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SCIENCE FILE | SCIENCE IN BRIEF

Scientists Link Faulty Distribution of Certain Brain Cells to Schizophrenia

May 16, 1996|From Times staff reports

UC Irvine researchers have found that the distribution of certain critical brain cells called "white matter neurons" is abnormal in the brains of adults with schizophrenia, a finding that ties the cause of the disease to incidents in the second trimester of the mother's pregnancy. Dr. Edward G. Jones and his colleagues report in the May issue of Archives of General Psychiatry that schizophrenic brains have too many of the neurons and that they are improperly distributed, causing faulty wiring of the brain.

Previous studies have tied schizophrenia to viral infections and other incidents that affect the mother during the second trimester, when the white matter neurons normally develop. The new study "provides the strongest . . . evidence to date that schizophrenia may be caused by an underlying developmental abnormality," Jones said.

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