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Study of brain structural alterations in patients with chronic and first-episode Schizophrenia through magnetic resonance imaging with voxel-based morphometry

Grant number: 11/18631-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2012
Effective date (End): January 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine - Psychiatry
Principal researcher:Geraldo Busatto Filho
Grantee:Ulysses dos Santos Torres
Home Institution: Instituto de Psiquiatria Doutor Antonio Carlos Pacheco e Silva (IPq). Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da USP (HCFMUSP). Secretaria da Saúde (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder affecting about 1% of the worldwide population, representing a leading cause of chronic disability among young adults. Although its etiology remains poorly understood, with the advent of more sophisticated neuroimaging methods such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), it has become possible to study the structural brain alterations in this disorder, and cortical and subcortical regional volumetric differences have been characterized in patients with Schizophrenia compared to controls. Recently, the method of Voxel-Based Morphometry (VBM) has been used as an automated alternative to previous volumetric studies using manual delineation of regions of interest to detect and compare structural differences between patients and controls. Since then, however, there is in the literature a significant variability in results of structural MRI studies on Schizophrenia, making data interpretation difficult; several factors contribute to this variability, including the use of small samples of patients and inadequate characterization of studied groups, especially regarding the chronicity of the disease and the use of antipsychotic drugs. Thus, important questions such as the progression of structural brain alterations over time, supporting the association of a neurodegenerative hypothesis to the dominant neurodevelopmental model proposed as underlying pathophysiology of the disease, and the role of antipsychotics in this progression, are still pending. This study aims to identify and describe patterns of structural brain alterations in a large sample of patients with Schizophrenia, characterizing these alterations according to the chronicity of the disease and to the use of antipsychotic drugs. A multicentric cross-sectional study will be conducted using a database with MRI exams of 190 Schizophrenia patients (128 with chronic Schizophrenia and 62 with first-episode Schizophrenia) and 238 controls, through application of the VBM method; findings of structural alterations will be further correlated with time of disease and variables related to antipsychotic drugs. It is expected that a homogeneous characterization of patients according to these variables may determine more consistent findings of structural brain alterations. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
TORRES, ULYSSES S.; DURAN, FABIO L. S.; SCHAUFELBERGER, MARISTELA S.; CRIPPA, JOSE A. S.; LOUZA, MARIO R.; SALLET, PAULO C.; KANEGUSUKU, CAROLINE Y. O.; ELKIS, HELIO; GATTAZ, WAGNER F.; BASSITT, DEBORA P.; ZUARDI, ANTONIOW.; HALLAK, JAIME EDUARDO C.; LEITE, CLAUDIA C.; CASTRO, CLAUDIO C.; SANTOS, ANTONIO CARLOS; MURRAY, ROBIN M.; BUSATTO, GERALDO F. Patterns of regional gray matter loss at different stages of schizophrenia: A multisite, cross-sectional VBM study in first-episode and chronic illness. NEUROIMAGE-CLINICAL, v. 12, p. 1-15, 2016. Web of Science Citations: 24.
TORRES, ULYSSES S.; PORTELA-OLIVEIRA, EDUARDO; BORGWARDT, STEFAN; BUSATTO, GERALDO F. Structural brain changes associated with antipsychotic treatment in schizophrenia as revealed by voxel-based morphometric MRI: an activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry, v. 13, DEC 20 2013. Web of Science Citations: 34.

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