Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lack of grey matter in brain is linked to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

16.01.2009
A research study led by scientists from the Gregorio Marañón University Hospital in Madrid and the Network of Centres for Biomedical Research in Mental Health Networks (CIBERSAM) shows that adolescents experiencing a first outbreak of psychosis have lower levels of grey matter in their brains than healthy teenagers. Strangely, this change was seen in patients suffering from various psychoses, including bipolar illness and schizophrenia.

The objective of the study was to examine and locate differences in the volume of grey matter in the brains of healthy people (controls) and individuals diagnosed with psychotic outbreaks in infancy or adolescence. The researchers broke such psychosis down into three sub-groups – schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other psychoses that did not fit into either of the other two classifications.

The study, published recently in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, analysed a sample of 121 people aged between 7 and 18, inclusive. All the patients and controls were examined using magnetic resonance imaging in order to detect any possible changes in the structure of their brains.

“The interesting thing was that we found common alterations among those with two types of clinically-differentiated psychoses, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and this could help to improve diagnosis of these illnesses,” Santiago Reig, one of the study’s authors and a researcher in the Medical Imaging Laboratory of the Gregorio Marañón Hospital, tells SINC.

The study confirmed these lower levels of grey matter, the brain substance in which neurone cells are concentrated. This lack, which was shared between the schizophrenia and type 1 bipolar illness sufferers, means the functions of this part of the brain are “somehow atrophied”.

In addition, the technique used by the experts can pinpoint the location of these alterations. For example, “patients with early psychotic outbreaks (before the age of 18) showed alterations in the medial prefrontal gyrus region of the brain, which controls processes such as cognition and the regulation of sensations”, says Reig.

Improving diagnosis

“Anything that helps to detect alterations shared between distinct pathologies can help in the development of drugs and in finding common characteristics between these different diseases,” the researcher tells SINC. “Results like these are fundamental for the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses,” he adds.

However, it is important not to draw any causal link between alterations in this area of the brain and the appearance of these pathologies. Psychiatric illnesses need more complex diagnosis. What the research does show, however, is that the majority of people with schizophrenia and type 1 bipolar illness do suffer from this lack of grey matter and the majority of healthy people have normal levels of this substance.

“We still do not know whether this loss of grey matter is caused by the illness or not,” says Reig. This is just one more piece of the puzzle to help in understanding common features of psychiatric illnesses. “Maybe relating these developments with other new findings will one day help us to solve the riddle of psychiatric illnesses,” he concludes.

SINC Team | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

nachricht The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>