Several studies have investigated grey matter reductions in first episode schizophrenia (FES), but few have examined the relationship between grey matter reduction and clinical profile. A group of 31 patients with strictly defined FES and 30 healthy controls underwent T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Voxel-based morphometry in SPM99 was used to identify four distinct regions of grey matter reduction in the FES subjects. The regions of interest (ROIs) were in the left ventral prefrontal cortex (ROI 1), left parietal and temporal cortices (ROI 2), right cerebellum (ROI 3), and right frontal and parietal cortices (ROI 4). These regions of reduction were transformed into binary masks, which were convolved with patients' pre-processed grey matter images. Patients' grey matter volumes in these regions were correlated with their composite scores on the following three symptom dimensions: Psychomotor Poverty, Disorganization and Reality Distortion. The volumes of ROIs 1, 2 and 4 were found to be significantly correlated with the Reality Distortion syndrome score. Our findings indicate that distinct, widespread grey matter reductions are present very early in the course of schizophrenia. The results also suggest a possible structural underpinning for the abnormal brain activity typically associated with symptoms of Reality Distortion.
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