BACKGROUND: It is unclear whether schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar disorder are associated with similar deviations of brain morphometry. AIMS: To assess volumetric abnormalities of grey and white matter throughout the entire brain in individuals with schizophrenia or with bipolar disorder compared with the same control group. METHOD: Brain scans were obtained by magnetic resonance imaging from 25 people with schizophrenia, 37 with bipolar disorder who had experienced psychotic symptoms and 52 healthy volunteers. Regional deviation in grey and white matter volume was assessed using computational morphometry. RESULTS: Individuals with schizophrenia had distributed grey matter deficit predominantly involving the fronto-temporal neocortex, medial temporal lobe, insula, thalamus and cerebellum, whereas those with bipolar disorder had no significant regions of grey matter abnormality. Both groups had anatomically overlapping white matter deficits in regions normally occupied by major longitudinal and interhemispheric tracts. CONCLUSIONS: Schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar disorder are associated with distinct grey matter deficits but anatomically coincident white matter abnormalities.
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