Edinburgh Imaging

MSc projects 1112 001

White matter integrity in treatment-refractory schizophrenia: A diffusion tensor imaging study.


We are yet to understand the mechanisms that differentiate treatment-resistance from treatment responders in schizophrenia. Reduced white matter fractional anisotropy in schizophrenia - a marker of disrupted microstructural integrity has been replicated in schizophrenia when compared to controls.

This study examines whether treatment resistant schizophrenia is associated with different patterns of white matter microstructural disruptions when compared to a non-refractory group. Using matched diffusion tensor imaging data from 34 subjects with refractory schizophrenia and 44 non-refractory subjects, tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) was utilised to examine white matter fractional anisotropy. We found no difference in fractional anisotropy / white matter structural integrity between the refractory and non-refractory groups nor were there any trend level differences in white matter integrity. This is the first study directly comparing white matter integrity between these two important clinical groups using TBSS. We suggest the need for further comparative studies to verify our findings with particular emphasis on adopting a refined multi-dimensional criteria to accurately and reliably dichotomise treatment resistant groups for investigation in future.

Project type:
  • Analysis of existing data
Imaging keywords:
  • Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)
Application / disease keywords:
  • Fractional anisotropy
  • Schizophrenia
  • 11-12