Findings from multiple lines of research provide evidence of aberrant functional brain connectivity in schizophrenia. By using graph-analytical measures, recent studies indicate that patients with schizophrenia exhibit changes in the organizational principles of whole-brain networks and that these changes relate to cognitive symptoms. However, there has not been a systematic investigation of functional brain network changes in schizophrenia to test the consistency of these changes across multiple studies. A comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify all available functional graph-analytical studies in patients with schizophrenia. Effect size measures were derived from each study and entered in a random-effects meta-analytical model. All models were tested for effects of potential moderator variables as well as for the presence of publication bias. The results of a total of n = 13 functional neuroimaging studies indicated that brain networks in patients with schizophrenia exhibit significant decreases in measures of local organization (g = -0.56, P = .02) and significant decreases in small-worldness (g = -0.65, P = .01) whereas global short communication paths seemed to be preserved (g = 0.26, P = .32). There was no evidence for a publication bias or moderator effects. The present meta- analysis demonstrates significant changes in whole brain network architecture associated with schizophrenia across studies.
Keywords: cognition; connectivity; graph analysis; meta-analysis; schizophrenia.
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