Fundamental differences between how the brain forms during adolescence have been discovered in children with schizophrenia and their siblings, a new study shows. The study opens up new avenues for researchers to explore when developing treatment for the illness, which can be hugely debilitating for children.
Researchers from the University of Melbourne and the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington DC used structural brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to map the brains of 109 children with childhood-onset schizophrenia (COS), from ages 12 to 24.
They compared the images with scans taken of the participants’ brothers and sisters without COS to see if similar brain changes took place over time.
The siblings without COS showed similar delays in brain connectivity while growing up, but these connections tended to normalise or ‘catch up’ to those of normally developing adolescents.
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