The schizophrenic Brain
Schizophrenia is underlined by subtle changes in multiple regions in the brain. Professor David Lewis discusses some of these changes.
A major question in the study of schizophrenia is, what actually is wrong in the brain? For many years that was an open question as to even if there was something wrong. It is now clear that there are subtle changes in the brain, and these changes may affect multiple regions of the brain and it is still an ongoing issue to firmly identify what are the characteristic features. So, we still canâ€™t, at autopsy, look at a brain specimen and make the diagnosis of schizophrenia. However, evidence is accumulating to indicate that, at a morphological level, certain cells in the brain may be smaller â€“ they may have less in the way of the small protrusions off of their dendrites that are call spines. Other neurons seem to show altered expression or the amount of certain gene products. So, there may not be a classic neuropathology of schizophrenia in the sense of an identified lesion that is characteristic of the illness in the way that neurofibrillary tangles and neuritic plaques are characteristic of the neuropathology of Alzheimerâ€™s disease. But the absence of that does not mean there arenâ€™t a number of changes in the brain that are, in fact, the basis of the illness and we anticipate that with time, the specific characteristics of those changes will become more apparent.
schizophrenia, brain, schizophrenic brain, eeg, cognitive function, striatum, gene products, hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, dendrites, david, lewis, morphological changes
Professor David Lewis discusses how the diversity of symptoms in schizophrenia is reflected in the diversity of genetic and neural causes of the disorder.
An overview of schizophrenia-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
Professor James Watson notes that a feature of the schizophrenic brain is a smaller prefrontal cortex. This may relate to difficulties in problem-solving.
Professor Daniel Weinberger explains that the schizophrenia candidate gene, COMT, is abundantly expressed in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.
Professor Daniel Weinberger discusses evidence from a number of research areas that highlight the importance of the neurotransmitter glutamate in schizophrenia.
The frontal lobe is part of the cerebral cortex and is the largest of the brain's structures. It is the main site of so–called 'higher' cognitive functions.
An overview of thinking-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
Professor David Lewis explains that schizophrenic individuals can have coordination problems, which may relate to impaired neural circuits.
The idea that drug addiction is a result of 'learning gone wild' was bolstered by several reports.
An interactive chromosome map of the genes and loci associated with schizophrenia.