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White matter deficits in schizophrenia are global and don't progress with age

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number4867417700729
Pages (from-to)1020-1031
JournalThe Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry
Early online date6 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


King's Authors


INTRODUCTION: Diffusion tensor imaging has revealed differences in all examined white matter tracts in schizophrenia, with a range of explanations for why this may be. The distribution and timing of differences may help explain their origin; however, results are usually dependent on the analytical method. We therefore sought to examine the extent of differences and their relationship with age using two different methods.

METHODS: A combined voxel-based whole-brain study and a tract-based spatial-statistics study of 104 patients with schizophrenia and 200 matched healthy controls, aged between 17 and 63 years.

RESULTS: Fractional anisotropy was reduced throughout the brain in both analyses. The relationship of fractional anisotropy with age differed between patients and controls, with controls showing the gentle fractional anisotropy decline widely noted but patients showing an essentially flat relationship: younger patients had lower fractional anisotropy than controls, but the difference disappeared with age. Mean diffusivity was widely increased in patients.

CONCLUSION: Reduction in fractional anisotropy and increase in mean diffusivity would be consistent with global disruption in myelination; the relationship with age would suggest this is present already at the onset of their illness, but does not progress.

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