Schizophrenics lose brain volume faster with antipsychotic medications

Taking antipsychotics is associated with a decrease in brain volume for schizophrenia patients, reports a new study in PLOS One.

The loss of volume occurs from a decrease in brain cells and connections, which can happen naturally with age. Yet people with schizophrenia lose brain volume at a faster rate, said the University of Cambridge researchers.

So should schizophrenia patients give up their antipsychotic medications because of potential brain volume loss?

Not at all, said study author Dr. Graham Murray.

"It's important to stress that the loss of brain volume doesn't appear to have any effect on people over the nine-year follow-up we conducted, and patients should not stop their medication on the basis of this research," he said.

Cognitive function not affected

The brain loss, which was seen when researchers compared the brain scans of 33 patients with schizophrenia with 71 control subjects, didn't affect patients' cognitive abilities.

Yet the higher the dose of the drugs, the more brain cell loss was seen, reports Health Day.

The findings might help to standardize guidelines about reducing antipsychotic dosages as schizophrenia patients get older, the researchers concluded.

"A key question in future will be to examine whether there is any effect of this loss of brain volume later in life. We need more research in larger studies with longer follow-ups to evaluate the significance of these brain changes," Murray said.

Source: Health Day
Image courtesty of nokhoog_buchachon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

More Articles

It is estimated that nearly 1.2% of the population in the U.S. has schizophrenia. The disorder can vary in terms of severity and manageability,...

A diagnosis of schizophrenia can bring about a limitless number of changes...

Creatine is a type of acid naturally manufactured by our liver, pancreas and kidneys. One of its primary roles in the body is to provide energy...

There are two commonly used sets of criteria for diagnosing schizophrenia and other mental health disorders: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual...

There are a number of talented musicians who have suffered from schizophrenia at some point in...

More Articles

More Articles

It is estimated that nearly 1.2% of the population in the U.S. has schizophrenia. The disorder can vary in terms of severity and manageability,...

A diagnosis of schizophrenia can bring about a limitless number of changes...

Creatine is a type of acid naturally manufactured by our liver, pancreas and kidneys. One of its primary roles in the body is to provide energy...

There are two commonly used sets of criteria for diagnosing schizophrenia and other mental health disorders: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual...

There are a number of talented musicians who have suffered from schizophrenia at some point in...

People in the prodromal phase of schizophrenic experience what can be called...

The term "schizophrenic break" refers to an episode of acute psychosis in someone with...

Treating schizophrenia with medication often yields positive results. Nowadays, there are many...

Understanding the pathophysiology of schizophrenia (or, in other words, the physiological...

Scientists have been studying schizophrenia for a long time, trying to determine what...

An estimated 30% of people with schizophrenia have refractory schizophrenia, which means their...

While most people can’t fathom purposely hurting themselves, self-injury is not uncommon with certain types of psychiatric disorders. Although it...

Although schizophrenia goes back several thousand years, this most serious of psychiatric disorders was not officially coined “schizophrenia”...

The neurotransmitter serotonin is known to influence a number of important brain functions, including perception, mood, sleep, appetite, cognition...

There are a number of different research methods used in psychology, but one of the most interesting to the layperson is the case study. Case...