Regional cerebral blood flow in patients with schizophrenia

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Regional cerebral blood flow was evaluated using Tc99m-HMPAO SPECT in 10 medicated patients with schizophrenia and 9 healthy volunteers. There were no prefrontal regions in the patient group with lower regional indices than in the control group. However, in the left hippocampal region, relative blood flow was significantly increased in the patient group compared with the control group. Furthermore, there was a relative increase in blood flow in the left basal ganglia of the patient group. A negative correlation coefficient was calculated between the relative blood flow in the left middle prefrontal cortex and the severity of the blunted affect, as well as between the relative blood flow in the left basal ganglia and the severity of the anhedonia-asociality. These findings indicate that prefrontal hypoactivity is not invariably present in all schizophrenics and that left basal ganglial hyperactivity may be associated with the effects of antipsychotic treatment and clinical improvement. Moreover, the left hippocampal hyperactivity may correspond to left limbic dysfunction in schizophrenia.