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Schizophrenia: developmental disturbance of brain and mind?

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Schizophrenia is the most severe of the mental illnesses and affects approximately 0.8% of the population in Western societies. Postmortem and neuroimaging studies show that patients with schizophrenia have slightly larger cerebral ventricles than normal and a decrease in cortical volume, most markedly in the left temporal lobe. These changes are present at diagnosis and appear to show little change over extended periods of follow‐up. Associated findings such as lack of normal cerebral asymmetry and cytoarchitectonic changes suggestive of impaired migration of cortical neurons implicate aberrant neurodevelopment. Schizophrenics also show an excess of pregnancy and birth complications, and an association with prenatal exposure to maternal influenza. These and reports of abnormal psychological development in pre‐schizophrenic children add further support to the theory that the disorder has neurodevelopmental origins.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK

Publication date: 1997-07-01

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