Biological psychiatry

 

It was earlier thought that the brain of a schizophrenic had no morphological difference from the normal brain. But modern studies which began in 1980s found this not to be the case. And today we now have found areas in which the brain of the schizophrenic is different from those of normal persons. The following have been found

Anatomy

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Cortical atrophy

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Cortical enlargement

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Amgygdala volume reduction

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Hippocampus volume reduction

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Right prefrontal cortex reduction in size

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Thalamus reduction in size

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Fusiform gyrus smaller

 

Physiology

Also we have difference in function in the following areas

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Reduced metabolism in the thalamus

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Reduced metabolic function in the prefrontal cortex

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Reduced perceptual-motor speed,

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 Reduced ability to shift attention

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Reduced ability to filter out background stimuli

 

Pathology

Abnormal structure of the planum temporale

The whole of the above structure and functional abnormalities seem to point to a reduction in the function of cortico-striato-thalamic circuit which may suggest a simple limbic de-afferentation. Also the association with developmental mishaps such as winter birth, increasing parental age to include genetic susceptibility are all now very well known.

The dopamine theory of schizophrenia also supports the above and suggests certain areas with abnormal, dopamine level as the nigrostriatal tract and mesolimbic cortex and possibly also the nucleus accumbens septi.

All the above represent the biological approach to mental illness as opposed to a previous social paradigm of psychiatric ailments.

 

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1 cingulate gyrus 2 subcallosal gyrus forming limbic lobe

 
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