Childhood-onset schizophrenia: Progressive ventricular change during adolescence

Judith L. Rapoport, Jay Giedd, Sanjiv Kumra, Leslie Jacobsen, Amy Smith, Paul Lee, Jean Nelson, Susan Hamburger

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212 Scopus citations


Background: There is controversy about progression in brain abnormalities in later-onset schizophrenia. This study looked for more striking progression in brain abnormalities during adolescence in a chronically ill, treatment-refractory sample of patients with childhood- onset schizophrenia who had more prepsychotic developmental disturbance, but clinical and neurobiological characteristics similar to those of patients with treatment-refractory adult-onset schizophrenia who have poor outcome. Methods: Anatomic brain magnetic resonance images were obtained for 16 children and adolescents with onset of schizophrenia by 12 years of age and 24 temporally yoked, age-and sex-matched healthy controls. Subjects were scanned on initial admission and rescanned after 2 years with the identical equipment and measurement methods. Results: Childhood schizophrenics showed a significantly greater increase in ventricular volume than did controls, for whom ventricles did not increase significantly (analysis of variance, diagnosisXtime, F = 16.1, P<.001). A significant decrease in midsagittal thalamic area was also seen for the schizophrenics (P=.03), which was unchanged at rescan for controls. These differential brain changes correlated significantly with each other and tended to be predicted by both prepsychotic developmental abnormality (Premorbid Assessment Scale, P=.06) and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale at follow-up (P=.07). Conclusions: More consistent progressive ventricular enlargement was seen during adolescence for this childhood-onset sample than has been reported for adult-onset populations. The brain imaging results support other clinical data showing both early and late deviations in brain development for at least this rare subgroup of treatment-refractory, very-early-onset schizophrenic patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)897-903
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of General Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


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