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To investigate associations between schizophrenia candidate gene polymorphisms and regional cortical thickness and volume in patients with schizophrenia and healthy control subjects.
Genotyping was performed using PCR and pyrosequencing techniques. Cortical morphology was analyzed by processing magnetic resonance brain images with the FreeSurfer software package. General linear model analysis was used to study associations between gene variants and cortical thickness in patients and controls, respectively. Regional cortical volumes were defined from automatic cortical parcellations. Our first studies from 96 patients with schizophrenia and 104 healthy control subjects demonstrate that polymorphisms in the brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene may be associated with variation in frontal lobe morphology. Associations seem to be stronger in patients with schizophrenia than in healthy controls.
Patients with schizophrenia are at increased risk of suicide, but data from controlled studies of how pharmacotherapy is related to suicide risk is limited.
To explore suicide risk in relation to prescription of antipsychotics and antidepressants.
Of all patients with a first clinical discharge diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder in Stockholm County between 1984 and 2000 (n = 4,000), patients who died by suicide within five years from diagnosis were defined as cases (n = 84; 54% male). Individual matching was performed with schizophrenia controls from the same population. Information on prescribed medication was retrieved from psychiatric records in a blinded way. Odds ratios (OR) of the association between medication and suicide risk were calculated by conditional logistic regression.
No significant association was observed between suicide and having ever been prescribed any antidepressant (33 cases and 30 controls) or any antipsychotic (83 cases and 82 controls). A lower suicide risk was found in patients who had ever been prescribed a second generation antipsychotic (risperidone, ziprazidone, olanzapine or clozapine; 12 cases and 23 controls): OR 0.2 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.1–0.7). When the 6 cases and 8 controls who had been prescribed clozapine were excluded, the OR was 0.1 (95% CI, 0.03–0.6).
The lower suicide risk for patients who had been prescribed second generation antipsychotics may be related to a pharmacological effect of these medications, to differences in compliance, or to differences in other characteristics associated with a lower suicide risk.
Although schizophrenia was previously associated with affected spatial neuronal synchronization, surprisingly little is known about the temporal dynamics of neuronal oscillations in schizophrenia. However, since coordination of neuronal process in time represents an essential aspect of practically all cognitive processes, it might be strongly affected in schizophrenia patients.
To test the hypothesis of abnormal temporal neuronal dynamics in patients with schizophrenia.
We aimed at quantification and comparisons of long-range temporal correlations (LRTCs) in patients and normal subjects.
We measured 21 patients with schizophrenia (n = 18) or schizoaffective disorder (n = 3) and 28 age and gender matched controls. Ongoing neuronal oscillations were recorded with multi-channel EEG at rest condition. EEG was analyzed with spectral analysis and with the detrended fluctuation analysis allowing quantification of LRTCs.
The amplitude of neuronal oscillations in alpha and beta frequency ranges did not differ between the patients and controls. However, LRTCs were strongly attenuated in schizophrenia patients: in centro-parietal areas and fronto-central areas for alpha and beta oscillations, respectively. In addition we observed a negative correlation between the strength of the negative symptoms and LRTCs.
Small values of LRTCs and their correlation with the negative symptoms in schizophrenia patients demonstrate that the temporal dynamics of neuronal oscillations are essential for normal brain functioning. Attenuated LRTCs might indicate a more intermittent neuronal dynamics possibly allowing for more random associations between neuronal activations, which in turn might relate to the occurrence of positive symptoms in schizophrenia.
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