To determine whether patients with catatonic schizophrenia have specific alterations in brain morphology, internal (ventricles) and external (frontal, temporal, parieto-occipital) components of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) spaces were examined morphometrically. Planimetric measurements of computed tomographic (CT) scans from 37 patients with catatonic schizophrenia, 28 patients with hebephrenic schizophrenia, and 39 patients with paranoid schizophrenia, all diagnosed according to DSM-III-R criteria, were compared with separate age- and sex-matched non-psychiatric control groups, respectively. The areas of the frontal sulci, the parieto-occipital sulci, the inter-hemispheric fissure, and the lateral and third ventricles were measured separately for the right and left hemispheres. Catatonic patients showed significant enlargements in almost all CSF spaces, especially in the left fronto-temporal area which, in addition, correlated significantly with illness duraton. Hebephrenic patients showed selective enlargements in left temporal and left/right lower frontal cortical sulci, whereas paranoid schizophrenic patients showed no enlargements but significant correlations between left temporal cortical sulcal volume and illness duration. Alterations in temporal cortical areas were present in all three sub-types of schizophrenia. In addition to temporal alterations, hebephrenic schizophrenia was characterised by lower frontal (i.e. orbitofrontal) enlargement. Catatonic schizophrenia, the most severe sub-type with regard to clinical symptomatology and brain pathology, showed fronto-parietal cortical alterations. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.
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