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A voxel- and source-based morphometry analysis of grey matter volume differences in very-late-onset schizophrenia-like psychosis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 August 2023

Lies Van Assche
Geriatric Psychiatry, University Psychiatric Center KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium Neuropsychiatry, Department of Neurosciences, Leuven Brain Institute, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Akihiro Takamiya*
Neuropsychiatry, Department of Neurosciences, Leuven Brain Institute, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium Department of Neuropsychiatry, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
Jan Van den Stock
Geriatric Psychiatry, University Psychiatric Center KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium Neuropsychiatry, Department of Neurosciences, Leuven Brain Institute, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Luc Van de Ven
Geriatric Psychiatry, University Psychiatric Center KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Patrick Luyten
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium Research Department of Clinical Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London, UK
Louise Emsell
Geriatric Psychiatry, University Psychiatric Center KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium Neuropsychiatry, Department of Neurosciences, Leuven Brain Institute, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium Translational MRI, Department of Imaging and Pathology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Mathieu Vandenbulcke
Geriatric Psychiatry, University Psychiatric Center KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium Neuropsychiatry, Department of Neurosciences, Leuven Brain Institute, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Corresponding author: Akihiro Takamiya; Email:



Very-late-onset schizophrenia-like psychosis (VLOSLP) is associated with significant burden. Its clinical importance is increasing as the global population of older adults rises, yet owing to limited research in this population, the neurobiological underpinnings of VLOSP remain insufficiently clarified. Here we address this knowledge gap using novel morphometry techniques to investigate grey matter volume (GMV) differences between VLOSLP and healthy older adults, and their correlations with neuropsychological scores.


In this cross-sectional study, we investigated whole-brain GMV differences between 35 individuals with VLOSLP (mean age 76.7, 26 female) and 36 healthy controls (mean age 75.7, 27 female) using whole-brain voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and supplementary source-based morphometry (SBM) on high resolution 3D T1-weighted MRI images. Additionally, we investigated relationships between GMV differences and cognitive function assessed with an extensive neuropsychological battery.


VBM showed lower GMV in the thalamus, left inferior frontal gyrus and left insula in patients with VLOSLP compared to healthy controls. SBM revealed lower thalamo-temporal GMV in patients with VLOSLP. Processing speed, selective attention, mental flexibility, working memory, verbal memory, semantic fluency and confrontation naming were impaired in patients with VLOSLP. Correlations between thalamic volumes and memory function were significant within the group of individuals with VLOSLP, whereas no significant associations remained in the healthy controls.


Lower GMV in the thalamus and fronto-temporal regions may be part of the underlying neurobiology of VLOSLP, with lower thalamic GMV contributing to memory impairment in the disorder.

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Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press

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