Progressive changes in schizophrenia: Do they exist and what do they mean?

J. E. Anderson, B. F. O'Donnell, R. W. McCarley, M. E. Shenton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Schizophrenia is a disorder characterized by multiple symptoms, with a varied course and outcome. The etiology is yet unknown, but multiple pathological processes or, equally likely, a unique pathophysiological process, may be involved. Here, we review evidence for progressive changes in schizophrenia in order to understand further the pathophysiology of this disorder. We first present evidence for clinical and psychosocial changes over time, followed by evidence from structural brain studies that suggests that schizophrenia is a brain disorder. We then review findings from the small number of longitudinal studies that have evaluated structural brain changes in schizophrenia, followed by a review of the evidence for neurophysiological changes, both cross-sectional and longitudinal. This is followed by a discussion of possible cellular mechanisms, including NMDA receptor abnormalities, that might account for structural and functional brain changes (temporal and frontal), and we discuss how these abnormalities might be related to not only the specific signs and symptoms of schizophrenia but also to the onset and course of the illness. Finally, we discuss neurodevelopmental (static and perhaps non-static alterations) and neurodegenerative theories of schizophrenia. We propose that the two are not mutually exclusive, but instead likely reflect a 'two-hit' model for some subtypes of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-184
Number of pages10
JournalRestorative Neurology and Neuroscience
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jun 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain
  • ERP
  • Functional and Structural Changes
  • MRI
  • Neurodegenerative
  • Neurodevelopmental
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Progressive changes in schizophrenia: Do they exist and what do they mean?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this