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Biological substrates of schizophrenia

Joyce A. Kovelman, Arnold B. Scheibel
Published: 29 January 2009

Abstract: Schizophrenia is increasingly believed to represent a group of organic disorders which primarily, although not exclusively, affect the central nervous system. Our purpose is to review a representative sample of twentieth-century literature which speaks to the biological substrates of the syndrome. Subjects reviewed include genetic and environmental contributions to the onset of illness, early and recent findings of gross structural anomalies, and apparent histopathological alterations in cerebral cortex, cerebellar vermis, limbic system, and brain stem, as well as problems of cerebral asymmetry. Data from a diverse group of electrophysiological studies reveal several promising correlates of these areas of investigation. Despite the inconsistent nature of the findings to date, several themes have begun to emerge, including patterns of hypofrontal/hyperparietal regional cerebral flow and glucose utilization, left hemispheric dysfunction, and deficits of interhemispheric information processing. The interpretation and significance of these emerging patterns remains unclear and must await more profound insights into the nature of normal and abnormal cerebral function.
Keywords: cerebral asymmetry / histopathology / limbic system / schizophrenia / substrates

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