An international team, made up of researchers from the University of Granada in southern Spain, the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and the University of South Florida, in Tampa, has linked various symptoms of schizophrenia with anatomical characteristics of the brain, by employing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Their research, published in the October 15, 2015 issue of the academic journal NeuroImage, could herald a significant step forward in the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia. The article is titled “Decomposition of Brain Diffusion Imaging Data Uncovers Latent Schizophrenias with Distinct Patterns of White Matter Anisotropy.” In what may be a major breakthrough, the scientists have successfully linked the symptoms of the illness with the brain's anatomical features, using sophisticated brain-imaging techniques. By analyzing the brain's anatomy, the scientists have demonstrated the existence of distinctive subgroups among patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, who suffer from different symptoms. In order to carry out the study, the researchers employed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique called "diffusion tensor imaging" on 36 healthy subjects and 47 schizophrenic subjects. The tests conducted on the schizophrenic subjects revealed that they had various abnormalities in certain parts of their corpus callosum, a bundle of neural fibers that connects the right and left cerebral hemispheres and is considered essential for effective interhemispheric communication. When the researchers detected anomalies in the brain's entire corpus callosum, they discovered that certain characteristic features revealed in the brain scans coincided with specific schizophrenic symptoms. For instance, patients with specific features in a particular part of the corpus callosum exhibited strange and disorganized behavior.
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