Neuropathological Abnormalities

One of the challenges of postmortem neuroanatomical observations in schizophrenia is that the changes that are seen are widespread and usually subtle (Harrison, 1999; Powers, 1999). There is no gross lesion that is typical of a schizophrenia brain such as that seen in Huntington's disease or Parkinson's disease. Moreover, many of the abnormalities that are detected in the brains of patients with schizophrenia are not selective and are associated with other psychiatric conditions as well. Finally, there are many unreplicated findings due in part to the problems of the heterogeneity of the disease, the course of the illness, and medication effects.

The neuroscience of schizophrenia has also been historically limited by long postmortem intervals, poor preservation, or harsh fixation of the tissue, which are incompatible with the application of sophisticated histochemical techniques. Nevertheless, the neuropathology of schizophrenia has been studied since the late 1800s, and reports exist of some abnormality in nearly every brain region.

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