Brains Of Patients With Schizophrenia Attempt Self-Healing


Schizophrenic brains hold the capacity to heal themselves, according to a new study conducted by Lawson Health Research Institute London, Ontario, Canada researchers.

The brains of patients suffering from schizophrenia possess the ability to reorganize and counteract the ill effects of the disease. Although the disease is typically associated with a decrease in brain tissue volume, neuroimaging results claim a slight increase in brain tissue in specific regions.

"This provides us hope to consider strategies that can harness the brain's plasticity in treating this illness and reversing some features that are, so far, considered irreversible with current medical and psychological treatments," said Lena Palaniyappan, PhD, lead author of the study.

Observing changes in the brain

Previous research has confirmed that MRIs show a reduction in gray matter thickness in the brains of schizophrenia patients. This reduction indicates a troubling deficit of brain tissue despite current treatments that have failed to reverse the process of tissue loss.

During the study researchers examined 98 clinically stable schizophrenic patients and contrasted them with 83 participants who did not have the disease. Cortical thickness was then measured via MRIs.

"We observed that across the group of 98 medicated patients, reduced thickness was consistently accompanied by subtle but nevertheless noticeable increases in thickness," said Dr. Palaniyappan. “This suggests that a compensatory remodeling process might contribute to the cortical thickness variations in different stages of schizophrenia.”

Researchers hope the results show that changes to schizophrenic brains are not always for the detriment of the patient. Instead, small gains in brain structure could be viewed as “the compensatory mechanisms that are in action alongside pathological processes that contribute to symptoms of schizophrenia,” concluded Dr. Palaniyappan.

Source: Medscape