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White-matter hyperintensities in first-episode psychosis

  • Marcus V. Zanetti (a1), Maristela S. Schaufelberger (a1), Cláudio C. de Castro (a2), Paulo R. Menezes (a3), Márcia Scazufca (a4), Philip K. McGuire (a5), Robin M. Murray (a5) and Geraldo F. Busatto (a6)...



White-matter hyperintensities have been associated with both schizophrenia and mood disorders, particularly bipolar disorder, but results are inconsistent across studies


To examine whether white-matter hyperintensities are a vulnerability marker for psychosis or are specifically associated with bipolar disorder


T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired in 129 individuals with first-episode psychosis (either affective or non-affective psychoses) and 102 controls who were randomly selected from the same geographical areas. Visual white-matter hyperintensity ratings were used for group and subgroup comparisons


There were no statistically significant between-group differences in white-matter hyperintensity frequency or severity scores. No significant correlations were found between white-matter hyperintensity scores and duration of illness, duration of untreated psychosis, or severity of psychotic, manic or depressive symptoms


White-matter hyperintensities are not associated with vulnerability to psychosis in general, or specifically with affective psychoses. Further, first-episode psychosis investigations using more quantitative methods are warranted to confirm these findings

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial licence (, which permits noncommercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

Corresponding author

Marcus V. Zanetti, Centro de Medicina Nuclear, 3° andar, LIM-21, Rua Dr. Ovídio Pires de Campos, s/n, CEP 05403-010, São Paulo, Brazil. Email:


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Declaration of interest


Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.



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White-matter hyperintensities in first-episode psychosis

  • Marcus V. Zanetti (a1), Maristela S. Schaufelberger (a1), Cláudio C. de Castro (a2), Paulo R. Menezes (a3), Márcia Scazufca (a4), Philip K. McGuire (a5), Robin M. Murray (a5) and Geraldo F. Busatto (a6)...
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