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Schizophrenia: A Neurodevelopmental or a Neurodegenerative Disorder

Dolores Malaspina

Published: August 1, 2006

Article Abstract

The functional decline andonset of psychosis that individuals with schizophrenia experience suggests thatschizophrenia has a neurodegenerational origin. However, current researchfavors a neurodevelopmental model in which individuals with schizophreniadevelop abnormalities during brain development.The abnormality that leads to psychosis and deterioration remains latent as thebrain develops but emerges concurrently with the brain’s normal development orafter an outside event that leads to changes in brain function. Prenataladversity may underlie the neurodevelopmental process and neurodegeneration ofschizophrenia. Because psychosis may be a clinically identifiable marker of anunderlying neuropathologic process associated with deterioration, the best wayto treat the illness is to reduce the duration of untreated psychosis, aim forfull remission of psychosis, and combine medication with other therapies.

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