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Predict Schizophrenia with MRI

A new study suggests using brain scans over a course of time can help detect early changes in the brain suggestive of schizophrenia. Knowledge of a predilection toward the disorder could be used to assess possibilities for preventing schizophrenia.

Investigators found a decline of gray matter density in a particular area of the brain was predictive of developing schizophrenia 2.3 years after the scan. Gray matter is a major component of the central nervous system consisting of nerve cells and blood vessels. Gray matter routes sensory or motor stimulus within the nervous system.

The study is published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.

Dominic Job and colleagues from the University of Edinburgh in the UK analyzed the brain scans of 65 individuals known to be at risk for schizophrenia because members of their family had suffered from it.

The scans were generated using structural magnetic resonance imaging techniques (sMRI). Job et al. analyzed changes in grey matter density in the scans, over a period of 18 months. Eight of the individuals studied went on to develop schizophrenia, on average 2.3 years after the brain scans were collected.

Job et al.’s results show that a reduction in gray matter density over time could be used as an indicator that an individual who is at risk will develop schizophrenia.

Sixty percent of the individuals who according to Job et al.’s results were likely to develop schizophrenia, because they showed a reduction in grey matter in one part of their brain called the temporal gyrus, did develop the condition.

Over 90 percent of the individuals who according to Job et al.’s predictions would not develop schizophrenia, did not develop it. Job et al.’s predictions could be used to assess possibilities for preventing schizophrenia.


Predict Schizophrenia with MRI

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Predict Schizophrenia with MRI. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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