The course of brain abnormalities in schizophrenia: Can we slow the progression?

N. e. Van Haren, W. Cahn, He Hulshoff Pol, R. S. Kahn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


There is convincing evidence that schizophrenia is characterized by progressive brain volume changes during the course of the illness. In a large longitudinal study it was shown that different age-related trajectories of brain tissue loss are present in patients compared with healthy subjects, suggesting that brain maturation that occurs in the third and fourth decade of life is abnormal in schizophrenia. Studies show that medication intake is an important confounding factor when interpreting brain volume (change) abnormalities. Atypical antipsychotics have been found to be related to smaller decreases in tissue loss. Moreover, independent of antipsychotic medication intake, the brain volume abnormalities appear associated to the outcome of the illness. Before being able to intervene with therapies and prevent the brain from shrinking, one has to understand the underlying mechanism of the progressive changes in the brains of schizophrenia patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-14
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Antipsychotics
  • longitudinal
  • neuroimaging
  • outcome
  • schizophrenia


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