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View Diary: Psychiatry - What Causes Schizophrenia (51 comments)

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  •  Hmm I Recall Reading Some Years Ago That (6+ / 0-)

    brain ventricles were larger in (some?) brains of schizophrenics. Is that still regarded as true? If so it would seem to support a more structural cause or contribution than brain chemistry.

    I had a diagnosed schizophrenic in my apartment building some years ago. Observing him when I was a programmer at the time, I had the impression of process control systems that weren't functioning right.

    At any given instant I myself might notice a germ of a sensory impression or micro-memory but they never go anywhere. Some process(es) very quickly sort them out as extraneous or invalid. It seemed to me that similar events in his brain would get past some kind of sorting or error checking processes and go on developing as valid realworld activity and then go on to become memories as if real.

    It all gives me the impression that there is an astronomical amount of data and processing and competing activities going on to make up mental and emotional activity, healthy or otherwise.

    Thanks for this interesting diary.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:49:24 PM PDT

    •  Yes, structural abnormalities are seen (6+ / 0-)

      Yes, there have been studies documenting brain sturctuaral abnormalities in people with schizophrenia.  Enlarged brain ventricles (fluid-filled spaces within the brain) are one finding.  However, enlarged brain ventricles are seen in a variety of neurological disorders, and so are not specific to schizophrenia.  And then no one knows if the enlarged ventricles seen in schizophrenic are a cause of a consequence.

      The other documented structural brain abnormalities documented in people with schizophrenia is a decrease in the size of the brain's grey matter- the region of the brain that contains nerve cell bodies.  Again, this is a non-specific finding: it is also seen in a variety of dementias.

      While interesting, neither of these findings can be show to be causative of schizophrenia.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 04:08:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A=B; larger ventricles are seen because... (2+ / 0-)

        the brain itself has shrunk.

        Elderly people routinely have generous sized ventricles in the brain easily seen on CT or MRI scan. That's not because the ventricles are 'swollen' or the fluid can't get out; it's because the brain itself is shrinking with the age-related loss of nerve cells, and the ventricles expand to fill the missing volume.

        Anything causing loss of brain cells will eventually lead to expansion of the ventricles.

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