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An in vivo investigation of neuronal function in first episode schizophrenia : the effects of risperidone on patterns of cerebral metabolism and symptom profiles Lane, Carol Mayne Jacqueline


Risperidone is a novel-atypical antipsychotic agent, effective in treating the symptoms of schizophrenia with fewer side effects than typical antipsychotics. Despite the wide-spread clinical use of this drug, studies examining the brain areas associated with risperidone treatment in human subjects are limited. Positron emission tomography (PET) employing the tracer fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) labeled with the isotope 1 8F, is an in-vivo imaging technique that can be used to observe changes in the patterns of cerebral metabolism following administration of typical and atypical antipsychotics. We completed a series of studies in first-episode unmedicated schizophrenic subjects before and after an initial 2mg dose of risperidone and again following 6 weeks of treatment to study the effects of treatment on patterns of cerebral metabolism. We also examined the correlations between changes in regional metabolism and changes in symptom severity. This is the first reported study of such relationships in first episode patients. We found that reductions in temporal metabolism were correlated with alleviation of delusions and hallucinations, while there was a strong trend for reduction in medial frontal metabolism to be correlated with reduction in disorganization symptoms. Correlations between successful treatment (indicated by reduced symptoms) and patterns of neuronal activity, provided a biochemical measurement of symptom improvement.

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