Global brain asymmetry is increased in schizophrenia and related to avolition

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Abstract

Objective:

Schizophrenia may be the result of a failure of the normal lateralization process of the brain. However, whole-brain asymmetry has not been assessed up to date. Here, we propose a novel measure of global brain asymmetry based on the Dice coefficient to quantify similarity between brain hemispheres.

Method:

Global gray and white matter asymmetry was calculated from high-resolution T1 structural images acquired from 24 patients with schizophrenia and 26 healthy controls, age- and sex-matched. Some of the analyses were replicated in a much larger sample (n = 759) obtained from open-access online databases.

Results:

Patients with schizophrenia had more global gray matter asymmetry than controls. Additionally, increased gray matter asymmetry was associated with avolition, whereas the inverse relationship was found for anxiety at a trend level. These analyses were replicated in a larger sample and confirmed previous results.

Conclusion:

Our findings suggest that global gray matter asymmetry is related to the concept of developmental stability and is a useful indicator of perturbations during neurodevelopment.

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