Neuroimaging and the Longitudinal Course of Schizophrenia

  • Geraldo F. Busatto
  • Pedro G. P. Rosa
  • Paolo Fusar-Poli
  • Lynn E. DeLisi


For many decades, neuroimaging studies have consistently demonstrated the presence of brain pathological changes associated with the diagnosis of schizophrenia, more recently using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). With several thousands of patients examined in different disease stages, MRI studies have allowed investigations of the possible patterns of progression of such brain changes over the longitudinal course of schizophrenia after the initial onset of symptoms. Overall, the available MRI data indicate that structural brain abnormalities associated with the diagnosis of schizophrenia may progress from the first psychotic episode (or even in the prodromal stage) to chronic disease states, particularly during the initial few years after illness onset. Such progressive brain changes are probably restricted to subgroups of patients with an unremitting disease course and poorer outcome. Conversely, there is some evidence from longitudinal MRI studies suggesting that brain abnormalities in cases of schizophrenia with better prognosis may be even reversible. In addition, longitudinal MRI studies also suggest that the degree of progression of brain structural abnormalities over the course of schizophrenia is likely (at least partially) to be under the influence of chronic antipsychotic usage.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geraldo F. Busatto
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pedro G. P. Rosa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paolo Fusar-Poli
    • 3
    • 4
  • Lynn E. DeLisi
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Applied Neurosciences (NAPNA), University of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Early Psychosis Interventions and Clinical Detection (EPIC) Lab, Department of Psychosis StudiesInstitute of Psychiatry Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Department of Brain and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  5. 5.VA Boston Healthcare SystemHarvard Medical SchoolBrocktonUSA

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