We mapped regional changes in cortical thickness and intensity-based cortical gray matter concentration in first episode schizophrenia. High-resolution magnetic resonance images were obtained from 72 (51 male, 21 female) first episode patients and 78 (37 male, 41 female) healthy subjects similar in age. Cortical pattern matching methods allowed comparisons of cortical thickness and gray matter concentration at thousands of homologous cortical locations between subjects in three dimensions. Principal components analyses reduced measures obtained across the cortex to identify global differences in cortical thickness/gray matter concentration. First principal component factor scores showed significant effects of diagnosis, sex and age for both cortical measures. Diagnosis and age effects remained significant after brain size correction. Cortical thickness and gray matter concentration values were highly correlated. Statistical maps showed significant regional gray matter thinning in frontal, temporal and parietal heteromodal association cortices bilaterally in first episode patients. Regional reductions in cortical gray matter concentration were similar but pronounced in the superior temporal lobe. Regional reductions in cortical thickness and gray matter concentration are present at disease onset in brain regions linked with functional disturbances in schizophrenia. Cortical thickness and gray matter concentration mapping produce similar results, although the concentration metric may be influenced by diagnostic differences in extra-cortical cerebrospinal fluid and surface curvature/complexity.
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