Objective: In Early Onset Schizophrenia (EOS; onset before the 18th birthday) late brain maturational changes may interact with disease mechanisms leading to a wave of back to front structural changes during adolescence. To further explore this effect we examined the relationship between age of onset and duration of illness on brain morphology in adolescents with EOS.
Subjects and methods: Structural brain magnetic resonance imaging scans were obtained from 40 adolescents with EOS. We used Voxel Based Morphometry and multiple regressions analyses, implemented in SPM, to examine the relationship between gray matter volume with age of onset and illness duration.
Results: Age of onset showed a positive correlation with regional gray matter volume in the right superior parietal lobule (Brodmann Area 7). Duration of illness was inversely related to regional gray matter volume in the left inferior frontal gyrus (BA 11/47).
Conclusions: Parietal gray matter loss may contribute to the onset of schizophrenia while orbitofrontal gray matter loss is associated with illness duration.