Nav: Home

Recognizing the uniqueness of different individuals with schizophrenia

October 10, 2018

Schizophrenia is an extremely variable psychiatric disorder which is diagnosed based on the presence of specific symptoms. Thomas Wolfers and André Marquand of Radboud university medical center investigated how much the brains of individual patients diagnosed with schizophrenia differ from the 'average' patient. For this purpose, they compared brain scans of 250 healthy individuals with those of 218 individuals with schizophrenia. Those with schizophrenia - as a group - differed from the healthy individuals in frontal brain regions, the cerebellum, and the temporal cortex.

However, the differences between individuals were so great that it is virtually meaningless to speak of 'the average patient'. Only a few identical differences in the brain occurred in more than two percent of patients. The largest number of differences were only observed on an individual level. According to Marquand: "The brains of individuals with schizophrenia differ so much from the average that the average has little to say about what might be occurring in the brain of an individual."

The study shows that almost all individuals with schizophrenia have their own biological profile. This highlights the problems with the current method of diagnosing psychiatric disorders on the basis of symptoms. According to Marquand: "We can see substantial variation in the brains of different individuals with schizophrenia, but despite this variation, all these people get the same diagnosis. As a result, we think that it is difficult to get a better understanding of the biology underlying schizophrenia simply by studying the average patient. We need to identify the brain 'fingerprint' of the disorder for each individual patient. In the future, this might be able to help psychiatrists to identify the best treatment for each individual".

The researchers want to create a fingerprint for each individual brain, documenting the differences in relation to the group average. This should lead to a more complete picture of each individual patient. Wolfers: "In practice, psychiatrists and psychologists know very well that each patient is an individual, with their own story, history, and biology. Nevertheless, we use diagnostic models that largely ignore these differences. Together with our colleagues in Europe, we raise awareness of this issue by developing methods that make it possible to consider the individual as a whole. We look at both the symptoms and the biology. It is still a long way to go before this research will yield visible practical results, but in the long term, we hope it will lead to better diagnoses and individualized therapies for patients."
-end-


Radboud University Medical Center

Related Schizophrenia Articles:

Schizophrenia: When the thalamus misleads the ear
Scientists at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the Synapsy National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) have succeeded in linking the onset of auditory hallucinations - one of the most common symptoms of schizophrenia - with the abnormal development of certain substructures of a region deep in the brain called the thalamus.
Unlocking schizophrenia
New research, led by Prof. LIU Bing and Prof. JIANG Tianzi from the Institute of Automation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and their collaborators have recently developed a novel imaging marker that may help in the personalized medicine of psychiatric disorders.
Researchers discover second type of schizophrenia
In a study of more than 300 patients from three continents, over one third had brains that looked similar to healthy people.
New clues into the genetic origins of schizophrenia
The first genetic analysis of schizophrenia in an ancestral African population, the South African Xhosa, appears in the Jan.
Dietary supplement may help with schizophrenia
A dietary supplement, sarcosine, may help with schizophrenia as part of a holistic approach complementing antipsychotic medication, according to a UCL researcher.
Schizophrenia: Adolescence is the game-changer
Schizophrenia may be related to the deletion syndrome. However, not everyone who has the syndrome necessarily develops psychotic symptoms.
Study suggests overdiagnosis of schizophrenia
In a small study of patients referred to the Johns Hopkins Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic (EPIC), Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report that about half the people referred to the clinic with a schizophrenia diagnosis didn't actually have schizophrenia.
The ways of wisdom in schizophrenia
Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine report that persons with schizophrenia scored lower on a wisdom assessment than non-psychiatric comparison participants, but that there was considerable variability in levels of wisdom, and those with higher scores displayed fewer psychotic symptoms.
Recognizing the uniqueness of different individuals with schizophrenia
Individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia differ greatly from one another. Researchers from Radboud university medical center, along with colleagues from England and Norway, have demonstrated that very few identical brain differences are shared amongst different patients.
Resynchronizing neurons to erase schizophrenia
Today, a decisive step in understanding schizophrenia has been taken.
More Schizophrenia News and Schizophrenia Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.