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Hippocampal abnormalities have been demonstrated in schizophrenia. It is
unclear whether these abnormalities worsen with age, and whether they
affect cognition and function.
To determine whether hippocampal abnormalities in chronic schizophrenia
are associated with age, cognition and socio-occupational function.
Using 3 T magnetic resonance imaging we scanned 100 persons aged 19–82
years: 51 were out-patients with stable schizophrenia at least 2 years
after diagnosis and 49 were healthy volunteers matched for age and
gender. Automated analysis was used to determine hippocampal volume and
There were differential effects of age in the schizophrenia and control
samples on total hippocampal volume (group×age interaction:
F(1,95) = 6.57, P = 0.012), with steeper
age-related reduction in the schizophrenia group. Three-dimensional shape
analysis located the age-related deformations predominantly in the
mid-body of the hippocampus. In the schizophrenia group similar patterns
of morphometric abnormalities were correlated with impaired cognition and
poorer socio-occupational function.
Hippocampal abnormalities are associated with age in people with chronic
schizophrenia, with a steeper decline than in healthy individuals. These
abnormalities are associated with cognitive and functional deficits,
suggesting that hippocampal morphometry may be a biomarker for cognitive
decline in older patients with schizophrenia.
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