The British Journal of Psychiatry
Schizophrenia: a neuropathological perspective.
G W Roberts


It is probable that all schizophrenics have abnormalities in the medial temporal lobe, which differ in degree but not in kind. The structures of the medial temporal lobe are believed to have a crucial role in the integration and processing of the output from the association cortex. Dysfunction of this system could result in the clinical symptoms that form the core of the schizophrenia syndrome. The structural differences appear to fit the profile of a disturbance in the normal pattern of brain development. The asymmetrical patterns of normal brain development explain how such a disturbance simultaneously affecting both hemispheres could, disproportionately, affect the left (dominant) hemisphere. Epidemiological and pathological evidence points to aberrant genetic mechanisms as being the cause of the developmental anomaly in the majority of cases; environmental factors probably play a minor role. Despite the great progress made in solving the enigma of the structural changes in the brains of schizophrenics, the cause(s) of the changes--the aberrant genetic mechanism controlling brain development--may prove difficult to define.