BONN, Germany, May 27 (UPI) — German scientists using magnetic resonance imaging say they’ve discovered blood flows differently through the brains of schizophrenic patients.
The researchers said they used a MRI technique called continuous arterial spin labeling to map cerebral blood flow patterns in schizophrenic patients quickly and without using radiation or contrast agents.
In the study, researchers led by Dr. Lukas Scheef of the University of Bonn compared cerebral blood flow in 11 non-medicated patients with schizophrenia and 25 healthy controls.
The results revealed that, compared to the healthy controls, the schizophrenic patients had extensive areas of hypoperfusion — lower blood flow than normal — in their brain’s frontal lobes and frontal cortex, anterior and medial cingulate gyri and parietal lobes. The scientists said those regions are associated with a number of higher cognitive functions, including planning, decision making, judgment and impulse control.
Hyperperfusion, or increased blood flow, was observed in the cerebellum, brainstem and thalamus of the schizophrenic patients.
Scheef said the findings may lead to a better understanding of schizophrenia and, in the long run, might help optimize treatments.
The research is reported in the early online edition of the journal Radiology, ahead of the July print issue.
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