Schizophrenia Working Group in the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics Through Meta-Analysis project, which conducted the study. UCI

Performing the largest structural brain meta-analysis to date for schizophrenia, an international team of scientists has identified structural brain abnormalities in patients with the disabling brain disorder, providing insight into how it may develop and respond to treatment. The findings come from the Schizophrenia Working Group in the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics Through Meta-Analysis project, which is co-chaired by Theo van Erp, assistant professor of psychiatry & human behavior at UCI. Results appear in Molecular Psychiatry. In the study, scientists analyzed brain MRI scans from 2,028 schizophrenia patients and 2,540 healthy controls. They discovered that individuals with schizophrenia had smaller hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus, accumbens and intracranial volumes than did controls and larger pallidum and ventricle volumes than did controls. These are brain areas involved in memory, emotion and reward. The ENIGMA project collaborations include working groups for other mental disorders such as major depression, ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder and addiction. Van Erp added that the next steps are to compare structural data across disorders to identify which brain region is most affected in each and to determine the effects of various factors, such as age.