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Schizophrenia Essays

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For this brainstorm, I decided on Schizophrenia, the reason I chose this disorder is that I have a cousin that was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia affects my cousin on a daily basis, and his being diagnosed with this disorder was definitely a large factor in my interest in psychology, as I always wanted to understand the disorder in more detail. I was always interested in understanding how exactly schizophrenia develops in the brain, and how it comes on develop. Therefore, in this brainstorm, I will research the neurochemical and neuroanatomical correlations with schizophrenia, in order to gain a better understanding of the disorder.

Neuroanatomical Correlates of the Disorder:

Research done on schizophrenia reveals that there is a neuroanatomical exchange between schizophrenia and VLPFC (ventrolateral prefrontal cortex). Research shows that the decreased willingness to fix the distorted senses of a person is in fact correlated with the volume of the right VLPFC. The VLPFC has a very important role in a lot of high-level cognitive functions, including working memory and decision-making. In regards to working memory, VLPFC helps to maintain, transfer, and match autobiographic and semantic information attained recently or recovered from long-term memory. According to structural and functional neuroimaging studies in relation to schizophrenia, it is notable that a decline in volume, a lower hyper-connectivity, and activation of the VLPFC are related to lose in encoding and recovering verbal material in the working memory tasks.

In regards to decision-making, research shows that the right VLPFC plays an important role in bringing about alternative hypotheses in tasks in which someone is obligated to produce a response to an issue when there are many possible solutions. In schizophrenia, a momentous activation within the right VLPFC is correlated with high impulsivity and trouble in preventing incorrect responses that delay the effective decision-making process. These research findings signify that in schizophrenia, a cut down in the volume of VLPFC is correlated with a poor ability to classify an alternative hypothesis regarding one’s own misperceptions and biases, that in turn affects an appropriate awareness of the illness. There is also a neuroanatomical correlation between schizophrenia and ganglia. The basal ganglia are loop generators that are linked to motivational and motor circuits that ablate the old subcortical dualism. The basal ganglia is inclined to take part in establishing cognitive and motor patterns. Which in turn separates others from self and could result in negative and positive symptoms of the disorder. Therefore, this area can be linked to the symptoms correlated with schizophrenia. People who have schizophrenia have emotional detachment, extreme apathy, lack of ambition or drive, and social withdrawal. Positive symptoms of schizophrenia are comprised of hallucinations, delusions, and disarranged speech and thinking.

Neurochemical Correlates of the Disorder:

Important studies have been done in order to determine the neurochemical correlates of this disorder. Deficits in an array of different neurochemical species are consistent with the loss of cortical GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) GABAergic interneurons in schizophrenia. This represents that GABA is correlated with schizophrenia. Many studies have also been disclosed on neurochemical markers, therefore, demonstrating all neurons using GABA as a transmitter, which consolidates GABA uptakes sites and glutamate decarboxylase. These abnormalities demonstrate losses distinct to some subtypes of GABAergic neurons. The research that was done by Reynolds, Beasley, and Zhang (2004), announced that calcium-binding proteins determined selective deficits. They found losses of calbindin parvalbumin cells in the prefrontal cortex in relation to schizophrenia. The careful decrease in the frequency of the calbindin and parvalbumin-containing neurons could very well demonstrate that the intact cells did not function well, or that alternatively a deficit in the density of some GABAergic neuronal subtypes. Glutamate is an example of another neurotransmitter system that interacts with schizophrenia. Despite the existence of some conflicting reports, there are research studies that strongly affiliate a cortical pathology in glutamatergic synapses and schizophrenia, there are also irregularities that have been reported in glutamatergic synapses.

Antipsychotic drugs play a crucial role in keeping schizophrenia manageable, and they’ve been around for a long time since the 1950s to be exact. These drugs undoubtedly reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia, although, they do not act as a cure for the disorder. These drugs allow patients to better function in their everyday lives, therefore, improving their overall well-being and health. Schizophrenia may be managed by taking drugs such as perphenazine, loxapine, fluphenazine, and trifluoperazine, among others. These antipsychotic drugs used in the treatment of schizophrenia relate to the neurotransmitter systems. The medications help to regulate the aberrant systems, therefore, helping the patients overpower delusions, hallucinations, and thought disorders, among others.

Contemporary Article: “Neuroanatomical Correlates of Psychopathology in Antipsychotic-naïve Schizophrenia”

The article I found clearly discusses the neuroanatomical correlates related to schizophrenia. The objective of this study was to research the link between gray matter volume abnormalities and psychopathology among antipsychotic-naïve schizophrenic patients. The researchers went on to describe that from previous studies that were done using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) they have not used automated image analysis to determine the volume of gray matter correlates of psychopathology among patients with schizophrenia. The goal of this study was to use automated image analysis to figure out the link between psychopathology and the volume of gray matter among antipsychotic naïve schizophrenic patients. The researchers in this study conducted MRI for 30 participants. They used VBM (optimized voxel-based morphometry in order to analyze sex education, 27 age, and handedness-matched healthy controls for the discrepancies in gray matter volume. They went on to conduct the study using 30 participants who all had antipsychotic naïve schizophrenia and 27 healthy comparison subjects. They went on to recruit patients that had schizophrenia from the outpatient services of an institute of mental health and neurosciences. The control subjects that were healthy were then recruited by using word of mouth from the complying volunteers. The researchers mostly examined the volume of gray matter in cingulate, temporal, frontal, and precuneus cortices. They used VBM, which is a rapid, unbiased, and automated technique. The researchers also measured psychopathology using PANSS (positive and negative syndrome scale). The VBM helped them examine the links between gray matter volumes and PANSS scores. They also discovered that schizophrenic patients had high gray matter volume loss in the insula, temporal, cingulate, frontal, and precuneus cortices. They concluded that the positive syndrome score was negatively linked with the volume of the left superior temporal gyrus. In distinction to the negative syndrome, score is inversely linked with frontal, cingulate, and cerebellar gray matter volumes. The researchers went on to conclude that their study results demonstrated that the cortical and cerebellar gray matter volume shortage and their negative interactions with psychopathology scores support the cognitive dysmetria in schizophrenia.


  1. Reynolds, Zhang & Beasley (2004). “Neurochemical Correlates of Cortical GABAergic Deficits in Schizophrenia: Selective Losses of Calcium Binding Protein Immunoreactivity”. Brain research bulletin pg. 568-598.
  2. Venkatasubramanian, G. (2012). “Neuroanatomical Correlates of Psychopathology in Antipsychotic-naive Schizophrenia. Indian journal of psychiatry pg. 18 – 29.
  3. Braff & Swerdlow (1998). “Neuroanatomy of Schizophrenia”. Schizophrenia bulletin, pg. 500-521.
  4. Piras, F., Macci, E. & Spalletta, G. (2014). “The Neuroanatomical Correlates of Cognitive Insight in Schizophrenia.” Social cognitive and affective neuroscience.
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