The neuropathological results from a prospective, systematically assessed, series of 56 schizophrenic patients and 56 age- and sex-matched normal controls have been presented.
When compared with the normal controls, the brains of the schizophrenic subjects showed a significant reduction in brain weight and brain length with a concomitant increase in ventricular size. (All findings relate to measurements made after formalin fixation). In addition, the brains of the schizophrenic patients contained significantly more non-specific focal pathology and fibrillary gliosis than the controls.
After exclusion of cases with moderate and severe Alzheimer-type change, cerebro-vascular disease and all forms of focal pathology, the structural brain changes (i.e. decrease in brain weight and brain length) continued to distinguish the schizophrenia group from the controls. Furthermore, an analysis of the clinical data showed that the structural brain changes were correlated in the schizophrenic patients with a measurement of pre-morbid function.
The findings and their possible aetiological implications have been discussed.