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The relationship between brain structure and neurocognition in schizophrenia: a selective review

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

E Antonova, T Sharma, R Morris, V Kumari

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117 - 145
Number of pages29
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2004

King's Authors


Both Kraepelin [1919. Dementia Praecox and Paraphrenia, Livingston, Edinburgh.] and Bleuler [1911. Dementia Praecox or the Group of Schizophrenias. Reprinted 1950 (trans. and ed. J. Zinkin). New York: International Univ. Press.] proposed that cognitive disturbances in schizophrenia are manifestations of brain abnormality. With the advent of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methodology, a number of studies have attempted to determine the relationship between brain structure and neurocognition in schizophrenia. We performed a review (1991-to date) of such studies with the aim of identifying the most consistent and compelling findings. The review revealed that whole brain volume tends to correlate with the measures of general intelligence as well as with a range of specific cognitive functions in normal controls and female schizophrenia patients, but this relationship is disrupted in male patients. The enlargement of the third ventricle, relative to the whole brain volume, is associated with deficient abstraction/flexibility, language, and attention/concentration in patients, whereas disproportionally larger lateral ventricles are associated with poorer psychomotor speed and attention/concentration in women, but not in men, with schizophrenia. Archicortical, but not paleocortical, prefrontal cortex tends to associate with the measures of executive function in both sexes regardless of diagnosis. Temporal lobe, hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus correlate with cognitive abilities such as performance speed and accuracy, memory and executive function, verbal endowment and abstraction/ categorization, respectively. Some of these medial temporal lobe/neurocognition relationships appear to be specific to schizophrenia (i.e. not seen in controls). Striatal size is positively associated with goal-directed behavior, but not perseveration, in schizophrenia. Larger cerebellum is associated with higher IQ in normal controls and affected women, but this association is disrupted in affected men. Increased white matter of the vermis is associated with poorer language and immediate verbal memory in schizophrenia. Finally, the methodological limitations of the reviewed studies are discussed and suggestions for future research are offered. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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