Reduced frontal and occipital lobe asymmetry on the CT-scans of schizophrenic patients. Its specificity and clinical significance

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Frontal and occipital lobe width were determined in the computed tomographic (= CT) scans of 135 schizophrenic patients, 158 neuropsychiatrically healthy and 102 psychiatric control subjects, including patients with affective psychosis, neurosis and schizoaffective psychosis. Most healthy right handed subjects demonstrate a relative enlargement of the right frontal as well as left occipital lobe compared to the oposite hemisphere. These normal frontal and occipital lobe asymmetries were selectively reduced in schizophrenics (f.: 5%, p <.0005; o.: 3%, p <.05), irrespective of the psychopathological subgroup. Schizophrenic neuroleptic non-responders revealed a significant reduction of frontal lobe asymmetry (3%, p <.05), while no correlation between BPRS-subscores and disturbed cerebral laterality could be detected. In sum the present study demonstrates disturbed cerebral lateralisation in schizophrenic patients supporting the hypothesis of interrupted early brain development in schizophrenia.