Although previous studies have reported differences in computed tomography (CT scan attenuation values between patients with schizophrenia and controls, interpretation of these findings has been hindered by methodological shortcomings such as the failure to control for head size, scanner calibration differences, and other confounding variables. In the present study of CT attenuation values in multiple brain regions in 20 patients with chronic schizophrenia and an equal number of age- and sex-matched normal subjects we controlled for head size and normalized the attenuation values for each scan to an internal standard. No significant differences emerged between the patients with schizophrenia and the controls. However, in the controls only, the mean density of white matter in the left frontal area was significantly higher (t = -2.83, p = 0.01) than that in the right. The results, although possibly suggestive of deviant lateralization in schizophrenia, raise questions about the sensitivity and validity of regional CT attenuation values in detecting subtle anatomic abnormalities in patients with this illness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry