Preventing clinical deterioration in the course of schizophrenia: The potential for neuroprotection

Dolores Malaspina, L. Fredrik Jarskog

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2 Scopus citations


Schizophrenia, which has both genetic and environmental causes, is associated with persistent symptoms and severe functional disability. The illness lies dormant during the premorbid phase and begins to express itself during adolescence or early adulthood. Clinical progression and deterioration reaches a plateau in which the patient is said to be in the chronic phase of illness and at which point restoration of prior functioning is unlikely. The severe deficits associated with schizophrenia are often the result of progression of illness due to lack of appropriate treatment. However, recent advances in neuropsychiatry have led to very early identification of individuals at risk for psychosis, even during the prodromal stage when psychosis has not yet manifested clinically. While research has demonstrated that the efficacy of antipsychotics is limited when used during the chronic phase of illness, these medications can effectively control symptoms and prevent progression of illness when used during the early stages of illness. The evidence of neural degeneration in the pathophysiology of schizophrenic illness suggests that there may be treatment opportunities through neural protection. Neuroprotection, which refers to treatment that helps maintain central nervous system functionality in response to neurobiologic stress, may be responsible for prevention of disease progression and deterioration. In this monograph, Jeffrey L. Lieberman, MD, introduces the phases of schizophrenic illness in relation to the concepts of progression and deterioration. Next, Dolores Malaspina, MD, reviews the neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative components of schizophrenia. Finally, L. Fredrik Jarskog, MD, focuses on the neuroprotective aspects of therapeutic interventions in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPrimary Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006


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